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Vegetable of the Week #1: Yuca

I am very excited to start my posts on VEGETABLES! Meal planning can be stressful so I will offer here one vegetable each week to incorporate easily into your week's meals.

Vegetables are generally low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. It is important to eat them daily. I realize that serving vegetables to kids is something that is, well, at times difficult. I inquire as to my patient's vegetable intake at every check-up or relevant visit and I usually hear: "We try", "She used to eat vegetables but now she doesn't like them", or "He's always been picky when it comes to vegetables". In these Vegetable of the Week posts, I aim to provide ways to cook them that are appealing to everyone in the family. Let's keep those vegetables out of the trash can!

Yuca fries, or "yuckies" as my kids lovingly call them, are my family's current food obsession. They are SO much better than regular french fries - you will be hooked after the first crunchy bite!

Yuca root is a good source of zinc, vitamin C, magnesium, the anti-inflammatories resveratrol and saponins, and many other vitamins and minerals.

When picking yuca at the store, pick one that feels firm with no soft spots. I usually ask store personnel to cut off the end to make sure there is no browning on the inside prior to buying; it should be a nice creamy white color.

The yuca root looks like this:

To peel it you will need a very sharp knife. You will also need to discard the brownish fibrous core.

Before frying or baking the yuca you will need to boil it until soft.

This is what the yuca will look like after boiling.

I prefer the air fryer for a perfect crisp fry; they can also be baked.

Enjoy!! (Cocktail sauce in the picture is because I served shrimp with the yuca :) They go with pretty much anything!)

Yuca fries

Serves: 4 as a side dish

Ingredients: 2 yuca root, sea salt, avocado oil or olive oil

Method: Preheat oven to 425F first if using the oven.

1) Peel yuca and slice into desired fry shapes, discarding the fibrous core.

2) Boil yuca for 25 minutes; drain.

3) Dry yuca with paper towels. Preheat air fryer (I use the Cosori) while you are doing this.

4) Sprinkle yuca with sea salt.

5) Spray or drizzle with oil.

6) Air fry at 380 for 15 minutes, shaking half way through. Alternatively, bake for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through.

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