One of the most common questions I get when I tell people I live in Tucson is, “How on earth do you deal with the summer heat?!” I’m not going to lie – it’s hot here. When I first moved here from Colorado, the heat was blistering compared to the cooler mountain summers. I mean, you can seriously bake cookies on your car dashboard here. It’s kind of insane. After 6 years, I can honestly say, they’re not that bad. Part of that is because I usually escape to Colorado for most of June, part of it is acclimation, and part of it is coping skills.
There’s just a different way to live in the summertime here. Just like how the winters in Colorado draw people indoors by their fire places more frequently, summer days tend to keep people here inside in the A/C. If you’re outside for any length of time, it’s usually in the early morning, late evening, or you’re in a swimming pool.
And just like how I crave steamy bowls of soup in the midst of snow storms, Tucson summers make me crave cool, refreshing foods – fresh fruit, frozen yogurt, and salads. And that is precisely what inspired this Mango Jicama Quinoa Salad.
It is so easy to prepare. I always have a batch of quinoa cooked and ready in my fridge, so the rest is truly just peeling, chopping, and stirring.
Jicama has become more popular over the years, but I still remember sitting in my grandparents’ living room when I was around 12-years-old and listening to my mother trying to convince my grandfather that jicama was really a thing. He had never heard of it and was convinced she was making up the word entirely. Jicama is a root that is kind of like the vegetable version of an apple. It has that lovely crisp texture and moisture, but it’s not sweet like an apple.
It adds such a nice depth to the textures of this salad – crunchy jicama, juicy mango, crisp fresh bell pepper, and fluffy quinoa.
And then adding the cool lime juice, mild red onions, sweet mango, and fragrant cilantro make this the ideal summer salad, perfect for lunch or dinner on hot days. I’ve made this 4 times in the 3 weeks that I’ve been home, because it is everything I crave right now. Sometimes I sprinkle roasted almonds on top or mix dried cranberries in for even more variety, but I love it just as it is.
You can eat this immediately after making it, but the flavors get even better if you mix it up and refrigerate it for a few hours before serving.
Serves 1/4 recipe
15 minPrep Time
15 minTotal Time
- 3 c. cooked and cooled quinoa
- 1 mango, peeled and diced
- 1 c. jicama, peeled and diced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1/4 c. red onion, diced
- 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 2 Tbs honey
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- Mix together all ingredients and refrigerate until serving.