If food this creamy and delicious could always be this simple, cooks everywhere would be smiling. For me, this recipe was a natural to think of because I love yucca. With its anti-inflammatory properties, it is my root vegetable of choice when replacing potatoes. The poor spuds are members of the nightshade family, and research has shown that they tend to activate inflammation in those who have arthritis, arthritis-like and autoimmune conditions.
The creamy texture and subtle flavors of scalloped yucca come together to make you feel as though you were eating something extremely sinful, but as made here with almond coconut blend milk and a bit of coconut milk, I’m not worried about overloading on dairy. Why not enjoy a taste of the Caribbean by including some scalloped yucca on your holiday table this season, or anytime?
(Makes 6 servings)
2 large yucca, peeled and sliced to 1 inch thickness
1 cup almond/coconut blend milk (I use Blue Diamond 45 calorie)
1/4 cup canned coconut milk
1 1/2 cups 4 cheese Mexican blend
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tbsp. minced garlic
chile powder, achiote powder or cajun seasoning (to taste)
salt and pepper (to taste)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a glass or white glass baking dish.
2. Peel the yucca using a vegetable peeler. Remove any discolored or mealy parts. Slice the yucca into 1″ thick rounds.
3. Boil the yucca in 3 quarts of water over medium heat until tender. In my experience, the time will vary, but I would estimate that it will take at least one hour to reach the level of tenderness necessary. Check the water frequently to ensure the water doesn’t boil out.
4. Spoon the tender, boiled yucca into the prepared baking dish. Remove any core fibers that you see. (Yucca has a rope-like fiber that runs down the middle of the root and it must be removed.) Many of the fibers will have already separated while boiling.
5. Spoon the garlic and parsley over the yucca and gently distribute throughout using a spoon. Sprinkle with chile powder, achiote or cajun seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.
6. Spread the shredded cheese evenly over the top of the yucca.
7. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, bring the almond/coconut blend and the coconut milk to a boil. When using real milk, the recipe will call for scalding but almond and coconut milk don’t need to scald. Boil until the coconut milk on top thickens slightly (3-4 minutes.)
8. Pour the milk as evenly as possible across the top of the baking dish.
9. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the cheese on top begins to brown slightly. The liquid will be thick and bubbling. Remove from oven and let cool for several minutes before serving.
Note: The yucca will crumble up a bit compared to potato, which usually remains in perfect flat slices. I appreciate the difference in texture greatly because the sauce seems to stick much better to the yucca.