By Barbara E. Stefàno

A few years ago, a leisurely walk through the supermarket produce led me to jicama (pronounced HEE-ka-muh), a starchy root vegetable originating in Mexico. Known for its crisp texture and mild flavor – it’s akin to an unsweet apple in both respects – jicama is often used to add a bit of pleasant texture to salads, slaws and sandwiches. It’s rich in fiber (5g per cup) and antioxidants like vitamin C, and a full cup of it clocks in just shy of 50 calories.

So, this time around, we’re making this underrated veg the star of the show (or a respectable co-star with a chicken chili). Even after roasting, jicama fries retain a satisfying crunch that feels more sinful than it really is. Enjoy them with a simple dash of salt and a sprinkle of protein-rich hemp seeds, or dunk them in our eye-healthy lemon-yogurt dip.

Jicama Fries with Lemon-Yogurt Dip

Serves | 2 to 4 |

Jicama Fries

  • 1 jicama, peeled and cut into ¼-inch strips
  • Avocado oil*
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Hemp seeds (optional nutrition booster)

*Avocado oil is heart-healthy and has a neutral flavor. Although you can use olive oil, avocado oil has a higher smoke point and is less likely to become bitter under high heat.

Lemon-Yogurt Dip

  • 5 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

| Preparation – Jicama | Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit. Drizzle or brush a large baking sheet with oil and arrange jicama strips in a single layer on the pan. Lightly drizzle or brush oil on top (alternately, you can toss the strips in oil inside a bowl or plastic zip bag to coat evenly). Sprinkle to taste with salt, pepper and hemp seeds. Roast jicama for 15 minutes on one side, flip, and roast for another 10-15 minutes, or until edges are golden-brown.

| Preparation – Lemon-Yogurt Dip | While the jicama roasts, whisk together all dip ingredients until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until it’s time to serve.

Learn about other ways to protect your eyes. Call Brinton Vision at 314.375.2020.