~ Baked Yucca Fries

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Mmmmmm! Yucca fries! Brushed with coconut oil, slathered with fresh garlic and cajun spice, warm out of the oven where they have been roasted to perfection, these fries look like they were made from potatoes, but unlike fries made from spuds, yucca fries contain the added bonus of high protein . Yes, yucca contains more calories than potatoes, and yes, it is a starchy root, but it is low in fat, and the saponin contained in the yucca root is an inflammation fighter that helps fight pain and stiffness associated with arthritis. The vitamin K it provides has been proven to be effective against Alzheimer’s disease. Yucca, or yuca, also aids in lowering cholesterol and promoting intestinal health. So, don’t be afraid of the carbs!

The yucca root grows across the Americas and the Indies. It is an essential carbohydrate in many cultures, but here in the United States, although it is widely available in produce departments across the Southwest and West, it may be a long, brown mystery item to many. You might think you have never tasted yucca, but if you’ve eaten tapioca, you have. Tapioca is the starch that is extracted from the root. Okay, so now that I’ve told you, don’t go running out to buy a Boba or pudding. Stay calm.

Yucca fries are popular in El Salvadoran, Guatemalan and Caribbean cooking, and I’m sure they are eaten across the Americas. My recipe, bathed in garlic, leans towards Caribbean style preparation. I’ve tried yucca fries that were dry and miserable, but of course, I will not share the recipe of how to make something that tastes like bark with you. The key to making amazing yucca fries is to boil the yucca until it is tender – almost but not quite falling apart. It takes a bit of time for yucca to boil to that point, but the great thing is that once cooked it can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Yucca is also unpredictable, so I can’t tell you exactly how long it will take to boil. Quite a while, I’d say. Maybe 40 minutes to an hour if you cut it into 2 inch chunks. So, boil a bunch when you have time. Stick some in the freezer for later use. It’ll be worth it when you can simply defrost a bag of cut yucca and have fries in minutes.

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Ingredients:

2 yucca roots

2 tbsp. minced or roasted garlic

powdered Cajun seasoning (I use Tony Chachere’s)

1 tbsp. coconut oil

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cover a baking sheet with parchment or baking paper.

3. Wash the yucca roots. Cut off one inch from each end of the roots. Peel the yucca with a vegetable peeler. The peeling is tough but not difficult to remove.

4. Slice the yucca roots crossways so that each chunk is about 2 to 2 1/2 inches long. Then slice lengthwise to create french fry type pieces. It is better to cut wider fries than you would if you were using a potato.

5. Arrange the fries so they are laying flat on the baking sheet.

6. Melt 1 tbsp. of coconut oil. Add the minced or roasted garlic to the oil and stir to combine. Roasted garlic will be soft and creamy and will be easily removed from its skin by applying pressure at the tip of each clove.

7. Brush the yucca fries with the coconut oil garlic mixture.

8. Sprinkle with desired amount of Cajun seasoning.

9. Bake for 10 minutes.

10. Switch the oven to high broil and broil for approximately 2 minutes, or until the tops of the yucca start to brown.

11. Remove from the oven and let cool for a minute.

12. Enjoy the fries by dipping them into your favorite salsa or mojo sauce, or just savor their flavor alone.

 

Note: Not that you would consider doing so, but never eat raw yucca. It can be harmful or fatal.

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