Did you know March is National Nutrition Month? While I celebrate proper nutrition every day (ok, 3 times a week here), I was encouraged by Erika to join Houston’s VegOut! challenge to eat 30 different vegetables in 30 days.
Thirty different vegetables in thirty days? Even as a veggie-loving gal, that’s a pretty huge feat. Look at my sidebar. I have favourites. Barring onions, my top ten are: garlic (227 recipes, and I don’t even tag all my garlic), tomato (139 recipes), ginger (121 recipes), carrot (110 recipes), red bell pepper (82 recipes), spinach (64 recipes), mushroom (50 recipes), kale (44 recipes), zucchini (44 recipes) and broccoli (36 recipes).
No stranger to jicama, I have enjoyed mostly in Mexican-inspired dishes: a raw burrito and as a cranberry-jicama salsa. This time, I decided to switch avenues and was inspired by Middle Eastern flavours. Packed with vegetables (7 if you include olives, but I think they are technically fruits), these are a fun twist on dolmas, stuffed grape leaves.
Instead of cooked rice, the jicama is riced into small pieces. Jicama is quite moist, so it needs a thorough drying before being incorporated with the cucumber, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. If you don’t have jicama, cauliflower would work, too. Dill and mint were used for the filling and cilantro for the green tahini dipping sauce. With all the fresh ingredients, the flavours really popped.
This was also the first time I tried grape leaves raw. I mean, without steaming them first. Steaming makes them more tender and less salty, but this was a quick and easy way to enjoy them.
Do you think you could eat 30 different vegetables in 30 days? How do you like to eat jicama?
PS. This is my submission to Raw Food Thursdays and to VegOut Jicama: #vegoutjicama #vegoutrfs
1 quart jar of marinated grape leaves, rinsed and destemmed — if you don’t like salty flavours, feel free to steam them first but I ate them raw just fine
(I used around half of the leaves, so double the filling if you want to use the entire container)
2 cups jicama (cauliflower could work, too!)
2.5 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
zest of 2 lemons
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked for 2 hours and chopped finely
1 cup cucumber, cut into small cubes
1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed
1 shallot, minced
5 olives (I used kalamata), pitted and finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
3 tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. In a food processor fitted with the S-blade, process the jicama until it resembles large grains of rice. Place jicama in several layers of paper towel and squeeze it to remove all excess water. Add to a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice and zest. Toss with olive oil, soaked sun-dried tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, shallot, olives, dill and mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine well. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavours to meld. If you can get it to drain in a colander, that would be great, but mine didn’t leak any liquid.
2. Rinse the grape leaves and pat dry. Destem the leaves if there is any stem attached. Place 1.5 tbsp of filling in the middle of the leaf. Roll up from the stem side first, next roll in the sides and then tightly roll the remainder of the leaf (see pictures here).
3. Serve with the cilantro-tahini sauce (see below).
Makes 24 dolmas.
1/4 cup tahini
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped and loosely packed
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup water
1. Add all ingredients in a high-speed blender, and blend until smooth.
Makes 3/4 cup.