I’ve been on the lookout for this product for a while. Back in the fall of last year, my coworkers went to a produce trade show (yes, produce trade shows do exist, and yes, it is part of my job to go to them) and saw these being demoed. They were really excited about them, and claimed that they tasted almost identical to tortillas when cooked on a hot griddle. Thinking to myself, “there’s no way jicama heated up would even be good, much less as an actual replacement for tortillas,” I remained skeptical of this idea but very curious to try them. Now that they have finally hit the market, I have gotten my chance.
Now, before we go any further about how to make these better, let’s first back up and go through what this product actually is. It’s actually incredibly simple, it’s just peeled raw jicamas, sliced very thin, that can be used as tortillas or wraps as a replacement for their carb-filled counterparts. These clock in at a total of 15 calories for two slices, with 3g total carbs (but 2g fiber). Therefore, these jicama wraps are clearly a healthier alternative to bready tortillas, making this product ideal for low calorie, keto, or the Whole30 diet. The only ingredient in these are sliced jicama, so no additional preservatives or anything, which is awesome if you avoid preservatives or overly processed foods in your diet.
Jicama is a root vegetable grown traditionally in Mexico, which eventually spread to the Philippines and Southeastern Asia. It has a brown, papery skin that is typically removed before consuming, which can be coated in food-grade wax if purchased at a normal grocery store (so definitely peel before consuming to remove this). The inside flesh is white and somewhat starchy, and has the texture of a raw potato combined with an apple (if that sounds at all appetizing). The flavor is super mild, slightly sweet, slightly starchy, and very refreshing, especially if kept refrigerated eaten cold. Here in California, it’s often included in fruit cups sold by street vendors along with mango, pineapple, and cucumbers, topped with fresh lime juice and Tajin. I’ve also had it in salads, and I like to slice it and enjoy as a low-cal snack along with any dips, or with lime juice and Tajin.
So, now that we have learned a little bit about our jicama friends, back to using it as a tortilla replacement. The package indicates to eat these raw, which you can definitely do, however I feel like that leaves you with a crunchier texture that can occasionally snap and break as you work your way down the taco. This, in my opinion, is less than ideal, and makes the eating experience feel like you’re eating diet food.
The way to really make this feel like a tortilla is by cooking them, as they were shown at the trade show. To do this, heat a large skillet or saute pan over high heat, and add the jicama wraps to the hot pan with no oil. As they cook, they will start to steam and may even char a little bit (totally normal, totally fine). Flip using tongs or a spatula every 30 seconds or so, so both sides have contact with the pan. As they cook, they will shrink slightly, but become much more tender and pliable. Cook for about 90 seconds to 2 minutes while flipping occasionally, then add your favorite toppings! When cooked, they hold together perfectly and honestly replicate tortillas really well. Even Chris (a big taco fan) said he really liked them and that he would totally buy these again. If you eat 3 tacos, using these will save about 150 calories and about 25g of carbs from your meal (assuming you would use 3 corn tortillas instead).
So, if you are looking for a healthy swap that doesn’t feel like too much of a sacrifice, give these a try, but cook them first! This post wasn’t sponsored by Trader Joe’s or the jicama company that makes these, so please note that this is just an honest review from a fan! Hope this helps make your next Taco Tuesday a little bit healthier, but just as much fun!