Nicaraguan Yuca and Cabbage Salad with Pork Cracklings (Vigoron)

Serves     8


3 pounds yuca, about, to yield 2 pounds prepared, OR 2 pounds frozen prepared yuca, see this link on how to prepare yuca–
2 tsp. salt
4 cups finely shredded green cabbage (about ½ small head)
1 to 1 ½ cups diced tomatoes (about 8 ounces)
1 medium white onion (about 8 ounces), cut in half lengthwise and sliced thinly
1 medium carrot, cut into julienne strips, or shaved with a carrot peeler
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
½ bunch of cilantro, bottom stems removed, tender stems and leaves slivered
4 tbsp. lime juice (about 1-2 limes)
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt (or 1 tsp. regular table salt)
cabbage leaves for garnish
1 bag chicharrones (pork rinds) for garnish
avocado for garnish


After you’ve peeled the yuca, cut the root into 4-inch pieces, then cut the pieces in half lengthwise. The interior of the yuca should look white throughout, without any brown or gray streaks or veining. Drop pieces into a bowl of cold water until you are ready to proceed. (This can be done as much as one day ahead of time and stored in the fridge.)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil to cook the yuca. Add the salt to the water and add the yuca. After 30 minutes, check to see if it is done. You may have to remove some chunks as they are done and leave others in longer, this could take up to 45 minutes. When done, the yuca should pierce easily with a knife, and it should look opaque, with no firm white areas left. I found that on some pieces, although they were cooked on the inside, the outside where I had peeled them was still firm; I shaved off the firm exterior until I got to the tender interior.

After you’ve pulled the yuca from the water, place the pieces on a platter. You will see a spindly vein running through the center. Remove this hard vein and discard. Cut any larger chunks of yuca into smaller pieces, about 2 inches. (The cooked yuca can be stored for a day or two in the fridge before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.)

In the meantime, while the yuca is cooking, prepare the slaw. Combine the cabbage, tomatoes, onion, carrot, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice and 1 ½ tsp. salt in a bowl.

To serve, place the yuca (it can be warm or cold) on a serving platter and top with the cabbage slaw and pork rinds.

Recipe and photo credit: Linda McElroy


Notes and Instructions

Vigoron is a specialty of Granada. The story goes that when the city was hosting a group of athletes who were training for a baseball game an astute vendor touted the salad as vigoron, or “invigorating.” The salad caught on and the name stuck. Nowadays you will encounter street vendors serving up Vigorón in the plaza. It is a popular and filling Nicaraguan fast-food.