Food #118: The Malanga Blanca

malanga blancaWorth trying for the name alone, I think. Also one of the best new foods I’ve tried: this one I highly recommend. The malanga blanca is a potato-like (very potato-like) root vegetable with white innards and scaly brown skin. It’s creamier, richer and nuttier than a potato though… it’s actually possibly better than a potato?

The malanga blanca also has more protein than a potato, more fiber, similar vitamins and more minerals. Plus it turns out this really cool vegetable has been cultivated for ages in South America and is the root of elephant ear plants! We cooked a big one up in the pressure cooker with our most recent (delicious) pot roast and then mashed the leftovers today with olive oil and coconut milk, and I’m not sure that the results weren’t some of the best mashed potatoes I’ve ever had.

Apart from trying to add new and  interesting things to my list of 200 paleo foods, a reason to try the malanga blanca is that it isn’t a nightshade like potatoes are. The AIP recommends cutting out nightshades at least at first, as a lot of people have an inflammatory response to them. Apart from belladonna I had no idea what plants were in the nightshade family: apparently it consists of potatoes, eggplants, peppers, chilis, tomatoes, and goji berries. I love the randomness of this family. I doubt I’m sensitive to nightshades but it’s part of the fun of the AIP project to follow all the guidelines (plus I want to try everything that might help), and it means experimenting with cool new roots like the malanga blanca.

Ours just came from Publix so they seem to be readily available. The only downside I can see to it is that it doesn’t cook up in a terribly photogenic manner, so instead of our mashed malanga blanca here is a picture of my cat, who likes to sit with its tail flopped over so far on its back it looks like it’s a cat with a handle.

Ginny with a handle

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