Recipe: Yuca Fries

yucca

I have a new feature to share: recipes! Every other week I’ll be releasing a new, exclusive recipe that will also be available in the Meal Plan Generator.

This week, I’ve got a delicious recipe for those of you that are starting to get sick of your go-to safe starch – sweet potatoes. If you’re looking to try some different starches, give these yuca fries a shot! Pair them with a nice burger or steak and you’ve got a quick and easy meal ready to go. We’ll be exploring other safe starches in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

YUCA FRIES
*Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium yuca roots (about 6-8 inches long each)
  • Duck fat, lard or tallow (if you don’t have these, you can use olive oil – but they won’t be as good!)
  • Sea salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring about 3 quarts of water to a boil.
  2. Peel yuca using sharp knife.
  3. Cut into the shape of fries, about 2.5 – 3 inches long and 1/2″ thick.  (Don’t cut them thinner than this, or they’ll get too tough/crispy when you roast them.)
  4. Boil the fries for 12 minutes. You want them to be soft, but not falling apart.  Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 400 F.
  5. Put 3-4 TBS of duck fat (or whatever fat you’re using) into a small saucepan and heat until liquid.
  6. Drain fries and put them in a mixing bowl.  Pour fat over fries and mix around to distribute evenly.
  7. Spread fries on a baking sheet, and season generously with sea salt and pepper.  Paprika or chili powder are a nice touch here as well.
  8. Roast for about 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and flip the fries.
  10. Roast for another 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Note: each yuca root has a tough, stringy bit in the center of the root.  This will turn up in some of the fries – so watch out for it.  I used to boil the yuca in halves and remove this stringy part before cutting into fry shapes, but found that it was easier to do it this way and just avoid it while eating the fries.

Enjoy!

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Paleo Recipes

Comments Join the Conversation

  1. Summer says

    I thought I was never going to be able to eat Yucca again!!! =)
    Can you use coconut oil instead of olive oil or duck fat, etc.?

  2. Eric says

    Yucca fries are a Cuban staple! A great “dressing” for them is “Mojo” which is basically lime juice, garlic and a little olive oil with salt and cumin.

  3. Dan says

    You mention sweet potatoes as the “go to” starch. Do you include yams as ok to eat (the orange, pointy potato)?

  4. Dave says

    Does this preparation remove enough of the cyanide and goitrogens for all populations? Is it safe for our Healthy Baby Code babies?

    How do we know if prepackaged yuca/cassava food like breads(rare here) or crackers (Casabi, great for pâté btw) were prepared properly?

    • Chris Kresser says

      As long as you’re not eating them every day, and/or you’re taking 1 mg/d of iodine, it shouldn’t be a problem.

      • mary says

        yes that plant is a member of the aloe family I think… but yucca, yuca, cassava, manioc are all names of the same plant. This is also where tapioca comes from. It is toxic when raw! Make no mistake, it is deadly…however when cooked it is perfectly safe. It is known for it’s anti-inflammatory oroperties, so if you can manage the carb it would be a very good choice…just do not sample the raw product…

  5. says

    I love yuca (cassava) fries. I love to get them at a Columbian restaurant like El Llano in Chicago (although they probably deep fry them rather than bake as you suggest, which is a great tip). I love the crunchy little bits which I’m sure are the center part you said to avoid but I love it. I like to dip them in chimichurri (parsley, oregano, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and red pepper flakes).

  6. Greg says

    Chris, why have you seemingly tossed your TCM training out the window? If you want safe starches and are afraid of gluten, why not eat soaked brown rice or quinoa? Eating sweet potato all the time will overload your spleen-pancreas system, and eating meat most likely will cause a stagnant and enlarged liver. Adding duck fat, lard or tallow is definitely going to turn yuca, a relatively safe starch, into a liver stagnator. Besides, can most people reasonably be expected to find organic yuca? I don’t think it’s commonly available…but I could be wrong.

    • Chris Kresser says

      Because I never bought that line of reasoning. Brown rice is one of the hardest grains to eliminate the toxins from. Soaking alone doesn’t do it – more extensive preparation is required. And most of my patients with gut issues don’t do well with grains, however they’re prepared. This includes quinoa, millet and amaranth. I don’t agree with a lot of what I learned in school. I’ve taken what resonated and left the rest.

      • Greg says

        Yeah…but how can you simply just say you “disagree” with using grains when these have been consumed by humans for tens of thousands of years, possibly even longer? There is evidence of paleolithic man and even neanderthals eating grains and legumes before “civilization” even started between 10-15000 years ago. Do you really think that you have it figured out and all those millions of people before you just weren’t knowledgeable enough to understand that grains are actually harmful? Which seems more likely? Are these toxins really that bad if so many people have lived very long and healthy lives regularly consuming them? If tubers are indeed better for regular consumption as a starch source, why is it that most Asian cultures rely primarily on rice as their staple food? In this wikipedia article (Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rice#cite_note-20), a table was compiled according to the USDA nutrition database that indicates that for each 100g serving, long grain white rice is nutritionally and energetically equal or (in most cases) superior to all major tubers with a few significant exceptions being vitamin C, potassium, vitamin A, and carotene. Why didn’t our ancestors simply cultivate potatoes, yams, yucca, or sweet potato instead of rice if these were so much better for our health? The answer, I believe, is because these plants actually are not as beneficial for our health, and on a caloric basis are insufficient to feed everyone. That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t eat tubers, it just means that if you are looking for a safe starch source, grains are probably better. I am not a vegan, but at the same time, the medical literature seems to make a pretty strong case for a whole foods plant-based diet with meat accounting for a small or even non-existent portion of a diet that tends to lead to optimum health. The science on this is still very much a work in progress. It’s incredibly difficult to answer with complete certainty what each and every individual in the US, let alone the world, should eat to maximize lifespan, vitality, cognitive function, physical fitness, and minimize risk of disease. But is meat consumption even necessary to live a long and healthy life? The science is not unequivocal about this. Personally, I like eating meat once in a while, but TCM recommends no more than 4 oz. a day. The ideal is 2-3 oz. Why tamper with a diet that we know works and has worked for most people in temperate climates for thousands of years?

        • Mike F says

          I’m just taking a shot in the dark but don’t grains stay longer in storage? That is why we have harvest festivals to celebrate the bountiful harvest that will sustain us through the winter months. So if this is the case then grain consumption was more of a practical adaptation rather than a nutritional one.

  7. Swedish Omnivore says

    Here in Sweden we don´t have that many starchy tubers to choose from.
    Do you see a problem with the use of carrots, rutabagas, parsnips and beetroots as carbohydrate sources in a low carb to moderate carb paleo diet? I mean, given the ratio of fructose / glucose.
    Then we have regular potatoes, but you don´t want to eat potatoes every day.

  8. John says

    Hey Chris,

    Since you are busy and less likely to go through older posts, I will ask it here. When you were taking hcl you said you only had to use it for a brief period and your wn production kicked in. Do you remember about how long you were using them and how much. Also, what signaled you to stop? Did younstart to have burning or heaviness/bloating, and did you reduce it stepwise?

    • Chris Kresser says

      It varies from person to person – there’s no set time. Usually you’ll start experiencing a burning sensation with a lower number of capsules. The length of time it takes often depends on how long you’ve had low stomach acid, and whether you’ve been on PPIs. In some cases, natural production never returns.

        • Chris Kresser says

          Yes, I’ve seen that occasionally. In these cases I usually recommend backing down to 6-8 capsules and sticking with that for a while.

          • John says

            Got it. Thank you very much.

            Is it bad to be using hcl if you are infected with h pylori? I have seen some posts online saying tHat. And lastly, have you noticed if an insufficient amount of hcl capsules is used that it can worsen symptoms like heaviness or bloating until they get to the proper dosage, or am I overdoing it? I have been using 3 so far but don’t know if I am under doing it, or possibly overdoing it.

  9. mary says

    I did a web search and yucca, yuca has been eaten for food and medicinal value since prehistoric times. It us too high in carb for me personally, as it is 1/3 starch and I eat very low carb, but it is very nutricious! However, I think your recipe should carry a !!!WARNING!!! Never nibble or so much as taste raw yucca, as the raw product contains a toxic poison…cyanide!!!! When heated and completely cooked the poison changes and is no longer toxic…. Raw yucca will never be eaten but once, because it kills! Perfectly safe when cooked though. Many cooks have a habit of taking bites of raw veg when prepping, please do not be tempted to do this with yucca.

  10. Todd says

    I’ve made plantain fries. They CAN be really good, but so far mine have been hit or miss. Sometimes they come out mushy, other times they’re crispy, golden perfection. I’ll try my hand with the yucca and see if they turn out better for me.

  11. Pete says

    I noticed that the yucca fries recipe is not listed in the “Very low carbs” section of the PPC Meal Plan Generator so I guess I’ll have to stick with sweet potato fries. Speaking of sweet potatoes(or other foods for that matter), does the manner in which they are prepared (i.e. baked vs fries) effect blood glucose differently? Or is a baked sweet potato eaten with coconut oil the same as sweet potato fries made with coconut oil? Thanks.

    • Chris Kresser says

      That’s something we need to address. Both sweet potatoes and yuca are relatively high in carbs, so you can have them but only in limited amounts if you’re doing a VLC diet.

  12. says

    I love yucca fries and just made them as well. I didn’t know you also have this post and surprisingly the directions are pretty similar with what I did as well…great minds think alike :) Btw, actually I didn’t boil them that long and still turned out great.

  13. John says

    Hey Chris,

    I have been re introducing kefir with good results starting slowly (tablespoon). Do you think there is a best time to take kefir, and is it better to just take it all at once, or would a little in the morning and evening be better?

    Also, if someone is using raw kefir is there even any need for supplemental probiotics?

    • Chris Kresser says

      I don’t think timing really matters. If you’re drinking a significant amount of kefir, probiotics are probably unnecessary unless you’re dealing with a condition that warrants an unusually high dose.

      • John says

        Thanks Chris. Do you find for those who don’t have any maor issues or high probiotic requirements that a certain amount of kefir is good. Maybe half a cup- one cup each day? Doesn’t a properly prepared kefir have trillions of bacteria in a single 8 oz amount?

  14. Phillip says

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the great recipe. I love it. I am wondering about deep frying the yucca instead of baking them. Would that be less healthy? If so, why?

    Thank you

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