All images & content are copyright protected. DO NOT use images without prior permission. To republish recipe, link back and use proper attribution such as “adapted from HeDoesXrayIDoFood.com”. Thank you.
Never made (or eaten) yucca before?
Well, first and foremost, don’t be intimated! Yes its a bit ugly, covered in wax, and doesn’t fit in the little produce bags at the grocery store, but its an amazing root with a moist texture and light flavor. This veggie is wonderful to serve aside tacos, ceviche, or a summer salad, but best I think with some picadillo and black beans. Drenching it in my tangy and fragrant mojo will have you hooked, even if you eat it along side a shoe!
Is this really something people eat? ¡Sí!
Back when I was a kid, my Guatemalan mom used to make this Latin American staple for me all the time. I’d eat it only after dragging it through a large puddle of tangy Hienz Ketchup. Yes, Hienz and only Hienz. (Need more proof of a biracial kid?) I had no idea at the time that my friends’ families had never even seen this weird looking treat that I took for granted. Today I see it in almost ever grocery store, but know it still gets the cold shoulder by way too many home cooks.
This awkward (and maybe a little ugly) underground vegetable really does blossom into a delectable side dish with just a little boiling water! If you are someone who sees this larger-than-life root in your grocery store and breezes right on by, let me tell you that you are missing out. I know this waxy, gourd-resembling starch can look like you need a special skill set and a hack saw to cook it, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It couldn’t be simpler to make.
You don’t need my Tia’s Machete to make this yucca.
To prep it, all you need is a chef’s knife and a cutting board. Cut your root in half, or in thirds/quarters if its really long, and stand it up on the cut end. Now, just run your knife down the sides, removing the outer brown layer to reveal the inner white, potato-like flesh. Pop it in some water to avoid it browning, and boil! Obviously I’ve given more detailed instructions below, but you get the gist.
Why do you think Mayans have been eating it for so long?
Besides being tasty and inexpensive, yucca is high in fiber, potassium, and folate, among other things. It is a carbohydrate, so eating it the evening before a soccer game or marathon can provide the energy a body needs during that type of physical activity. But I truly believe that eating EVERYTHING in moderation leads to a healthy body. This article, The Health Potential of Yucca by Rene Goldman (Medically Reviewed by Peggy Pletcher, MS, RD, LD, CDE), explains in more detail the health benefits of yucca and how it may be a better carb choice for those with diabetes.
Bottom line, Yucca is one of those foods that you need not be intimidated by. Give it a shot and I promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this ugly duckling of the root variety!
“Easy Yucca with Even Easier Mojo de Ajo”
- 1.5 lbs yucca, about 2 medium yucca roots
- 1 3/4 tsp sea salt, divided (3/4 to mojo & 1 to water)
- 3 tbsp FRESH lemon juice- 1 tbsp
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 small cloves garlic, VERY finely minced
- 2 tbsp white onion, VERY finely minced
- 2 tbsp Italian flat leaf parsley, finely minced
- Before you start to peel the yucca, get the large pot in which you’ll be cooking it. Fill with cold water.
- Peel the yucca and cut into 1-1.5″ rounds and place in the cold water. *It’ll oxidize quickly, meaning brown from the air like an avocado, so placing it into the cold water as you go with keep that from happening.*
- Move the large pot to a burner and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir 1 tsp of salt into the water. Bring back up to a boil, Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until they’re cooked all the way through. You don’t want to see any white blotches that looked like uncooked potato. (Better overcooked than under, trust me.)
- While the yucca cooks, combine 3/4 tsp sea salt, fresh lemon juice, and 1 tbsp olive oil in small bowl. Whisk together until the salt dissolved. Stir in parsley and set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring constantly until they are soft, but not browned. Immediately remove from heat and pour into the lemon juice mixture. Stir to combine and set aside.
- Once yucca is finished boiling, use a slotted spoon to move yucca to a serving dish. Use a tea spoon, or paring knife and tongs to remove the rough “vein” that runs through the center of each piece. Work quickly because once the yucca cools, it tends to become starchy. *Chefs Note*If you aren’t quite ready with the rest of dinner when the yucca is finished cooking, leave it in the pot of water, but turn off the flame. When you are ready, use your slotted spoon to pull them out of the water.
- Pour the mojo over top and serve immediately.