Mashed yuca root (also known as cassava root) is a wonderful creamy alternative to potatoes. Often used in Whole30, paleo and AIP diets, it’s great for when you’re simply sick of cauliflower or sweet potato mashes and want something different. With its slightly sweet flavor and rich texture, you will love this mashed yuca recipe!
We were never a big mashed potato family growing up but I’ve since made up for the lack of creamy comfort mashed side dishes in adulthood.
From mashed sweet potatoes to celery root puree or, a simple brown butter mashed cauliflower dish, we enjoy this kind of recipe frequently, especially in the colder months when they become the perfect base for a cozy stew.
And now, we’ve got another to add to the repertoire with this creamy and decadent garlic mashed yuca recipe.
I’ve dabbled with yuca before in the form of cassava flour (mainly these cassava flour pancakes which are a Sunday breakfast staple).
Cassava root and yuca root are one in the same just two different words for the same tuber.
But, I’d never actually purchased the vegetable in its whole form and done anything with it.
Well, that changed recently because surprisingly yuca root is quite easy to source, most grocery stores carry it and at mine, it sits right next to jicama which I buy weekly for either easy hummus dipping or to make these jicama fries.
So, let’s explore how easy this mashed yuca is to make and why it’s quickly become my newest mashed obsession.
WHAT IS YUCA?
As I said above, yuca and cassava are the same thing. It’s a root vegetable similar in nature to potatoes but quite a bit more fibrous.
Tapioca (aka tapioca starch) is derived from the cassava or yuca root.
But in the case of tapioca, only the starch is extracted whereas if you eat yuca or cassava in its whole form, the rest of the macronutrients are still intact.
Yuca is popular in South American and Caribbean cuisines often boiled, roasted or fried.
Tastewise, yuca root is slightly sweet and buttery. And best yet, it becomes incredibly creamy when mashed.
YUCA VS. YUCCA
People often confuse the two terms using them synonymously when in fact yuca root is different than yucca.
Yucca is not a root vegetable like yuca and rather a flowering plant.
It’s also pronounced “yucka” vs. “yoo-ka”.
The more you know…
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE CREAMY MASHED YUCA
- one medium or large yuca root
- garlic cloves
- broth (or water though broth will make the dish richer)
- ghee (or substitute a high quality pasture-raised butter)
What I love about making mashed yuca is that unlike mashed white potatoes, there’s really no need for added creams, milk or excessive amounts of butter.
The yuca itself becomes incredibly creamy without much else.
HOW TO MAKE THIS GARLIC MASHED YUCA RECIPE
PREPPING THE YUCA
To start, we need to prep the yuca by slicing off the ends and chopping into large pieces.
With a sharp knife, cut off the outer dark brown skin. It’s oftentimes waxed and quite thick.
As the yuca root is quite hard, use similar caution with this as you would cutting a winter squash. We don’t want any lost digits in the process!
Once you’re left with just the creamy white flesh of the yuca, chop into about 1″ pieces.
BOIL THE YUCA
Place the prepped chunks of yuca root into a large pot along with two or three large pieces of smashed garlic. Alternatively, roast the garlic in the air fryer while the yuca boils for a more subtle garlic flavor to this mash.
Cover the pot with the broth (or water) so that the liquid sits about 1″ over the yuca and season with a good pinch of sea salt.
Bring the pot to a boil then reduce to a lively simmer and cover the pot.
Simmer for about 25 minutes until the yuca is fork tender.
Drain the yuca and garlic cloves in a colander.
Transfer back to the pot or another large bowl.
MASH THE YUCA
Using a handheld mixer, beat the boiled yuca and garlic cloves with the ghee until creamy or desired consistency.
I actually prefer to leave a few larger chunks of the yuca root intact for some texture in the mash.
If a completely smooth consistency is desired, slowly pour in some of the extra reserved broth while using the mixer.
Season the mashed yuca with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve with a spoonful more ghee.
Garnishing with micro-greens is optional but a pretty addition!
REASONS TO LOVE MASHED YUCA ROOT
- It’s affordable – With food prices on the rise every direction you look lately, root vegetables like yuca are one of the most economical choices out there. Especially when compared to cauliflower or other paleo-compliant mashed vegetables, cassava/yuca is incredibly wallet-friendly. Yuca often costs less than $1/pound.
- Widely available – You won’t have to travel to any out of the way grocery stores to procure yuca root. Whether you’re in your local chain, Whole Foods or even a specialty latin market, yuca is typically in stock.
- Yuca is nutritious! – This starchy vegetable is not only filling and incredibly satisfying but it’s got a good dose of vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium and magnesium too! Here’s some more nutrition facts on yuca.
- It’s delicious taste and texture – Yuca is by far the best substitute for mashed potatoes I’ve come across. Sure, the other ones you find on AIP and Whole30 diets work, but mashed cassava like this has a creaminess that’s unprecedented among those alternatives. Not to mention, it’s ever so slightly sweet undertone really seals the deal.
CAN I USE A STAND MIXER OR POTATO MASHER?
If you’re used to making mashed potatoes with either a stand mixer or by hand with a potato masher, you can definitely use either of those two methods for this mashed yuca as well.
The stand-mixer works just as well as a handheld mixer, I just personally prefer the easier cleanup of a handheld one.
If using a potato masher and mashing by hand, know it will take some substantial elbow grease and you’ll likely still end up with a few chunkier pieces in the final mash. If you’re good with that, give it a go!
HOW TO SERVE MASHED YUCA
Use this yuca mash any way you’d typically use mashed potatoes.
Whether that’s alongside side a steak (like this easy air fryer skirt steak) or as the base for a cozy stew (it’s so good paired with this Instant Pot beef and mushroom stew), you’re going to love this creamy garlic mashed yuca.
It’d be great as part of a Sunday dinner with roasted chicken or some air fryer Cornish hens but just as good next to an easy weeknight meal of air fryer frozen chicken breasts and a simple vegetable.
A few weeks back I made my Instant Pot venison roast omitting the potatoes in the recipe and instead serving it with mashed yuca. Pretty sure that’s a new favorite now!
Any way you choose to serve this side dish, you’re going to love it.
The garlic and ghee bring just enough flavor and decadence without being excessive in either direction and the texture is simply heavenly!
MORE SIDE DISHES LIKE THIS TO TRY:
Garlic Mashed Yuca
- 1.5-2 pounds yuca root cassava root, rinsed, peeled and chopped
- 4-5 cups broth or water chicken broth, bone broth, vegetable broth, etc., plus up to 1 cup more set aside for mashing
- 3 large cloves garlic smashed
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt plus more for taste
- 1-2 tablespoons ghee or butter, plus more for serving
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- microgreens for garnish
- Chop yuca root into chunks and carefully slice off the thick outer skin leaving just the creamy white flesh. Chop further into 1" pieces.
- Place yuca in a large pot and cover with the broth or water so that there's about 1" of liquid on top of the yuca. Add the smashed garlic cloves and salt to the pot.
- Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until the yuca pieces are fork tender, about 25 minutes.
- Drain the yuca and garlic cloves and place back in the pot or transfer to another large bowl. Alternatively, transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Add the ghee and pepper to the yuca and beat using a handheld mixer (or the stand mixer) until mostly creamy and fluffy. Pour in extra reserved broth a little at a time as needed until a super creamy texture is reached. (*see note)
- Add more salt to taste if necessary then transfer to a serving bowl. Make a small indent with the back of a spoon in the middle of the mashed yuca and place a dollop of ghee or butter in the center. Garnish with microgreens and serve immediately.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.