Cuban Yuca with Mojo

Cuban Yuca with Mojo

5/5 (1)
45 mins
Vadim Rachok
On this page:
Recipe Ingredients Video Nutrition
9 / 10
Health score
Gluten free dishLow FatNut Free DishPaleo DishVegetarian Dish

If you were born into a Cuban family, then yuca (pronounced yoo-kah) is likely to be one of your favorite side dishes. Yuca is a root vegetable that is often used as an alternative to potatoes, but it is much better in my opinion. It is also known as cassava, manioc or tapioca and is a staple in Latin American and Caribbean cuisine.

Ah, the nostalgic aroma of yuca con mojo! This recipe brings me back to family gatherings and the joy of Cuban Christmas feasts. The combination of tender yuca, the zing of citrus, and the richness of garlic and onions—it's a culinary celebration on its own. A classic that transcends generations, making every bite a taste of tradition.

During the Cuban Christmas festivities, it is customary to see yuca con mojo on the dinner table, served alongside other traditional dishes like Cuban roast pork, congri, Cuban buñuelos, and flan. This makes for the perfect Cuban feast! Personally, I always look forward to Christmas Eve when my aunt makes yuca con mojo, and then turns the leftovers into yuca fries for Christmas lunch. Absolutely delicious!

What is Yuca?

Yuca is a staple of the Caribbean diet and is very popular in the cuisines of Africa and Asia. It can be found fresh or frozen in Hispanic markets, international farmers’ markets, and large US groceries. However, you may have to hunt for it-it’s sometimes called cassava, manioc, or good old American tapioca, so look for it by those other names. In this recipe, you can use fresh or frozen yuca. Fresh yuca is sealed in wax and must be peeled; frozen yuca is already peeled and cut into pieces, but it must be thawed.

Cuban Yuca with Mojo how to cook

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  1. Authentic Cuban flavors. This Cuban yuca con mojo is bursting with flavor. Picture soft cassava mingling with sliced onions, garlic, and citrus. Yum!
  2. Easy, adaptable, scalable recipe. This recipe is simple and can be doubled using fresh or frozen yuca.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  1. Fresh or Frozen Yuca. When you are buying fresh yuca, ensure that it is firm without any soft spots. Fresh yuca typically has rough, brown skin. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of peeling yuca with a knife, then it is better to buy the frozen kind. The frozen kind comes already peeled and cut. You can easily find it in the Hispanic frozen section of the grocery store. After getting the yuca, you will need to peel it and cut it into chunks.
  2. Minced garlic. Our garlic and onion mojo sauce is defined by the star ingredient.
  3. Thinly sliced onions. It tastes so delicious when you sauté them with oil and garlic. Yum!
  4. Neutral oil. You can also use extra-virgin olive oil or bacon grease for this recipe if you have it on hand.
  5. Sour orange juice. If sour orange juice is unavailable, mix juice from 1 orange and 1/2 lemon to make your own.

How To Boil Yuca

  1. Boil it. Add yuca to a large pot of boiling salted water and reduce heat.
  2. Simmer. Cover and simmer yuca for 30 minutes until fork-tender. Avoid overcooking.
  3. Remove the fibrous core. Yuca typically contains a non-edible string in its core. This is what it looks like. Some frozen varieties may have this removed, but it’s not necessary to do so. After draining the yuca, pat them dry with paper towels and transfer them to a large bowl with a lid. If desired, you can remove the stringy, fibrous core from the center of each piece of yuca using a knife.

Cuban Yuca with Mojo Recipe

Garlic Mojo Sauce

This dipping sauce is tangy and citrusy, made with sour orange juice, olive oil, garlic, and spices. So simple and absolutely delicious!

  1. To begin preparing the recipe, take a large saucepan and heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add sliced onions and sauté for 5 min until translucent.
  3. Add minced garlic, black pepper, and salt (start with 1/4 tsp).
  4. Sauté the garlic until fragrant for 30 seconds, then whisk in the sour orange juice until fully combined. Set aside.
  5. Pour the hot garlic mojo sauce over the boiled yuca while it is still warm. This sentence is grammatically correct, and there are no spelling or punctuation errors. Make sure it is well-coated. Cover the bowl and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes so the yuca can absorb the mojo. Serve immediately.

Fresh Yuca VS Frozen Yuca

There are also many misconceptions that fresh manioc is always better than frozen manioc. This is because fresh cassava can be too dangerous for human consumption if the preparation is not done properly. In fact, yuca (cassava) contains cyanide, which is a poison that is toxic in high doses. Manioc is usually classified as sweet or bitter. The bitter variety is cassava which contains toxic levels of cyanide. However, this is mainly a problem outside the United States of America.

The USDA has strict regulations for vegetables sold in stores in the United States. Before it is sold in stores, the yuca (manioc) is inspected for quality and freshness. It is not recommended to grow your own manioc for consumption. To avoid health problems, foods in general should always be prepared properly.

Be sure to completely remove the outer brown layer and any purplish areas to properly prepare yucca. Then cooking the yucca slices is enough to eliminate any toxicity. In the Caribbean islands, it is traditional to soak the yucca in water for 24 hours prior to cooking. This also helps to reduce the level of cyanide.

Cuban Yuca with Mojo step by step recipe

How to Thaw Frozen Yuca?

If you have the time, you can thaw frozen Yuca in the refrigerator. To speed up the thawing process, you can place the bag of frozen Yuca in a bowl of cold water and allow it to thaw at room temperature.

Tips On How To Make the Best Yuca Con Mojo

Smop smart

If you’re using fresh yuca, make sure it’s firm without any soft spots. Its fresh should be white, without any dark spots, green veining or discoloration. Pay attention to any hard spots in the center. They’ll look like pieces of wood. Remove them and throw them away. 

Prepare ahead of time

Yuca may be peeled and refrigerated in water for up to four days or frozen for up to several months. 

Microwave if needed 

If the yuca cools down too much while you’re making the sauce, you can put it in the microwave for a very short time, up to 5 seconds or so. 

A great side dish that can literally complement any meal. For instance, when paired with an omelet or scrambled eggs with vegetables, it can make for a wonderful healthy breakfast. By adding vegetables, along with lean cheese or seafood, to Cuban Yuca with Mojo, you'll have a fantastic dinner. And of course, incorporating this side dish with a main course of meat or fish (don't forget about the vegetable component) will result in a wonderfully balanced, nutritionally sound lunch. This dish is suitable for various balanced dietary plans, such as the Mediterranean diet and the paleo diet. However, it's not suitable for the keto diet due to its relatively high carbohydrate content per serving.

Jenny Dobrynina
Jenny Dobrynina
Nutrition Editor
Health score:
9 / 10
Cuban Yuca with Mojo
5/5 (1)
Author:Vadim Rachok
Yuca, or cassava, is a Latin American root vegetable. This simple dish is the way my granny used to make it.
Cuban Yuca with Mojo
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
The ingredients you need
2 lbs yuca peeled and cut into chunks (or 1.5 lbs frozen yuca, thawed)
1 small white onion thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic minced (or more to taste if your heart desires!)
1/3 cup neutral oil (you can also use extra virgin olive oil or bacon grease)
1/4 cup sour orange juice store-bought or juice from 1 orange and 1/2 lime
Salt + pepper to taste
Let’s start !
1 To cook yuca, add it to a large pot of salted water. Bring the pot to a boil on high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 30 minutes until the yuca is fork-tender. Be careful not to overcook it, as this can cause the yuca to become too mushy.
2 In the meantime, take a large saucepan and heat the oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and sauté for 5 minutes until they become soft and translucent. Next, add the minced garlic, a pinch of black pepper, and salt to taste (you can start with 1/4 teaspoon and adjust it later according to your taste). Sauté the garlic for another 30 seconds until it becomes fragrant, then whisk in the sour orange juice until everything is combined. Once done, set the mixture aside.
3 Once the yuca is soft enough to be pierced by a fork, drain the water and dry the yuca pieces with paper towels. Then, transfer them to a big bowl that has a lid. If you wish, remove the stringy and fibrous center from each piece using a knife.
4 Pour the hot garlic mojo sauce over the yuca, ensuring that it is well coated. Cover the bowl and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes so the yuca can absorb the mojo. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Calories: 268
% Daily Value *
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g12%
Saturated Fat 1g7%
Sodium 204mg9%
Total Carbohydrate 43g16%
Dietary Fiber 2g8%
Total Sugars 3g 
Protein 6g 
Vitamin C 77mg385%
Calcium 151mg12%
Iron 5mg27%
Potassium 36mg1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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Watch How To Make It

For an extra depth of flavor, let the yuca marinate in the mojo sauce for an hour or two before serving. This allows the vibrant flavors to infuse into the yuca, elevating the dish to new heights. Don't rush the process; let time be the secret ingredient that transforms a delightful dish into an unforgettable experience. ¡Buen provecho!

Vadim Rachok
Vadim Rachok
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