Roasted Yuca Fries
Some of you many be thinking, what in the world is yuca?! At least that’s what most people say to me when I buy it at the grocery store. As you may have noticed, it’s not the prettiest vegetable on the planet either, so most people just avoid it. But, as the old saying goes, don’t judge a book buy its cover!
Yuca is root vegetable that is grown in South America and is similar to white potatoes. However, yuca is much more dense and starchier. It is also much higher is calories and carbs, making it a fantastic vegetable for weight gain. Although, it can still be enjoyed as part of a normal healthy diet as well. Yuca has helped me tremendously as part of my recovery. I think that’s why my body craves it so much; it’s just an easy way for me to get the nutrients I need without stuffing myself until I feel like I’m going to explode! Plus, yuca is very satisfying. When you’re the kind of person who loves carbs, sometimes finding foods that are satisfying and paleo-approved can be difficult!
One of my Favorite Foods
So, for my birthday week, I thought it was appropriate to post a recipe using one of my all time favorite foods (besides chocolate and peanut butter, obviously). I’ve been craving nothing but this amazing starchy vegetable lately. I literally have it everyday! I know it’s important to switch up your diet to get a variety of nutrients. But hey, I also think it’s important to listen to your body. If mine craves yuca everyday, then heck, I’m going to eat yuca everyday!
Benefits of Yuca
Yuca isn’t one of my favorite foods just for its satisfying starchiness and taste. It also has tons of great health benefits and contains a host of vitamins and minerals! For starters, yuca is a great source of fiber, which supports the digestive tract and helps ease constipation. I know my bowels are always happy the morning after I have yuca for dinner 🙂
Plus, it’s a fantastic source of vitamin C, boosting the immune system and providing antioxidants to reduce inflammation in the body. Some of the important minerals in yuca are copper, zinc, manganese, iron, and magnesium, which are all essential in helping your body function at optimal levels. These properties and nutrients in yuca, in addition to many things, can fight off free radicals, lower blood sugar, and balance cholesterol! And these are just some of the benefits! Considering people use it to heal many illnesses in South America, I think yuca should be called a superfood for sure!
Working with Yuca
Though yuca can be tough to work with in its raw state because the skin is so thick and hard, putting in the time and energy is definitely worth it! Side note: NEVER eat yuca raw–it’s poisonus! Check out my recipe for these simple yuca fries below to get you started. Trust me, you’ll never want regular plain old white potatoes again!
Warning: Sorry for the lack of measurements. Yuca root comes in all shapes and sizes, so the amount of the other ingredients will depend on the the amount of yuca root you have. I usually use about 5-6 tablespoons of coconut oil for every 3-4 cups of yuca root that is cut into thicker fry shapes. Because yuca soaks up a lot of moisture, as long as your yuca is well-coated in oil, you should be fine 🙂
- Yuca root
- Coconut oil
- Sea salt
- First, heat a large pot of water over the stove until it comes to a boil.
- While you are waiting for your water to boil, peel the tough brown skin off the yuca. I usually have to cut the skin off with a knife. Make sure you get ALL of the brown skin off! Cut the yuca into large chunks. You will cut them into fry shapes after you boil them, otherwise they get mushy too fast.
- Next, put the yuca chunks in the boiling water for about 10-15 minutes, or until the outside is tender.*
- Then, while the yuca is boiling, preheat the oven to 415˚ (F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and melt some coconut oil.
- Next, drain the yuca once the outside is tender and let it cool until you are able to work with it.
- Then, cut the yuca into your desired-size fry shapes. I like doing thicker fries, so they come out crispy on the outside and tender and squishy on the inside.
- Next, place the yuca fries in a large mixing bowl and drench them with coconut oil so that they are well-coated. Don't forget that yuca soaks up a ton of moisture, so don't hold back on the oil, otherwise the fries won't cook or get crispy! Then, sprinkling in some sea salt and mix again.
- Place the coated yuca on the parchment-lined baking sheet and bake them in the oven for about 30 minutes, flipping halfway through.**
- Then, when the fries are done, remove them from the oven and place them on a brown paper bag to soak up the leftover oil so that they stay nice and crispy. Immediately, sprinkle some extra sea salt to taste, if desired.
- Serve hot and crispy!***
**Baking times and temperatures may vary. Sometimes I crank my oven temp up a little bit if they're not getting crispy, and other times I have to lower the temperature because they get too crispy too fast. I'm also really bad at cutting even fry shapes, so most of the time, some of my fries get cooked faster than others. I simply just remove those ones from the oven when they're done and keep the ones that aren't done in the oven.
***I'm sure these would be great with additional seasonings or a dip, such as guac or something, but I love the taste of yuca so much that I always make mine plain, but feel free to play around with it and see what you like!
Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a few days and reheated in the oven to get them crispy again, or they can be reheated in the microwave if you don't mind if they're not crispy (I don't mind if they're not, they still taste good!). I also like to freeze mine in freezer bags so I always have some on hand!
Did you know cassava flour comes from yuca root?! Check out some of my other recipes with cassava flour like my Paleo Cassava Flour Waffles or Paleo Cut-Out Sugar Cookies! You might also like my Exotic Roasted Vegetables with plantains and taro–two other nutrient-dense, delicious veggies!