Coconut Black Bean Stew with Carrots and Yucca Root (gluten free, vegan)

I had a bunch of canned black beans, some leftover coconut milk, a chunk of yucca root I needed to use up, and some wilting parsley. Sounded like soup to me. It turned out really really tasty, and the flavors have a tropical twist. This soup is warm and hearty, perfect for a chilly day. It is quick to make and froze up well. If you want to make it a complete meal, add rice while cooking. Or, leave it out (just as delicious!) and serve with salad, your favorite bread, or spoon over rice later.

The one unusual ingredient in this recipe is yucca root, also known as cassava, yuca, manioc, mogo, or mandioca. Most people are familiar with yucca root and they don't even know it - it is the source of tapioca. And while we don't do much with it in the U.S., yucca is the third largest source of carbohydrates for human food in the whole world. It is eaten all over the Americas, Caribbean, Asia, and Africa. It is starchy and tasty, full of complex carbohydrates, and can be prepared a million ways. It is tasty roasted, boiled, or fried, it can be mashed or eaten in cubes. It makes a delicious substitute for potatoes. This stuff fills you up; a little goes a long way! Although it is pretty high on the glycemic index, it is incredibly low in sugar, and is rich in Vitamin C. A great little Cuban restaurant in Minneapolis, Victor's 1959 Cafe, serves yuca frita (fried chunks of parboiled yucca) with their breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees. So good. So good. Again, so good. If you are in Minneapolis, go to Victor's, especially for breakfast. Important side note: if you are really sensitive to gluten cross-contamination, it is not a good choice for you, because the kitchen is very small. If you can handle it, I'd recommend checking out the menu and giving it a shot. They are very accomodating, have vegan black beans, hot rice, and lunch/dinner salads that go great with a side of yuca frita.

Find yucca at Caribbean, Latin, African, or Asian markets, or at nicer grocery stores and co-ops. I've seen it before at Whole Foods. Try it out, you might like it!


  • 3 15-oz cans cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4-6 inch chunk yuca root, peeled and diced
  • 1 c light coconut milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 t cumin powder
  • 1/2 t coriander powder
  • 1/2 t turmeric powder
  • 1/2 c fresh chopped parsley and/or cilantro
  • 6-8 c water or stock
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • optional: 1/2 c long-grain brown rice, rinsed and soaked
  • salt and pepper to taste
Warm coconut oil in heavy bottom soup kettle or dutch oven over low-medium heat. Add onions, garlic, cumin, coriander, and turmeric, stir to coat, and cover to let sweat. Saute until translucent, 4-5 minutes.  Add rice (if using), diced carrot and yuca, stir, and saute an additional 4-5 minutes.  Cover with water, and add bay leaf. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until rice, carrots and yuca are nearly soft.

Add rinsed black beans, coconut milk, fresh parsley, cilantro, and enough water/stock to cover all ingredients. Let simmer 10-15 minutes, or until flavors have mingled and everything is soft. Adjust seasonings, salt, and pepper to taste.  Remove bay leaf and serve warm.
Yield: 6 servings