A bright, crunchy Jicama, Fennel and Blueberry Salad provides a party for your tastebuds! Crisp vegetables and pops of sweet berries are brought together with a tangy vinaigrette. If you’ve never eaten jicama or fennel, this is a fantastic introduction – and if you’re already friends with these two great vegetables, you’ll love this pairing with juicy blueberries in a salad that makes a tasty accompanimnet to any meal. The zesty salad keeps its crunch, so it’s a wow-factor dish for your next picnic or potluck, too. (Skip to recipe.)
Spring? What Spring? Temperatures outside are below 0°C, and it has been gently snowing here for the last two days straight. It’s a swirling white world out there. For us northern Albertans, the beginning of March can still have us plunged into the depths of winter.
While I am cozily cocooned inside, I am craving something crunchy and fresh – something that promises the taste of spring. I am looking for bright flavours that pop and wake up my taste buds. I find it in this intriguing veggie and blueberry salad.
Jicama, Fennel and Blueberries
This combination will do it – it’s a winner!
If you’ve always wondered about that strange potato-like vegetable shaped like a toy spinning-top in the produce section, let me introduce you. Meet Mr. Jicama (pronounced hick’-uh-muh). He’s no hick, that’s for sure. This vegetable hides a white interior that has an amazing crunch. It’s watery and crisp – a cross between an Asian pear and a potato – mildly sweet, and fantastic in salads or cut into sticks for dipping as part of a veggie platter.
Just peel off the paperlike, potato-y outer skin (which is not edible) and then slice or dice the crispy white insides however you want them.
Try shredding the jicama or cutting it into thin strips or slices to add to any green salad or slaw. Cube it and add it to fruit salads for a surprising mildly-sweet crunch, or use it for scooping up your favourite dips (like guacamole or hummus). In Mexico, where it originates, the jicama is sliced, sprinkled with lime juice and chili-lime salt, then served as an appetizer or snack – so tasty and refreshing. Or try it in this Chili-Lime Jicama Salad. You can also use jicama chunks in cooked dishes like stir fries or stews.
This unique root vegetable has an impressive nutrient profile. It’s low in calories (49/cup), high in fiber (6.4 grams/cup), and is an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidants. It is also a good source of potassium, iron, folate, magnesium, manganese, as well as containing small amounts of B-vitamins and other minerals. Jicama is high in inulin, a prebiotic type of fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your intestines – very necessary for good gut health. This all makes for a pretty loaded resume for this rather plain-looking root, I’d say!
And fennel! I first tasted this vegetable raw years ago when visiting an Italian family, friends of my aunt in Toronto. We had a delicious meal of homemade pasta, then after dinner the Nonna brought out a huge platter with slices of fresh sweet melon and wedges of raw fennel to crunch on as we sat around the table visiting and drinking wine. It was an epiphany for me! That slightly sweet, faintly licorice-like flavour and wonderfully crisp texture instantly had me in raptures. I have adored this delicious vegetable ever since. I love adding it to raw veggie platters, and also roasting it or using it in savoury dishes. Fennel also has an impressive array of nutritional benefits. If you’ve never crunched into a piece of raw fennel – I urge you to give it a try.
Then those blueberries. No introduction necessary. These little powerhouses (one of the so-called ‘superfoods’) are not only loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, they add bright pops of juicy fruit flavour and colour to this delightful salad. A small handful of blueberries every day can go a long way to promoting good health – aiding in cancer prevention, heart health, and inflammation reduction.
So if it’s springtime in your area, this fresh and crunchy Jicama, Fennel and Blueberry Salad will taste like a celebration. And if you’re still dealing with winter, it will taste like the hope of spring to come.
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Kitchen Frau Notes: If you can’t find fresh fennel bulb or don’t care for it (hey, we all have different tastes!) you could substitute it with 2 cups of sliced celery stalks.
I recommend making up the larger batch of the Dijon Vinaigrette, using what you need on this salad, and keeping the rest in a jar in the fridge. It’s great on any kind of green salad or slaw. Beats commercial bottled salad dressings by a mile, and is quick and cheaper to make, too.
Jicama, Fennel, and Blueberry Salad
- 1 medium (450gms) jicama, peeled and diced (about 2 cups/300gms diced)
- 1 medium (250gms) fennel bulb
- 1½ cups (250gms) blueberries
- 2 tablespoons (30ml) white wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons (90ml) avocado oil or light olive oil
- 1½ teaspoons dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
Peel the jicama (discard the peel, it is not edible like with other fruits or vegetables, and can cause stomach upset), and dice the white flesh into blueberry-sized cubes. You will need about 2 cups of jicama cubes.
Cut the stems off the fennel bulb, quarter the bulb, and cut out the core from each quarter. Slice the quarters crosswise into thin slices.
Combine the cubed jicama, sliced fennel, and blueberries in a bowl. Whisk together the ingredients for the dijon vinaigrette and add enough of this dressing to moisten all the salad ingredients (you may not need all of it). Toss well and garnish with any reserved fennel fronds.
Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
Serves 6 to 8.
I recommend making up a large quantity of Dijon Vinaigrette to have handy in the refrigerator for use on many different types of salad. I sometimes add just a slurp of something sweet like maple syrup or honey to balance the acidity if making this dressing in larger quantities to serve as an all-around basic dressing. Because the ingredients in the Jicama, Fennel and Blueberry Salad are already slightly sweet, it’s not needed for the smaller quantity of dressing just for the above salad.
Larger Quantity of Basic Dijon Vinaigrette (if you want a jar of it in your fridge to use for other salads)
Note: If you use olive oil, it will get semi-solid in the fridge. You’ll need to remove the dressing from the fridge 30-60 minutes before you plan to use the dressing so the olive oil can come to room temperature and reliquify. Shake before using.
In a jar, shake together:
- ½ cup (120ml) white or red wine vinegar
- 1½ cups (360ml) avocado oil or light olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey, optional (to balance the flavours if you prefer a slight sweetness)
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