If you can’t have potatoes we have a great potato substitute for you! What if we told you that this potato substitute was so great that you can mash it, bake it, put it in soups or stews, and that you can even make fries with it? But wait, there’s more! (Shades of Ron Popeil!) What if we told you that you can purchase it precooked and in shelf-stable cans?! (We told you there was more!) Yes, it’s yuca! Yes, it’s cassava! It’s two, two, two names for one incredible potato substitute! (In case you weren’t aware, yuca and cassava are different names for the same root vegetable.)
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Note: we are really dating ourselves with the Popeil and Certs references, aren’t we? For those of you who are not as old as are we, Ron Popeil was an inventor best known for, among other things, the Pocket Fisherman, and he was among the original infomercial marketers. (You can watch the original Pocket Fisherman commercial here.) Certs was a breath mint hyped as being two mints in one: a breath mint and a candy mint. (You can watch the original Certs ‘two mints in one’ commercial here).
According to MICFoods, an exporter of yuca (cassava), “Yuca, commonly known as cassava or manioc (not to be confused with yucca), is one of the world’s most versatile vegetables. Use it fried, boiled, or mashed, yuca is a nutty-flavored starch tuber native to South America that is also found in Asia and parts of Africa. Together with other tropical root vegetables like yam, taro, and most notably the potato, it is an indispensable part of the carbohydrate diet for many.” In the U.S., while many may not be familiar with yuca by that name, cassava is becoming increasingly well-known, in large part because cassava flour is touted as a great alternative flour for those who need to be gluten-free.
Now, you can get uncooked yuca root at many markets, especially Latin markets, Asian markets, and some health food stores. However, we want to tell you about canned yuca! Canned yuca is already boiled, which is what you first need to do regardless of whether you want your yuca mashed, put in soup or stew, baked, or made into fries. In fact, all of the recipes for yuca fries start with cutting up the yuca root and boiling it. It is true that the fries you make from canned yuca may be a little bit mushier on the inside than if you take a raw root, cut it into fries, then boil the fries, then fry or bake them, but only a little.
Thank you! ❤️
*Receipts will come from ISIPP.
Where to Find Canned Yuca
In the United States (where we are) there are two main brands of canned yuca: Goya and Badia. Goya was boycotted in 2020 for remarks that Goya’s CEO made about politics, however the Badia brand has no such history. Goya is ubiquitous in Latin markets and even many supermarkets, and also available on Amazon; Badia is available through Walmart.
How to Use Canned Yuca as a Potato Substitute for Mashed Potatoes and in Soup or Stew
Honestly, there is nothing to using canned yuca in place of potatoes when it comes to soups and stews, and also to mashing them. Simply open the can, drain the yuca, and cut it up to go into your soup or stew, or mash it. If you are putting it in soup or stew, put it in at the end, just long enough to heat it, or it may disintegrate.
If you are going to mash it, we microwave it to heat it, then mash it with a handheld potato masher with a bit of vegan butter and neutral plant milk. Do not use a hand mixer or food processor or it will quickly turn to wallpaper paste. (By the way, you can also make a mashed potato substitute from cauliflower.)
Yuca Fries Recipe from Canned Yuca
1 can yuca, drained
Olive oil spray
Salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 425°.
Cut the drained yuca into fry-sized pieces. In our picture we made them really fat, but you don’t have to (although canned yuca will not lend itself to matchstick fries, if you try to cut it that small it will just mush up and fall apart).
Line a baking pan with parchment paper, spray with olive oil, and sprinkle salt and pepper on top of the olive oil spray.
Arrange your yuca fries on the pan, spray the yuca with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they start to turn golden brown.
Remove from oven and enjoy!
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