Summer means cole slaw. The name says it all. "Cole slaw" comes from the Dutch word koolsla which translates as "cool cabbage." No summer picnic or barbecue seems complete without cole slaw.

While there are as many kinds of cole slaw as there are cooks, they share similarities. The main ingredient is usually shredded red or white cabbage mixed with a mayonnaise or other type of dressing. Additional ingredients often include celery, chopped onion, carrots, bell peppers and herbs.

The following recipe is for a cole slaw without cabbage. Crunchy cabbage is replace by shredded peppers and jicama.

Among the Mexican ingredients introduced to the United States is jicama (HIC-uh-mah), which is also called Mexican potato or yam bean. It is a bulbous root vegetable with a thin brown skin and white crunchy, juicy flesh that is similar to an apple's. Jicama has a delicate, slightly sweet and nutty flavor. Most jicama are the size of grapefruit but some can grow to as much as 5 pounds. The brown skin must be peeled before using.

Jicama is used raw in salads, or boiled and baked like a potato. Whether cooked or raw, it retains its texture, which is like that of a water chestnut. It's a good thing to use in dishes where you want some crunch. Because jicama has a bland flavor, it can be used in place of celery and other vegetables used primarily for their crunchy texture.

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Jicama is a good source of vitamin C and contains some potassium, iron and calcium. It is low in calories - a cup of it has about 50 - as well as fat and sodium.

Look for hard, unblemished jicama roots that are heavy for their size. If you are not using the jicama right away, it can be stored in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for about two weeks. You can also store cut pieces of jicama in a container of cold water.

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Colorful bell peppers add to the appearance and nutrition of the following cole slaw. Peppers can range in color from pale to dark green, from yellow to orange to red to purple. They have a mild, sweet flavor and crisp, juicy flesh. They are a good source of vitamin C and contain fair amounts of vitamin A and small amounts of calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.

Fiesta Slaw

Makes 10 servings.

  • 5 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp. reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp. minced canned chipotle chilies (or to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 12 oz. jicama, peeled, cut into thin strips
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  1. Pure first 5 ingredients in a blender or food processor until dressing is smooth.
  2. Place peppers, jicama and cilantro in a large bowl. Add dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until the vegetables soften a little but remain crunchy. (About 4 hours.)
  3. Serve at room temperature.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
49 calories,
2 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat),
8 g. carbohydrate,
less than 1 g. protein,
2 g. dietary fiber,
39 mg. sodium

Diabetic Exchanges: 1-1/2 Vegetable, 1/2 Fat


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