Yummylicious Fried and Baked Yuca Fries Recipes

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

These ugly looking root vegetables pictured above are named yucas.

If you don’t already know what a yuca, or a cassava, is you’re probably wondering right? Well, the yuca is a long tuberous and starchy root that can range in length, from around two to eight inches. The root has brown rough skin and a milky white interior flesh. As this vegetable bruises rather easily it is usually sold covered in a protective wax coating to prevent damage. More names for yuca include manioc, mandioca, yucca root and tapioca.

The yucca is native to Brazil and the tropical areas of America. It is widely grown all over Latin America and the Caribbean. Yuca is incredibly versatile in the ways it can be eaten, being boiled, baked, steamed, fried, mashed or even added to a stew. When cooked the root vegetable turns yellow, slightly translucent and sweet. When buying yuca look for firm roots with little or no soft spots and when possible buy the whole roots without their ends being cut off.

There are two varieties of yuca -sweet and bitter. Both varieties contain prussic acid which can cause cyanide poisoning. Cooking or pressing the root thoroughly removes any poison.The yuca can never be consumed raw without risking illness. Bitter yuca is rarely sold within any store, the sweet version of the root is widely sold in markets. Whereas the bitter type is processed into safe edible flours and starches which are then turned into either breads, cakes or pastries.

The starchy root is not only rich in carbohydrates but also contains a healthy mix of vitamins, minerals and plant-based nutrients. Researchers are constantly discovering that the yuca root’s phytonutrients, including steroidal saponins and resveratrol, give it a long list of significant health benefits.

 

Yucca health benefits:

Yucca health benefits

Eases the symptoms of diabetes: Turkish researchers have conducted an animal study to determine the effects of extracts of yuca and / or the soap bark tree, in a laboratory, on animals that have had diabetes induced. Researchers reported at the end of the experiment that the rats who were fed a supplement of yuca, soap bark tree or a blend of the two had significantly lower blood glucose and total cholesterol levels as well as higher insulin and good cholesterol readings.

Anti-arthritic properties: Strong evidence has been found that many of the active components in the yuca seem to exert anti-inflammatory effects that may explain their use in treating arthritis.

Antioxidant properties: Phytochemicals extracted from the yuca root exhibit antioxidant properties that may be able to help prevent cardiovascular disease in which hyperactivity of the blood platelets is a factor. These antioxidants help to prevent cell damage or alternatively enable to help the the body recover from cell damages.

High in fibre: Yucas are high in fibre benefitting the body in numerous ways. One of the most notable ways fibre benefits the body is that it helps your bowel movements become smoother and easier by improving digestion. Thus eliminating issues such as constipation or diarrhea. A diet high in fibre can also reduce or eradicate problems such as bloating, cramping, excessive flatulence and more serious gastrointestinal ailments.

High blood pressure: Some individuals have claimed yuca has reduced blood pressure.

Headaches: Others have also suggested that yuca may be beneficial in treating persistent headaches.

Weight loss: Due to the fact that fibre can help you feel fuller for longer and regulates the uptake of nutrients in an efficient way, this means you are less likely to give in to those unhealthy snacks in between mealtimes. Yuca root helps to prevent weight gain in ways other ways carbohydrates cannot.

Beneficial to the immune system: With high levels of vitamin C, far higher than other edible roots, making the yuca vegetable highly important for the immune system. Vitamin C is the first line of defense in our immune system, stimulating to production and activity of white blood cells, as well as acting as an antioxidant.

Wound healing and growth: Vitamin C is also a key component in the production of collagen which is necessary for all blood vessels, cells, tissues and muscles. Thus adding more vitamin C to your diet can help repair and growth throughout the body.

Improve cognition: The high levels of potassium and folate, both of which help to stimulate the blood flow to the brain. Therefore labelling yucca as a ‘brain food’ would not be entirely wrong. The extra blood flow to the brain is great for combating cognitive disorders and keeping older individuals alert and sharp in their old age.

Skin and eye health:

Folic acid has been connected to improving overall skin and eye health. Yuca is a brilliant way to increase the intake of folic.

Fried Yuca Recipes:

Fried yuca with peruvian cheese sauce:

The peruvian answer to fries and ketchup.

Active time: 30 minutes.          Total time: 45 minutes.

Serves: 4 individuals.

Suitable for vegetarians.

Recipe found at: epicurious

Ingredients:

Sauce

  • ½ lbs mexican queso fresco or mild feta cheese, broken into small chunks
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • 1 ½ tablespoons bottled aji amarillo puree
  • 1 garlic clove peeled and smashed
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste

Yuca

  • 2 lb fresh yuca or 1 ½ lbs frozen peeled yuca -not thawed
  • 6 cups of vegetable oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Garnish: fresh lime wedges

How to make:

Sauce

  • Add all the ingredients together and blend until smooth. Warm before serving.

Fry yuca

  • If using fresh yuca trim the ends and cut crosswise into 3 inch pieces, then peel removing the waxy brown skin.
  • Cover the yuca, fresh or frozen, with cold salted water by 1 inch in a 4 quart pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until the yuca is tender when pierced with a wooden skewer, this usually takes around 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Transfer to paper towels and allow to drain, dry and cool for 5 minutes. Cut yuca lengthwise into a ⅛ inch wide wedges, discarding the thin woody core.
  • Heat 1 ½ inches of oil in a 4 to 5 quart heavy pot over moderate heat until 360 degrees F is reached (182 degrees C) on the thermometer. Fry in 3 batches, turning occasionally to promote even cooking and crisping of the fries, for 3 to 5 minutes each time.
  • Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain and cool, remembering to return the oil to 360 degrees F (182 degrees C) between each batch.
  • Sprinkle with salt (if necessary) and serve with the previously made cheese sauce.

Additional notes: Sauce made with queso fresco will be very thick, if you prefer thinner sauces use extra half-and-half to thin. Sauce can also be made a day in advance to shorten the active time when preparing, just simply chill to preserve. Then warm or bring to room temperature and stir before consuming.

Yuca styled french fries:

Yuca styled french fries

If you like french fries you’ll love this Latino answer to the American favourite. Eat alone as a healthy snack or alongside your main meal of the day -perfect for any occasion.

Prep time: 15 minutes           Cook time: 35 minutes

Serves: 4 individuals

Suitable for vegetarians

Creator: The Messy Cook at All Recipes

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of yuca, peeled and cut into 4 inch sections
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil for frying

How to make:

  • Place the yuca into a large pot and add water to cover. Bring to boil over a high heat, then reduce to medium-low and simmer until the root vegetable can be easily pierced with a fork. This usually takes around 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)
  • Fry the yuca in batches until golden brown and crispy, around 5 to 7 minutes. Toss with salt to taste and serve hot, as a snack or part of a main meal.

Fried yuca crispy fries:

These fried yuca crisps are best served with a spicy mayonnaise dip for that extra kick. Learn how to make below!

Prep time: 15 minutes.          Cook time: 35 minutes.

Serves: 4 individuals

Suitable for vegetarians.

Creator: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds of fresh yuca (around 2 roots).
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons aji amarillo paste
  • 1 tablespoon of juice from 1 lime
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stems removed and seeds (although this is optional, if you like your food spicy include the seeds)
  • ¼ cup of loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons grated cotija, romano or feta cheese
  • 2 quarts vegetable or peanut oil
  • Black pepper (optional)

How to make:

  • Peel the yuca with a knife or vegetable peeler, split in half horizontally and cut into ½ to ¾ inch thick batons.
  • Place the yuca into a pot and cover with cold water by 2 inches, season well with salt, bringing to the boil over a high heat.
  • Once boiling reduce heat to a medium heat and cook until tender, this usually takes around 15 minutes. When cooked drain the water from the yucca and rinse.
  • Whilst the yuca is cooking combine mayonnaise, aji amarillo, lime juice, jalapeno, cilantro and the cheese in the jar of a blender. Blend on a high setting until the mixture is smooth, usually taking around 1 to 2 minutes with a good powered blender.
  • Season with salt and / or black pepper to taste if necessary and then set aside.
  • Once the yuca has finished boiling in a pot, heat oil to 350 degrees F (232 degrees C) in a fryer, dutch oven or large wok over a high heat. Add the yuca and then cook, agitating and flipping frequently to avoid burning until golden brown and crispy. This usually takes anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes depending.
  • Transfer the crispy fries to a paper towel lined tray and shake to drain. Season with salt and black pepper if you desire and serve immediately with the previously created spicy mayonnaise.

Baked Yuca Recipes:

Crispy baked yuca fries

These delicious treats will be sure to have you coming back for me, and the best thing is -they’re healthy!

Prep time: 15 minutes               Baking time: 30 minutes.

Serves: 4 individuals

Suitable for vegetarians

Creator: The Healthy Maven      

Ingredients:

  • 2 large yucas
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon of chili powder (optional -paprika could be used as an alternative)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper (optional or to taste)

How to make:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (or 232 degrees C)
  • Peel both of the yucas with a vegetable peeler or knife to remove the waxy skin surrounding them. Be careful in doing so if using a knife.
  • Chop each yuca in half and then slice into individual fry-shapes.
  • Place the chopped yuca fried into a large pot and fill with water.
  • Heat the yucas within the water until boiling, then allow to cook for ten minutes after in the boiling water.
  • Remove the fries from the boiling water and rinse with cold water.
  • Place the yuca in a large bowl and top with the olive oil, chili powder (or paprika), salt and pepper. Lightly toss to coat.
  • Line onto a baking tray, being careful not to overcrowd, and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and flip the fries, then cook for a further 15 minutes.
  • Serve these tasty treats warm for all the family to enjoy!

Another crispy baked yuca fry recipe:

These tasty snacks will always hit the spot! Perfect to take to work as a great lunchtime snack.

Prep time: 10 minutes              Cook time: 40 minutes

Serves: 2 or 4 individuals

Suitable for vegetarians.

Creator: Michele at Paleo Running Momma

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 yuca roots depending on size
  • 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon of salt
  • Black pepper

How to make:

  • Over a high heat on the stove, heat around 8 cups of water until bubbles begin to form adding a small amount of salt when they do.
  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C).
  • As the water heats, chop of the ends of the yuca root with a sharp knife. Using a vegetable peeler or knife also peel the skin from the vegetable. If the yuca is long in length, over 6 inches, cut in half before chopping into ‘fries’ around ½ inch thick each time.
  • Place the newly chopped yuca into the now just bubbling water and bring to the boil. Leave for 10-15 minutes, or until the root is fork tender -do not let it become too soft.
  • Drain yuca and dry with paper towels. Toss the fries with coconut oil and salt coating them completely and place in a large lined baking tray. Allow space between each crisp.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for around 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Turning over mid-cook time.
  • Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Final thoughts:

In conclusion, yucas are a perfect health food. Benefiting our bodies in many ways ranging from good skin health, being fibre-rich, a diabetes aid and a weight loss promoting food. This food may not work miracles alone, however, it does have the potential to be a perfect aid when incorporated into a low-calorie healthy diet to encourage a healthier body and mind.

Yucas are a perfect healthy substitute for potatoes when making meals for the family, allowing you to enjoy the perfect french fries with a twist. The kids will love them too as they taste sweet and just simply mouth-watering! Personally, my favourite meal where yuca replaces the fries is steak. Yuca fries, steak and fresh corn on the cob (with butter) goes down a treat!

This perhaps intimidating-looking root vegetable is easy to prepare and fantastic to eat. Don’t be scared off by it’s appearance or poison content when raw, just remember we can’t eat raw potato either! This vegetable is certainly one of our favourite ingredients to cook and experiment with here at Balance Me Beautiful.

Feel free to let us know which of these recipes is your favourite, and any alterations you have made which really help in terms of flavour in your opinion! We always love hearing from our readers, so feel free to tell us below in the comments section. If you’re wanting further recipes including the fantastic root vegetable Yuca, fill in the form on the ‘contact’ section of the website and who knows we may even do your request next! Replies are usually sent within 12 hours of receiving the question or request.

Thanks for reading.

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.