Baked Yuca Fries (Cassava Fries)
Baked yuca fries are golden and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They’re a healthier way to make yuca fries and served up with cilantro lime mayonnaise.
Today’s yuca fries are inspired by Latin America and later this week you’ll see some Mexican-inspired dishes. Clearly, my feet are getting itchy for travel and some sort of global exploration.
It’s been a while since my last adventure and when I get a little antsy, that comes through in my food. Because food, like music, has a way of transporting you to a certain time and place. And right now, a little mental transportation will have to suffice until my website redesign is done and I can do the physical, hop on a plane transportation (fingers crossed that’s soon!).
If you’ve never traveled Central or South America, yuca may be new to you. But if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ve likely heard me talk about cassava.
And guess what? Yuca and cassava (and manioc) are all one and the same. When processed, this root vegetable is turned into cassava flour. And when processed further, it’s turned into tapioca flour. Yep, it’s one big happy tuber family.
So as you can see, yuca fries could also be known as cassava fries.
So what exactly is yuca? It’s a brown, oblong root vegetable that let’s be honest, has a little bit of a PR problem in the veggie aisle. It’s not the prettiest and when you purchase it in the US, it usually has a thick, waxy coating. But this coating is to protect and preserve the tuber. Good news though, it easily peels off just like a potato.
Yuca is pronounced YOU-ka. Not to be confused with yucca, pronounced YUCK-a. Markets in the US typically misspell yuca for yucca, but yucca is a tall, spiky ornamental plant grown in the Southwest US. And not something you want to be eating.
Because yuca is a starchy tuber, it can be used similarly to potatoes in many recipes. Translation: swap french fries for delicious yuca fries.
So let’s chat about these fries. When I make my yuca fries I tend to cut them thicker than I would a potato. So they’re more like batons rather than fries. I find that this allows them to get crispy and golden on the outside, but stay soft and fluffy on the inside.
Then, you need to boil the cut fries before baking them. Yuca is more dense and firm than potatoes, so without boiling you’d have a crispy outside and hard (pretty much unpalatable) inside. Boiling also creates those frayed edges on the fries that get super yummy and crispy when baked.
Today, I’ve paired these yuca fries with a cilantro lime mayonnaise that’s ah-ma-zing, starting with my Homemade Mayonnaise recipe. I think you’ll definitely be double dipping into that.
So give yuca a whirl. You can hop on a plane to Latin America (my preference), or you can make these yuca fries at home. But either way, I think you’ll soon be loving this tasty root vegetable.
Yuca Fries (Cassava Fries)
- 2 yuca, cassava
- 1 tbsp avocado oil
- pinch of sea salt
cilantro lime mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Use a vegetable peeler to peel the outside waxy layer from the yuca (just as you would a potato).
- If the yuca is long, slice it in half, then slice into 1/2"-3/4" fries or batons.
- Add the fries to the boiling water and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges start to fray and they're fork tender.
- Drain the fries and place in a large bowl. Drizzle them with avocado oil and sea salt and toss to coat.
- Lay the fries in a single layer on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- While the fries are cooking, make the cilantro lime mayonnaise. Add all of the ingredients except the mayonnaise to a small food processor and blend until finely chopped. Then add the mayonnaise and pulse a couple of times to combine.
- Serve the yuca fries immediately with the cilantro lime mayonnaise.
- Try to cut your fries into a fairly even and uniform shape. If they get thinner at the ends (like mine), the ends will crisp up first.
- The yuca should be white on the inside. If it has many brown streaks, it may be past it's prime and you'll want to discard that one.