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Recipe question

C. Logan

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Can someone please verify if this is a Whole30 acceptable recipe? 
The ingredients look okay but the yucca "dough" makes me question..
Thanks very much!




  • 3 cups coarsely chopped yuca, peeled (chunks can be larger)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound grass fed ground beef
  • 1/2 cup carrots finely diced
  • 1/2 cup onion finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic sea salt blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin (omit for aip)
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (omit for aip)
  • 1/4 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Extra avocado oil for frying
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  1. Boil the yuca in a pot of water for 25 minutes or until fork tender
  2. Preheat oven to 375
  3. While yuca is cooking, saute carrots and onion in a drizzle of avocado oil
  4. Once browned add ground beef and seasonings (garlic sea salt, cumin, chili powder, parsley and onion powder) and cook until no longer pink
  5. Remove meat mixture from heat and set aside
  6. Once yuca is fork tender, drain and gently transfer cooked yucca to blender (I use a Vitamix)
  7. Pour in 2 tablespoons avocado oil into blender with yuca and blend on high or until well combined and smooth
  8. Remove “dough” from blender
  9. Allow to COOL and pull out any fibrous pieces that may have been left behind (Note: if dough is sticky you may refrigerate and also grease your hands well to help work it. Try not to overcook as this will break it down further as well)
  10. Now make a “loaf” out of the dough and pull off a small handful (this will divide 12 times to make 12 empanadas)
  11. The yuca should feel dough like and allow you to work it easily with your hands. If it is sticky you can start adding in the coconut flour, one tablespoon at a time.
  12. Take 1 small handful, roll it into a ball then flatten it into a “pancake” 3-4 inches in diameter, do not make it too thin
  13. Take a spoonful of the meat mixture and place it in the center of your dough (about a tablespoon)
  14. Next fold your empanada in half and “seal” edges by pressing with a fork gently; your empanada should look like a half moon now
  15. Repeat until all 12 empanadas are made
  16. Bake for 10 minutes on a parchment lined cookie sheet or until dough is cooked and more stable
  17. Heat additional oil for frying over medium/high heat
  18. Remove baked empanadas from oven and fry on both sides or until browned
  19. Place on paper towels to absorb excess oil
  20. Serve hot – either alone or with my 5 minute guacamole


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1) Are empanadas something you've eaten much in the past?  (Would you be approximating a food you're accustomed to having the "normal" version of, or would you be trying a new food you haven't really eaten before?)


2) Could you use additional veggies besides just the yucca? Making dough out of a starchy tuber to take the place of grain-based dough does not fly for a Whole30.  Using actual vegetables to go along with a protein is usually acceptable even if it's kinda similar-ish to another food (Like a portabella "bun" or spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and meatballs.)  As far as I can tell, there's more wiggle room so far as what's SWYPO when you're fitting the meal template well.  Combining veggies, meat, and fat in a way that goes with the template is less likely to be SWYPO for the same degree of similarity to another food than something with compliant ingredients that has the primary purpose of replacing an old food rather than being a meal. 


The major points about SWYPO seem to be that paleo junk food is still junk food even if it's not quite as bad ("Paleo-ified junk food is still junk food"), that you need to be focusing on what you can eat rather than what you can't ("Do you really want to spend the entirety of your Whole30 obsessed with all the stuff you can’t have, and eating the same foods you’ve been eating all along?"), and that you should be changing your habits ("if you’re coming off a wicked addiction to KFC, perhaps Jules & Charles’ creation isn’t the best choice for you.")


As it is, I think that recipe is definitely SWYPO, but you might be able to use it as a starting place for a good recipe.  I'm imagining using shredded or diced vegetables to make patties or a hash, and then topping that with the meat and eating it with a fork.  That wouldn't end up resembling empanadas much, but it might really be better.  Or, for that matter, you could take the resulting hash and the meat, and wrap both up in big lettuce or cabbage leaves, if you wanted something you could pick up. 

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