Gut-friendly baked jicama fries with turmeric and black pepper. Serve with fresh guacamole for a delicious summer side! Vegan, paleo, low-carb and keto.
This summer I have found my new favorite vegetable, and I’m mildly obsessed with its unique flavor profile. It’s nutty and sweet, crunchy and juicy, and pairs well with both savory and sweet ingredients.
Not only is it a party in your mouth, but it’s also a gift to your gut due to its high nutrient content, water density, and prebiotic nature. Differing from probiotics (beneficial bacteria and yeast that live in your digestive tract), prebiotics contain non-digestible fiber that serve as food for probiotics. This superfood is straight golden gut glory’s.
Have you guessed it yet? It’s Jicama!
Jicama is a root vegetable, which shares the same color and shape as a turnip, but is about 2-3 times the size. It has a weathered brown skin (to be peeled before eating) that covers a white flesh, with a texture similar to that of a water chestnut or crisp pear. Some people describe the taste of jicama similar to that of an apple, but more neutral and certainly less sugary.
Jicama is low fat, low calorie (50 calories/cup), and high in soluble fiber (6 grams/cup), which will help you feel full for longer periods of time. The specific fiber it contains, oligofructose inulin, is prebiotic and low on the glycemic index making it ideal for diabetics and those looking to lose weight. Inulins prebiotic nature promotes “good” bacteria (probiotics) growth in the intestines, as well as promotes bone health by enhancing absorption of calcium from other foods.
It has an insanely high water content, about 90 percent, and provides you with a dose of calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, C, and beta carotene, which makes it an incredible post workout recovery fuel as well!
*Note – since jicama is a high fiber food you may experience some digestive discomfort like bloating and gas when you first incorporate it into your diet, so I suggest you start small. If you tend to eat a lot of fiber already like me, you will be fine, but don’t dive in too heavy or consider yourself warned!
I love it raw and have been reaching for it instead of carrot sticks as an afternoon snack with hummus or almond butter. Helpful trick: peel + cut your jicama into sticks ahead of time, and store with prepped carrots, bell peppers, celery, and cucumber for easy snacking throughout the week. Another option is to buy the pre-chopped jicama sticks at Trader Joe’s. A little more expensive, but so convenient. My latest jicama obsession though has been Jicama fries!
These golden gut baked jicama fries offer a lighter alternative from heavier root vegetables like sweet potato and parsnips in the summer. Sprinkled with an array of spices, including my favorite anti-inflammatory herb turmeric, these fries are tasty on their own, on a salad or dipped in my healthy guacamole.
Just a friendly reminder, turmeric’s golden color has a tendency to stain all that it touches so be careful while making the fries. If staining does occur, this article has some great tips for removing turmeric stains from your dishes, counters and fingers.
Peel + cut: Once your jicama is peeled cut it into thin slices about 1/4 inch thick (one jicama should make about 4-5 cups). Another option is to buy the pre-chopped jicama sticks. I’ve found them at Trader Joe’s or my local Kroger.
Parboil: Boil a pot of water on stovetop. Once water is boiling add your jicama slices to the pot and boil for 8-10 minutes. Drain the water and pat the fries dry before coating them with the spices and baking.
Season: Once dry, add your jicama fries to a large bowl, add oil, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.
Bake: Spread the fries onto a baking stone or a baking sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. Note: make sure the fries aren’t crowded. They need space or else they will start to steam and get soft rather than crispy. Bake for 30 minutes at 400°F. After 30 minutes, take the fries out of the oven to flip, then bake for another 20-30 minutes or until fries are a little brown and have reached the desired texture.
Serve: Remove from oven, let cool and serve with guacamole or desired dip and enjoy!