Baked yuca fries are delicious and easy to make, and perfect as a side dish or party snack.
Yuca (also known as cassava) is one of those vegetables that if you didn’t grow up eating, you probably wouldn’t pick up on a whim at the supermarket. And who could blame you? Yuca stalks are large and irregularly shaped and their skin looks like shiny, brown tree bark – so the intimidation factor is potentially high.
But! Once you peel off the thick skin, you’ll find a hard, white flesh underneath that’s kind of like a potato. When cooked, yuca is becomes creamy, mild, and absolutely delicious – again, like a potato – and absorbs other flavors well. Yuca is native to Central and South American cuisines. I first tried it at a Cuban restaurant and it was love at first bite. They served it in two iterations: boiled and tossed in cilantro-lime mojo, and as fries (“yuca frita”) with a creamy cilantro dip. Since then, yuca has been on steady rotation at our house.
These baked yuca fries make the perfect side dish or party snack. They’re salty, crunchy on the outside, and creamy on the inside. I pair the baked yuca fries with a simple creamy yogurt sauce that’s the perfect shade of green thanks to cilantro and lime. Keep in mind that yuca is much firmer than a potato so peeling it can be a little tricky and you’ll definitely want a sharp knife for the job.
Here’s how to peel yuca:
- Using a sharp knife, cut the yuca stalk into 2 or 3 pieces. (When you cut into it, the flesh should be white; if you see brown spots in the flesh or detect a strong acidic aroma, the yuca has gone bad and should be thrown away.)
- Working with 1 piece at a time, stand the piece on a flat side, and carefully slice off the skin, turning the piece as you go. Repeat with each piece.
- Next, cut the peeled pieces lengthwise into 4 batons to reveal a woody core (you may not see it, but it is there). Slice away a thin piece of the core and discard it.
- Cut each resulting baton into French-fry shapes.
Yuca (also known as cassava) is native to Central and South America. These Cuban-inspired baked yuca fries make a great side dish or party appetizer.
For the Baked Yuca Fries
- 1 1/2 pounds yuca (about 1 large or 2 medium yuca stalks)
- Fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons organic canola oil or another neutral oil
For the Dip
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- Prep the yuca: using a sharp knife, cut the yuca stalk into 2 or 3 pieces. (When you cut into it, the flesh should be white. If you see brown spots in the flesh or detect a strong acidic aroma, the yuca has gone bad and should be thrown away.) Working with 1 piece at a time, stand the piece on a flat side, and carefully slice off the skin, turning the piece as you go. Repeat with each piece. Next, cut the peeled pieces lengthwise into 4 batons to reveal a woody core (you may not see it, but it is there). Slice away a thin piece of the core and discard it. Then cut each resulting baton into French-fry shapes.
- Place the yuca in a pot and add enough water to cover by 2 inches and a generous pinch of salt. Cover tightly with a lid, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer with the lid ajar until the yuca is just starting to cook through but is not yet soft, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander and let the yuca stand for 5 minutes to dry.
- Transfer the yuca to a bowl, drizzle with the oil, and season with salt. Toss to coat evenly and arrange on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Roast until the fries are golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Season with extra salt after you take them out of the oven.
- Meanwhile, make the dip: In a blender or food processor, combine all the dip ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed.
- Serve the fries immediately with the dip.
*If dairy or eggs are not a concern for you, feel free to use dairy yogurt and traditional mayo.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of the recipe
- Calories: 311
- Fiber: 4.9 g
- Protein: 5.1 g