Know your root vegetables: yucca, a.k.a. cassava


Raw yucca

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Yucca root is a starchy vegetable that grows mostly in the arid parts of the Americas and the Caribbean. It also packs a nutritious punch, and is rich in vitamin C, folate and potassium and high in dietary fiber.

According to WebMD, some people use yucca to treat an assortment of ailments, including osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, inflammation of the intestine (colitis), high cholesterol, stomach disorders, diabetes, poor circulation, and liver and gallbladder disorders. It adds that people also use yucca to treat everything from skin sores and sprains to baldness and dandruff. Just be aware that WebMD also points out that there is insufficient evidence to support any of these claims.

What we do know is that it’s hella tasty, and we’ve rounded up 15 different ways for you to try it for yourself.


1. Fritanga or Picada Colombiana

Fritanga or picada Colombiana

By no means the healthiest dish that Colombia has to offer, fritanga — beautifully presented by My Colombian Recipes — features an assortment of fried meats and vegetables, including yucca. Fried yucca is certainly delicious and worth trying at least once, but if you’re going to eat it often, then bake it — it’s just as tasty and far healthier.


2. Caprese yucca cake with basil vinaigrette

Caprese yucca cake

Mommyhood's Diary gives yucca a bit of fancy schmancy treatment in this dish that highlights all too well the manner in which sauces and vinaigrettes, such as this basil vinaigrette, complement the starchy root vegetable beautifully.


3. Brisket carimañolas

Brisket carimanolas

These are not so much your typical tots per se, as they are fritters, much like Puerto Rican alcapurias. These tots, from Three Diets. One Dinner., are made with yucca, and stuffed with brisket. Come to think of it, they are almost like mini empanadas.


4. Dominican yucca empanadas (Catibias)

Dominican yucca empanadas

Speaking of empanadas, the Dominican variety is made with yucca, as demonstrated brilliantly by Foodista.


5. Pasteles de yucca

Pasteles de yucca

Puerto Rican pasteles are typically made with yautía or malanga — another type of root vegetable — but the masa (or dough) can also be made with yucca, as The Noshery does in this recipe.


6. Honduran coconut seafood soup with machuca paste

Honduran coconut seafood soup with machuca paste

Yucca is often used in various soups and stews, sometimes in place of potatoes or plantains. It's no surprise that it is one of the ingredients of this decadent coconut seafood soup from Honduras, which is served alongside a plantain paste called "machuca."


7. Gnocchi with a twist

Gnocchi with a twist

Peru Delights substitutes potatoes with yucca to make these savory gnocchi.