When we were in Mexico last fall, we stayed at a resort in Tulum, Mexico. We’re not really resort people per say so we didn’t really know what to expect at this place. We knew we didn’t want to stay in Cancun, AKA Partytown, but we wanted to be able to see the Mayan pyramids and swim in the ocean and really once we looked at what we could do with the frequent flyer miles we’d been hoarding away like the squirrelly misers we are… it came down to one place: A resort* named Dreams Tulum**.
The thing is that we kinda loved it. No it didn’t have that Bohemian charm we’ve come to appreciate about the three star places we stay in when we’ve gone to Europe but it had pretty views and tide pools. It had iguanas, little gecko-like lizards everywhere and had a policy of “kindness” towards the feral cats that lived on the beach and hung out around the patios. Yes, I admit this is probably the fanciest place we’ve ever stayed at in foreign country. But honestly what really sold us was the room service, buffets and little “restaurants” that were all eager to make us vegan meals and options. The coffee cafe-type of place even had soymilk and made incredibly pretty decaf mochas. Yeah. We loved it despite the goofy family focused activities by the pool every afternoon and the very loud group of cheeky and seemingly drunk Australians and Germans who appeared to have camped out around the aforementioned pool. Basically we avoided that pool.
You can see some of our photos here.
But let’s get back to the food. My favorite meal there was breakfast. We would go the buffet and enjoy vegan black beans with toast and Xnipec (green salsa) over the top with a green smoothie that had catcus in it and some fried plantains. I couldn’t get enough of it and honestly was a little sad when I found out that the buffet was switched up for every meal and the salsa station with my favorite Xnipec was replaced with warm Oaxaca (Mole) sauces*** later in the day. We actually saw a few recipes like this while we were in Mexico but they had pork in them so we didn’t try them but we replaced that pork in this recipe.
Don’t worry I’m getting to the Jicama. We ate a lot of Jicama in Mexico. If you’re not familiar with this root vegetable I hope this helps:
The J is pronounced like an H because it’s a Spanish word. I thought about calling this recipe Jicama Jome Fries for this reason but then realized that search engines would bury this recipe in obscurity. Oh internet – you’re always ruining my fun.
Jicama is a great source of vitamin C, Potassium and Fiber.
The texture of Jicama is a lot like a cross between a potato and celery. I think it’s a lot like water chestnuts. It’s firm while being crunchy (even after being cooked) and has a very slight ‘fresh’ flavor that more compliments or takes on other flavors than has any real distinct flavor of it’s own.
Is usually served chilled in salads, slaws or salsas but the internet is already full of those recipes so I wanted to do something else. When we were in Mexico, I mixed some very hot vegan black beans with a jicama slaw and made a taco that was actually pretty awesome. It convinced me to try out heated jicama recipes. After a google search, I found a few cooked jicama recipes. Some people mash them like potatoes or make fries with them so home fries seemed not only different and doable and well – good.
We found Jicama that was already cleaned and diced in at our Whole Foods. So we were able to skip those steps. If you aren’t as lucky, really all you have to do is peel off the brown outer skin and then dice it like a potato. Jicama is A LOT wetter than potatoes so don’t let that freak you out. Also don’t let the fact that jicama is not going to get as soft as potatoes do when you cook it freak you out either. The “crunchiness” of this recipe is actually really nice with the vegetables. Needless to say, if you can’t find jicama where you live and want to use potatoes in this recipe – you can do that with some prep changes but we do hope if you can you’ll explore this little root vegetable.
I think this concludes my jicama pitch for today. More to come on Mexico…
Jicama Home Fries
1 Cup Fresh Jicama, peeled and diced
1/2 Cup Red Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 Cup Green Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 Cup Red Onion, diced (we used a bunch of red pearl onions we had left over from a shepherd’s pie recipe)
4-6 White Mushrooms, quartered
4-6 slices of Vegan Bacon or Smoked Tempeh, chopped
1/2 of a Fresh Jalapeño, sliced and more or less depending how spicy you like it
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
1 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper, more or less depending how spicy you like it
1/2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
Dash of Liquid Smoke
Sea Salt and Crushed Black Peppercorns to taste
Green Onion or Cilantro, diced and used as a topping
Spray your cast iron skillet with Olive Oil Cooking Spray and heat over a medium heat. Once your oil is hot, toss in your Vegan Bacon and cook until it begins to get slightly crispy around the edges.
While your Vegan Bacon is cooking, take your Jicama and wrap it in a paper towel and try to gently squeeze out any extra moisture you can. Then toss your all vegetables in a large bowl and mix them. Mix all the remaining ingredients except Liquid Smoke, Salt, Pepper and Green Onions in another bowl. Then toss the vegetables with the Nutritional Yeast & Spices together and use a large spoon to mix them together to coat the vegetables.
Once your Vegan Bacon is slightly crispy, toss in a dash of Liquid Smoke and your coated vegetables into your hot skillet and spread out your vegetables to make an even layer so they can cook. Now just like when you’re cooking potatoes or tofu scramble, allow your Jicama and vegetables to cook for awhile before flipping and mixing it in the skillet. You’ll notice a lot of steam rising from the skillet and that’s actually good. Since Jicama is wetter – you’re cooking off that moisture****.
Once you see the edges begin to brown, use a metal spatula to flip your home fries. Make sure you get all the crispy bits. Allow the other side to brown again. You’re going to do this a few times before you’re done. You’ll know you’re ready to eat when when the edges of your veggies are slightly crispy and your vegetables are slightly crispy. Give your home fries a taste test before serving and add any needed salt and pepper.
Serve hot with Green Onions or Cilantro and maybe some salsa over the top.
*I guess it also should be noted that I was 5 months pregnant at the time.
**It should also be noted that we found this resort because while using Trip Advisor we found a review from our friend and fellow vegan Emily. We kinda adore Emily who had gone there with her partner and our friend Steve (AKA Nacho Steve if you have Betty Goes Vegan). We trusted her take on the place.
***Good but different and I’m bad with change.
****Sorry I keep saying this word. I know it grosses a lot of you out.