Bolivia celebrates its Independence Day on August 6th, commemorating the establishment of the Bolivian Republic in 1825. In honor of this Día de la Patria, I am cooking a Bolivian staple: yuca.
Also called casava, this dense white root plant with a bark-like covering is native to South America and has been a part of the Bolivian diet for thousands of years. For good reason: yuca is high in nutritional value, providing important vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium and vitamin C, as well as carbohydrates which help your body make energy (making it one of my favorite pre-workout foods).
An amiga boliviana recommended her favorite yuca dish: masaco de yuca, mashed yuca with pork. Being vegetarian doesn't mean missing out on popular dishes, you just need to adapt them. I made the receta vegan for Meatless Monday by skipping the carne while adding sabor with herbs and garlic. Reminiscent of mashed potatoes, this dish is filling and delicioso.
Garlic Mashed Yucca Recipe
- 3-4 yuca
- 7-8 cloves of garlic
- 1 handful of parsley
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Clean yuca by lightly scrubbing it and peel with a knife. Don't let the tough exterior intimidate you, the skin is actually quite easy to remove! Cut peeled yuca into large pieces (you will need to remove the veins from each piece once they soften).
- Put yuca pieces in a saucepan, sprinkle with salt, and add water to cover. Bring water to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- Drain yuca and let it cool. (Rinsing with cold water can speed up the process). With your fingers, remove the inner vein from the yuca.
- Return yuca to the saucepan and add olive oil, vinegar, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper. (For a creamier option, use butter instead of oil and replace vinegar with milk.) Mash with a potato masher or the bottom of a glass until smooth. ¡Buen provecho!
Garlic, parsley, and vinegar give this plato powerful taste.
Love the texture? Pair mashed yuca with other flavors as well. Bolivian sonsa combines mashed yuca with cheese and I plan on making my next batch with rosemary and sauteed onions.
Looking for more ways to celebrate Bolivia in the cocina? Try this ají de lentejas lentil stew recipe or experiment with another Andean staple ingredient quinoa, which I write about in Meatless Monday: Summer Quinoa and Roasted Pepper Salad Recipe.
Nutritious staples are key to a healthy diet. Celebrate Bolivia and your health with sabroso good-for-you ingredients like yuca.
¿Need Meatless Monday inspiration? Click here to read more of my recipes.
A teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.
Edited by: Viviana Hurtado, Ph.D.
What are your favorite Bolivian recipes?