Raíces Isleñas con Pesto de Cilantrillo y Aguacate (Island Roots with Cilantro Pesto & Avocado)

Malanga & yautía roots are starchy root vegetables similar to potatoes but with an even starchier texture and a nutty taste. They grow across Puerto Rico and are an important food source because of their resiliency. Grown underground, they can better withstand hurricanes and large storms. At OtraCosa, a small communal farm in Caguas, Puerto Rico, this dish is served with homemade pique, a local hot sauce made with pineapple skin and caballero peppers. A simple watercress salad makes an ideal accompaniment. Read more about OtraCosa.

Raíces Isleñas con Pesto de Cilantrillo y Aguacate (Island Roots with Cilantro Pesto & Avocado)
Photo: Jenny Huang
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
30 mins


  • 1 ½ pounds malanga or taro, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

  • 1 pound yautía or yucca, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

  • 2 cups fresh cilantro with tender stems

  • 2 cups fresh culantro (or more cilantro; see Tip) with tender stems

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed and peeled

  • ¾ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

  • ½ ripe avocado, sliced


  1. Place malanga (or taro) and yautía (or yucca) in a large pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a lively simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain.

  2. Meanwhile, combine cilantro, culantro (or more cilantro), oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth.

  3. Serve the vegetables with the pesto, avocado and hot sauce, if desired.


Culantro (recao) is a leafy green herb with an intense concentrated flavor similar to that of cilantro. It is a key ingredient in sofrito, a blend of aromatics that forms the base of many dishes in Puerto Rican cuisine.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

290 Calories
13g Fat
42g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 290
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 42g 15%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 2g 4%
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Vitamin A 622IU 12%
Sodium 239mg 10%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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