Tag Archives: salad

Summer of Salads: Jicama and Watermelon

Jicama and Watermelon Salad

Every now and then, someone comes into your life and you breathe a huge sigh of relief.

One of those such special people made me a Jicama and Watermelon salad on the 4th of July. It went scrumptiously alongside some huge langostines I fried up all spicy-like and some ridiculously fresh sea bass that took a mere ten minutes to broil to perfection. He was all achy and sore from a pulled back muscle. I was exhausted from long days of cooking for other people. We feasted with white wine I had been saving for over a year for a special occasion – until I grew up and realized that every good meal with a good person is a special occasion. Then we climbed onto the roof and watched NYC’s spectacular fireworks burst over the Hudson river.

Then I stole his recipe.

I adapted it slightly for the family I cook for, and set it on the pink-canopied backyard table with some of my garden chicken salad and grilled burgers. By the time I got around to snapping pictures of it 24 hours later it had faded in color but the flavors had developed even more fully.

Jicama is a root that’s a cross between a water chestnut and rhubarb, believe it or not. Watery, slightly sweet and somewhat starchy, it’s often eaten in its native Mexico with fiery spices. Because of the light sweetness and water content, it pairs extremely well with watermelon, giving a salad of both some crunch and texture. They’re found at most big grocery stores out in the east coast, but are easy to overlook.

After grunting and sweating away peeling the annoyingly large jicama, I tossed it lightly with watermelon, lime, cilantro and a bit of jalapeno for a ridiculously refreshing salad that my blew my  bosses guests away.

Happy summer, happy Friday!

– Jacqueline

Jicama and Watermelon Salad

Jicama and Watermelon Salad

Serves 6 as a side

1 medium jicama, peeled and cut into thin 3″ long strips (about 3 cups)
1/4 watermelon, cut into thin 3″ long strips (about 3 cups)
1/2 jalapeno pepper, peeled, seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup chopped parsley or cilantro

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and chill before serving.

Orzo Summer Salad

Today I put a bottle of “Lite Pancake Syrup” in my grocery shopping cart.

First I woke up in the arms of someone special. Then I drove to pick up cat food from a vet (I do not have a cat). Then I picked up the boss’ mail and watered a large plant. Then I drove halfway down Long Island to Costco. Then I drove the other half of Long Island, unloaded groceries, planned my weekend menus and went to East Hampton for smoked salmon. Then I put a bottle of “Lite Pancake Syrup” in my grocery cart with a shudder, tweeted my disgust, and returned to the house to make dinner (which did not contain aforementioned syrup, and was well received and complimented on, which I’m always thankful for).

It was a full day.

Another un-dusty-like occurence: this salad.

Yes, orzo is not gluten free. But neither is the family I work for. And this is a tasty salad – quick to make, pumped with some happy-healthy little nibs, and great to leave in the fridge for them to grab on your days off. The dressing is a sweet vinegar with no oil, so it’s low in fat and healthy alternative to the summer pasta salads that bulk up and make you sweat.

Orzo Summer Salad

Serves 4

1 cup dry orzo pasta, cooked as per package directions and cooled completely
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped small
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1 small bunch green onions (about 6), chopped thin 1 inch up the greens
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup white sugar or (preferably) light, floral honey
1/4 cup pistachio nuts
Olive oil as needed

Combine orzo, red bell pepper, peas and green onions in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk vinegar and sugar/honey until the sugar/honey is completely dissolved. Pour over pasta and stir to combine.

Toast pistachio nuts in a saucepan on low heat until fragrant and slightly brown, and toss into salad.

Chill before serving.

Summer of Salads – Beet, Parsnip and Mint Salad

Sweet beets and parsnips combine with spiced walnuts, fresh mint and smooth goat cheese.

I credit my momma for my love of vegetables; for some reason I’ve always preferred veggies over meat, and she (and her parents) were abundant in their love and attention to them as well. I learned the sweet pleasure of beets early on, and other root vegetables followed soon thereafter. While beets and parsnips may not seem like warm-weather foods, served at room temperature or chilled with bright herbs and sitting atop crisp, sharp greens, they make a hearty and colorful contrast to summer’s zucchini and cucumber abundance.

This was one of last week’s starter salads on my menu, and one that I stole a teeny tiny bowl of to keep myself fortified after a long day of cooking on my feet. It’s sweet, bright, fresh and the perfect start to an end-of-day meal.

Beet, Parsnip and Mint Salad

Serves 4 as a starter


  • 3 large beets, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 large parsnips, peels and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp chopped mint leaves, plus more for garnishing
  • Kosher salt or fleur de sel (or your favorite rockin salt)
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Awesome, nutty olive oil
  • 6 cups mixed greens or arugula
  • 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 2 tsp mild honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup soft goat cheese

Heat oven to 400°. Place beets and parsnips separately on one large or two small baking sheets. Drizzle with oil to just coat, and toss on salt. Bake for 40 minutes until very roasted and slightly shriveled. Cool completely. Combine in a large bowl and toss with mint.

Meanwhile, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add walnuts and toast, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, about 5 minutes (watch the stove so they don’t burn!) Add honey and cinnamon, stir to coat quickly. Spread walnuts on cutting board to cool, then roughly chop into smaller pieces.

To serve, divide greens on four serving plates, making a well in the center. Divide beet/parsnips between, piling in the center.

Crumble goat cheese equally around each pile. Sprinkle with walnuts and remaining mint. Grind pepper straight on top. If desired, drizzle balsamic vinegar and a touch of oil around sides onto greens before serving.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,690 other followers

%d bloggers like this: