Ensalada xec (xec is Mayan for “mixed,” and is sometimes spelled as “xeec,” “xek” or “xe’ek” and is pronounced “shek”) is a staple in the Yucatan region and is sometimes also made as a salsa without the jicama.
This great crunchy, spicy, juicy citrus salad from the East Coast of Mexico is the perfect healthy snack, and the best time of year to enjoy it is between January and April when both grapefruit and oranges are in season.
This recipe is naturally dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan-friendly.
Similar to Mexico City-style pico de gallo, this snack or salad also contains orange sections, lime juice, jicama and chile. But this version has grapefruit, orange and tangerine sections to make it a little more sweet than savory.
I love this recipe because it keeps crunchy in the refrigerator for a few days in the event that you have leftovers, and I find it keeps best when refrigerated in a covered glass bowl.
Some recipes for ensalada xec call for ground cayenne pepper, which is perfectly fine, but I prefer to use fresh chile. Habanero is frequently used in the regional cuisine in the Yucatan, so I used it in this recipe. If your tastebuds can’t handle the heat from a habanero pepper, you can substitute a finely chopped serrano chile or just use a dried chile powder of your choice.
You could also use Tajín (the popular Mexican chile, lime and salt seasoning) sprinkled on top if you don’t want to use fresh chiles; if you use Tajín, remember to leave the salt out of the recipe.Print
This refreshing and crisp Mayan citrus salad is a healthy snack that comes from the Yucatan area of Mexico. This recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan-friendly.
- 1 pound of jicama, sliced into small sticks
- 2 large navel oranges, sectioned
- 3 large mandarin oranges, sectioned
- 2 pink or ruby red grapefruit, sectioned
- juice of 2 limes
- 3–4 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
- 1/2 habanero chile, finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or more to taste (I like Maldon flaked sea salt)
- Peel and slice the jicama into small sticks. Put in a bowl or tupperware and squeeze the juice of one lime over the jicama, cover and refrigerate.
- Next, peel and section the oranges, mandarins and grapefruit and place in a large bowl. (To section citrus, slice one end off and then use a sharp paring knife to remove the peel completely. Make sure there is no white pith left behind.) After you section the citrus, you’ll be left with the middle and a little bit of flesh. Squeeze the remaining juice out of each, into the bowl with the sectioned oranges, mandarins and grapefruit.
- Finely chop the habanero chile and 3-4 tablespoons of fresh cilantro and add to the bowl. Gently stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to mix.
- Now add the chilled jicama to the bowl, squeeze the juice of the other lime over the top and lightly toss the jicama and citrus together. Sprinkle the sea salt over the top and serve.
If not serving right away, you can chill in the refrigerator for up to three days in a glass bowl with an airtight lid.
If you’re worried the habanero will be too spicy, remove the veins and seeds on the inside before dicing and tossing with the rest of the ingredients. If you like it spicy, use a whole habanero chile.
Keywords: ensalada xec, jicama citrus salad, jicama, orange, grapefruit, tangerine, cilantro, habanero