This chicken salad was inspired by the purchase of a good-looking jicama! Firm to the touch and tight-skinned, it was perfect for the taking and going to shine in a Mexican flavored salad I was already composing in my mind. Delicious raw or cooked, its crunchy white flesh has the texture of a firm pear. Slightly sweet on the tongue, the flavor hints of apple and pear.
The jicama (hick-u-ma) is the root of a legume that is related to the potato and is easily found in Texas stores. In Mexico and further south it is commonly served by street vendors with a little lime juice and a dusting of chili powder. When cut into wide strips it can be a healthy replacement for chips – a means to scoop up a guacamole or salsa. In my chicken salad, it adds a mildly sweet crunch and replaces celery handily.
Composed mostly of water and very high in fiber and vitamin C, it’s the perfect diet food. Look for jicama that are hard with tight, dry skins; a flattened ball shape, few bruises and no mold. Pick the smaller ones (1.5lbs – 2.5lbs) as the larger they get, the higher the chance are of them tasting woody.
Chicken salad with the flavors of Mexico
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup oil (I used olive oil)
½ teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 chicken breasts
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced; or left raw, seeded and diced
1 4-oz jar pimento peppers, drained
½ red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup green olives, sliced
1 cup jicama, peeled and diced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
1 fresh jalapeno or 1 tablespoon pickled jalapeno, chopped, optional – for added spice
1 avocado, peeled and cut into cubes
lettuce leaves or toasted bread for sandwiches
Mix marinade ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Add chicken breasts and marinate for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350F. Transfer chicken to a roasting pan, cover with and roast for 30 minutes or until cooked. Cool and then chop into bite-sized pieces.
Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined.
Place chicken, poblano pepper, pimento peppers, red onion, green olives, jicama, cilantro and jalapeno (if desired). Add dressing and mix gently with a large spoon. Top with avocado and serve on a bed of lettuce leaves or in a sandwich.
My friend, Debbie, and I enjoyed ours on a bed of lettuce leaves while my nephew, Jovan, loved his sandwiched between buttermilk bread.