Jicama, Apple, Balsamic and Mint Salad, a 100 calorie snack or side

What a week it has been! I hope everyone had the happiest of holidays. I know we did – we spent a fun-filled long weekend in Wichita with my family and then just a few days later headed out for a week in Chicagoland with Dave’s side of the family. I can already tell that many of the memories created in the last 20 days will be ones we talk about for years to come.

And as you probably experienced yourself, being with family during the holidays also means lots of big, amazing meals. Not that I’m complaining. I just know that I need to follow it up with some seriously healthy detox.

But as I’m trying to show constantly both in my “real life” and my blog, eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore and shouldn’t be only be a follow-up to the holidays and new year. It also doesn’t have to be any specific diet (my diet is called “everything in moderation, including cupcakes”). But eating healthy does need to be an “almost always” thing.

jicama1-reg

So that’s why I made this today after we got home with a trunk full of fridge-replenishing produce and dairy after a trip to the gym. It’s fresh, light and crisp. I shoveled it.

Think of it this way… you could be eating a 100 calorie bag of approximately 10 crackers… or you could be eating a 2-cup serving of this fresh apple-y Balsamic goodness, clocking in at 115 calories. Ish.

New to jicama? You won’t be for long when you try it! Jicama is a delightfully crisp tuber – it is the root of the plant a la potatoes, turnips, etc. Except it’s very lightly sweet and much less dense than a raw potato, while still being a little starchy and very filling. They aren’t expensive and you can usually find them with the peppers, eggplants, and other non-leaf veggies in the regular grocery store. It’s also a very very low calorie snack that can be dipped into salsa or made into slaws, and it has SO MUCH fiber per serving – almost 6 grams!  I’ve never actually cooked one, because they are so good to eat raw, but Wikipedia tells me it sometimes goes in soups and stir frys.

Here’s what you need for the salad, which happens to be vegan and gluten free:

  • 1/2 a jicama, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 Gala or other medium-tart apple, also cut into matchsticks
  • About 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
  • Balsamic vinegar – 2-3 teaspoons, to taste
  • Lemon juice – about 2 teaspoons, but to taste
  • Pinch of kosher salt (do not skip this! It’s very important to bring out the sweet notes of the other ingredients)

jicama square

There’s not a lot to do in terms of production, here! After chopping your jicama and apple, use your fingers to blend with the raisins and mint in a bowl. Dress with the lemon juice first to keep oxidation away from your pretty matchsticks (both the apple and the jicama will turn brown after not too long). Next, add the Balsamic and pinch of salt. Taste and adjust anything you like. Serve immediately.

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