Did you know that yuca (also known as cassava) is one of the deadliest foods on the planet? No? Me neither. At least not till I went to a work function where fancy and exotic hors d'oeuvres were passed around. Among some sophisticated appetizers, I was offered sea bass on a bed of a fried potato (so I thought). It was later explained to me that the 'potato', the fish was served on, was yuca - a root vegetable that is extremely poisonous if eaten uncooked. Needless to say, I declined the next round of yuca apps. The fish was to die for, but the yuca cake...no, thank you!

So, this experience brought a lot of questions. In particular, what is yuca? How do you cook it and don't die? What does it go well with? So, here it is,  yuca 101!


Before we go any further, what is yucca?  Yuca (or cassava) is a root vegetable that is very similar to the texture of a potato. It is dense, very starchy, and full of carbs, fiber and vitamin C.

Because it grows in the regions with subtropical climates, it is more popular in South America, Mexico and some parts of US. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the united Nations, cassava is a staple food in most developing countries, providing a basic diet for over 500,000 people. Because it is so drought-tolerant, it's became a popular crop to harvest in the marginal countries that lack soil.  It's interesting to note that when cassava is dried into a powdery substance, it becomes tapioca, a boba-to-be for your trendy milk teas. Yass!


As mentioned earlier, if not cooked properly, yuca is poisonous and dangerous for consumption. However, if prepared the right way, yuca offers a lot of health benefits. 

Yuca is high in Vitamin C, increasing the production of white blood cells that fight viruses and infections, protecting your immune system and overall health.

Because it is so carb-heavy, it boosts the health in people with diabetes, helping in regulating the level of blood sugar.

Yuca is also known for its anti-inflammatory and pain soothing qualities. Its extracts are widely used in various shampoos, soaps and lotions to treat a number of skin conditions, like dandruff, skin diseases and infections, balding, soars and cuts. 


Yuca is also high in fiber. The benefits of high fiber intake constitute our 'daily routine' (if you know what I mean) shall not be mentioned here. 


Because the consistency of yuca is very similar to a white potato, it can be used it a variety of similar savory as well as sweet dishes. The most common dishes that are made with cassava are yuca fries, baked chips, yuca mashed and cassava cakes. Dishes with yuca are not as uncommon nowadays and it can be found on menus in a number of Latin American restaurants in your local area.

If you're feeling extra adventurous, there are a lot of fun yuca recipes you can experiment with. Indeed, yuca is not for everyone but if you got the taste for it, beware, you might unintentionally ditch cooking with plain potatoes for a while.

Fun yuca recipes to try:

Caribbean Cassava (Yuca) Fries from The Spruce

Baked Crispy Cassava Fries from Immaculate Bites

Bacon Stuffed Yuca Bites from Three Dishes. One Dinner

Yucca Empanadas from Food and Wine

Yuca-Coconut Cake (Enyucado) from My Recipes

Sweet Cassava Pie from Caribbean Pot

Save a potato, cook with yuca!