Mashed yuca is one of my favorite paleo and Whole30 side dish recipes. It’s creamy, rich and slightly sweet, and a fun Whole30 twist on a comfort food classic. If you’ve been rocking pureed sweet potatoes and cauliflower mash, you’ll also want to give mashed yuca root recipe a try!
We’re well into week three of January Whole30 – 23 days y’all! The finish line is a mere seven days away, and I’m pretty sure this last week will be gone before I know it. I’m so proud of us, and you should be too.
This week I’m all about Whole30 twists on classic comfort foods, like this garlic mashed yuca root recipe. Yuca say what?
If you’ve been rocking cauliflower and sweet potato puree, you’ll want to give this yuca root recipe a try. It’s creamy, rich, and filling, and so easy to prepare.
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What is Yuca Root?
If you’ve never heard of yuca, you’re in for a treat – truly. You might know it by the name cassava. Yuca is a root vegetable, similar to potatoes but more fibrous, widely used in South American and Caribbean cuisines. It’s a starchy root, and it’s what tapioca is derived from.
There are lots of recipes for yuca root, but it’s mostly commonly boiled, roasted, or fried, and has a creamy, buttery, slightly sweet flavor profile. This article from The Spruce will tell you everything you need to know about yuca (and more!).
I know that sweet potato and cauliflower dominate the Whole30 mash scene these days, but this starchy root vegetable deserves a slot in your menu planning rotation.
Reasons? Let’s dish:
- It’s economical. I don’t know about you, but cauliflower is on the more expensive side around here, even in peak growing season, and I’m regularly paying upwards of $4/head. For one side dish, that’s pricey (albeit, so delish). Potatoes and sweet potatoes are a better deal at around $1.50-$2/pound. Yuca, on the other hand, cost me $0.79/pound. Total for 4 servings? A little under $1.50.
- It’s widely available. You can find yuca root at most chain supermarkets, higher-end markets like Whole Foods, or latin markets. I’ve never had a problem finding it on my weekly grocery trips.
- It’s nutritious. A 1-cup serving provides you 70% of your Vitamin C, and a nice boost of Vitamin B, Potassium, and Magnesium. It’s a starchy veg, so it’s rich and filling.
- It’s easy to prepare. If you’re accustomed to cauliflower or sweet potato mash, you don’t need any new special tricks or equipment. The same principles apply – prepare, boil, season, mash. Fancy new paleo side dish, same ol’ prep!
- It’s delicious. Mashed yuca is the closest thing I’ve found to mashed potatoes without being mashed potatoes – and maybe even better. While I love mashed potatoes, I also like diversity. Options? Good. Mashed yuca is creamier, with a flavor profile that’s rich and buttery, and a little bit sweeter than russet, new, or yukon gold potatoes, but not as overtly sweet as sweet potatoes.
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How to Make Mashed Yuca
Let’s yuck it up y’all!
Grab a cutting board, a sharp knife, and your yuca root. Trim the ends, and then quarter. Please, be careful when cutting yuca root. The skin is thick and the flesh is quite firm, so you’ll need to apply more pressure than you think. If you’ve cut and peeled winter squash, yuca yields a similar resistance.
Inspect the flesh after you quartered the root. You’re looking for bright, white, firm flesh that isn’t bruised or discolored. Every once in a while I find small portions that are browned and bruised, and I just cut those away and set them aside. If the flesh of your yuca root is consistently discolored, it’s gone bad. It’s rare, but it happens.
Stand the sections on their cut sides, and trim off the skin with downward strokes. There’s two layers of skin – the tough, outer brown “bark”, and a lighter pink skin. Make sure you cut away both – they’re tough and fibrous and so not tasty.
Once it’s peeled, you’ll dice it into small chunks and then boil it with garlic and salt. I like to boil mine in broth for an extra hit of flavor, but water is perfectly acceptable. Use more or less garlic depending on your preferences.
After you’ve boiled the yuca root, you’ll treat it much the same as you would mashed potatoes or cauliflower. Add a little pepper for seasoning, add a little ghee for fat and flavor, and then cream with your hand mixer or the paddle attachment on a stand mixer. I don’t like the texture that results from using a potato masher. Whipped and smooth mashed yuca = creamier and tastier.
Taste for seasoning after you’ve whipped the yuca into a light and airy texture. It may need more salt, pepper, or both. Don’t be afraid to season as needed.
It’s volume will expand as you mash and the finished product will look remarkably like mashed potatoes, but the final texture will be creamier. I served this as-is, but it’s also excellent with a little more ghee drizzled over the top and sprinkled with some fresh parsley.
Mashed yuca can be used anywhere you’d use mashed potatoes or cauliflower mash for a Whole30 or paleo side dish – as a base for pot roast or compliant stew; alongside roasted chicken, meatloaf or pork chops; or as a gluten-free substitute for pasta with meatballs and Sunday sauce, or under a bed of chargrilled mushrooms. So many possibilities! When you check back in tomorrow, I’ll share what I paired this batch with. Happy yuca mashing!
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Garlic Mashed Yuca RootPrint Recipe Rate This Recipe
- 1.5 lb yuca root trimmed, peeled, and cubed
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 tsp sea or kosher salt plus additional to taste
- 2 c bone broth or water
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 2 tbsp ghee melted
- Trim off the ends of the yuca root using a sharp knife, then cut the root widthwise into three or four pieces.
- Set each piece of yuca cut side up. Starting at the top and working in one fluid motion, slice the waxy exterior brown skin and interior pink layer from the yuca. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
- Rinse the skinned yuca root under cool running water to remove any dirt or residue that might have transferred during trimming, then dice the flesh into 1” chunks.
- Place the diced yuca and smashed garlic cloves into a sauce pan, along with 1 tsp salt. Add enough water or broth to cover the yuca by about an inch. Place the sauce pan over high and heat until the water boils. Reduce the heat to medium high and continue to boil until the yuca is soft and you can easily mash the flesh with the tines of a fork, about 20 minutes.
- Drain the liquid and return the yuca and garlic to the pot. Alternatively, transfer the yuca and garlic to the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the melted ghee and pepper to the pot or bowl. Using a hand mixer or the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, beat until the consistency is smooth and the yuca mash is light in color and fluffy in texture. Taste for seasoning, and add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm. Yuca mash keeps in the fridge for up to 3 days, and reheats well in the microwave.
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