Spicy BBQ Yuca Root Ribs

Recipe by Katie Mae

Makes 2–4 servings | Ready in 45 minutes | Stores 3 days in fridge

INGREDIENTS

½ cup water
4 Medjool dates, pitted
1 cup tomato sauce
3oz tomato paste
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons stoneground mustard
½ tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic granules
½ teaspoon onion granules
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
1 large yuca root (about 8–10 inches)

ACTION STEPS

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F, or 400°F with the convection setting. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add all of the ingredients, except for the yuca root, to a blender. Blend into smooth, creamy BBQ sauce.
  3. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the course, waxy skin of the yuca root. If you have a fairly long yuca root, slice it in half cross-sectionally and then slice each half down the middle lengthwise. Placing the flat surface on the cutting board, slice each of those sections into strips, about ¼–½ inch thick.
  4. Move the sliced yuca “ribs” to a wide, shallow bowl. Pour the BBQ sauce over the yuca and toss so all of the ribs are coated.
  5. Lay each of the yuca ribs on the prepared baking sheet. It’s best if the strips are lightly coated, so use your fingers to remove extra sauce as you transfer them to the pan. Set the pan aside to sauce the ribs a second time.
  6. Roast the yuca ribs for 15 to 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes. Take them out when they’re just beginning to blacken on the edges.
  7. Now, move the roasted yuca back to the pan with sauce. Lightly coat them once more (I usually make this a light coating, but if you like saucy ribs add more), and return them to the baking sheet.
  8. Roast the yuca once more for about 5 minutes, or until they are darkened to your liking.
  9. Serve promptly and enjoy your saucy yuca ribs!

CHEF’S NOTES

The flesh of the yuca root is white. Some subtle discoloring is normal, but if the ends or any part has coloring that doesn’t look right or feels a little soft, then just slice that part off. The rest of the yuca is still good to use.

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THE STORY

I know what you’re thinking… it probably sounds something like:

Plant-based barbeque RIBS?!?!

WHAT?!

Wait… HOW? SERIOUSLY?

Ok, so this recipe is vegan and thus, there’s no bone and flesh-ridden ribs here.

BUT they are saucy and chewy, and they can get pretty messy, so I thought the name was fitting! 🙂

Plus, some people use the term rib to describe a single stalk of celery… I know it’s not the same situation, but why not use it here, too?

Ok now, you’re probably also wondering about the yuca root.

Yuca root, also known as cassava, is a starchy tuber not incredibly different than a potato. It’s native to South America and enjoyed in large quantities throughout Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and South Asia.

The texture is a little chewier than a potato, and the taste is a little earthier. It’s unique and quite enjoyable. Yuca root can be steamed, mashed, roasted, or grilled.

Want to try it out, but not sure where to start? These BBQ Yuca Root Ribs are a great recipe to get test it out.

If you want to experience the pure yuca root without the BBQ flavor, then just leave a couple of the ribs sauce-free and roast them alongside the sauced yuca.

Now that you’re intrigued and ready to try something new, where in the world do you find yuca root?

If you have a natural or health food store in your area, start there. They’ll be more likely to have it than a conventional grocery store. The most likely place to find this starchy veg is a Mexican or Asian market. You’ll likely find yuca root in the produce department, stocked like potatoes are in most groceries stores.

Whether you try out these BBQ Yuca Root Ribs, or the yuca on its own, let us know what you think.

How did you prep it? Would you do it any differently next time?

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