Yuca with Red Onions and Lime
Learn how to cook yuca so you an enjoy the satisfying starchiness of potato salad enhanced with aromatic onions, garlic, and a bit of olive oil. This side dish sticks to your ribs. It’s especially good for diabetics because it digests slowly. Vegan and gluten-free.
Servings Prep Time
8people 40minutes
Servings Prep Time
8people 40minutes
  1. Rinse yuca well. If the waxy coating makes it hard to handle, scrub and rinse under warm water to remove most of the wax. Use your largest, sharpest knife to cut yucas into sections 2- to 3-inches long. On each section, make one slice through the tough “bark” and pinkish inner skin. Use paring knife to lift up and peel off the skin layers to reveal snowy white flesh underneath. Once you get it started, the skin layers slip away with surprising ease. Do not eat it raw. Cooking makes the low levels of cyanogenic glucosides safe.
  2. Fill a medium pot half full of water, add 1 teaspoon salt and bring water to a boil over high heat. While the water comes to a boil, trim away and compost any yuca parts that have black or grey streaks. Those bits will bring a bad taste to the whole dish. Cut white sections into two half-rounds for quicker cooking and then add to boiling water.
  3. Boil yuca for about 20 minutes or until fork tender. It may not get done all at the same time. Use a slotted spoon to lift out any softer pieces so they don’t overcook.
  4. Mince garlic and set aside. Cut onion into quarters from tip to roots, then slice across into thin strips. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium low-heat. Add onion and cook until very tender and starting to turn golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.
  5. Drain pot when is yuca is tender. Peel away the tough fiber that runs through the center of the yuca from tip to tail like a bit of pale twine. At this point, you could mash the yucca, but I prefer the more of a potato-salad look. To get that, break or cut into yuca into wedges and then cut into slices about 1/2-inch thick.
  6. Put cooked yuca in a serving bowl and toss with lime sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve warm or chilled. Keeps refrigerated for 5 days.
Recipe Notes

Tips: How to Buy a Yuca or Cassava

  • Buy firm yuca without any soft spots. Use it within a few days.
  • Don’t worry about the waxy coating. That helps keep it fresh. You won’t eat the skin.
  • Buy a little extra unless your grocery stores sells it cut and wrapped so you can choose only the yucas with white flesh. You can’t tell if a yuca is streaked inside until you cut into it.
  • Don’t eat it raw. Yes, I’m repeating myself, but you should know that yucas sold in the US have low levels of cyanogenic glucosides that cooking neutralizes.

For More on Unusual Vegetables

I learned about yuca and got the inspiration for this recipe from the magnificent book Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini: the Essential Reference by Elizabeth Schneider. It’s expensive but indeed essential, with 500 recipes, 275 photographs, and intriguing tales of vegetables familiar and obscure. I splurged on a copy for myself and consider it a good investment. This book would make a splendid present for a cook or gardener.