Vaca Atolada Recipe: A Delicious Brazilian Dish to Try in 2024


If you’re a food enthusiast or someone who loves exploring new and exciting flavors, then you’re in for a treat. In this article, we’ll delve into the wonderful world of Brazilian cuisine and discover the mouthwatering recipe for Vaca Atolada. Whether you’re planning a dinner party or simply want to indulge in a flavorsome meal at home, this traditional dish is sure to impress. So let’s put on our aprons and get cooking!

What is Vaca Atolada?

Vaca Atolada, which translates to “stuck cow” in English, is a hearty and comforting Brazilian dish that originated in the state of Goiás. It is a perfect blend of flavors, combining tender beef ribs with cassava, a starchy root vegetable commonly found in South America. This dish is often enjoyed during festive occasions, family gatherings, or as a nourishing meal on a cold day.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

Before we jump into the cooking process, let’s gather all the ingredients required to make Vaca Atolada:

  • 2 pounds beef ribs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 2 pounds cassava, peeled and chopped into chunks
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped parsley for garnish

The Cooking Process: Step by Step

Now that we have our ingredients ready, let’s dive into the cooking process:

Step 1: Prepare the Beef Ribs

Begin by seasoning the beef ribs with salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika. Massage the spices into the meat, ensuring it is coated evenly. Set aside for about 15 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse.

Step 2: Sear the Beef Ribs

In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Sear the beef ribs on all sides until they develop a golden brown crust. This will enhance the flavors and help the meat retain its juices.

Step 3: Saute the Aromatics

Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the pot with the beef ribs. Saute until the onion turns translucent and the garlic becomes fragrant. This will create a flavorful base for our dish.

Step 4: Add the Tomatoes and Bell Peppers

Toss in the diced tomatoes and sliced bell peppers. Stir everything together and let the vegetables cook for a few minutes until they start to soften.

Step 5: Introduce the Cassava

Add the chopped cassava and pour in the beef broth. The cassava should be completely submerged in the liquid. If needed, add more broth or water. Drop in the bay leaf for an extra burst of flavor.

Step 6: Simmer to Perfection

Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the Vaca Atolada simmer gently for about 2 hours or until the beef is tender and the cassava is cooked through. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and add more liquid if necessary.

Step 7: Serve and Enjoy

Once the dish is ready, remove the bay leaf and garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Vaca Atolada is traditionally served with white rice, but you can also pair it with a crusty bread or enjoy it as a standalone meal. Serve hot and savor the amazing flavors!

FAQs About Vaca Atolada

  1. Can I use a different type of meat instead of beef ribs?

    Absolutely! While beef ribs are commonly used in Vaca Atolada, you can experiment with different cuts of meat such as beef chuck or even chicken for a unique twist.

  2. Is cassava the same as yuca?

    Yes, cassava is also known as yuca. It is a root vegetable with a starchy texture, and it adds a delightful taste to this dish.

  3. Can I make Vaca Atolada vegetarian-friendly?

    Of course! You can omit the beef ribs and substitute them with mushrooms or tofu to create a vegetarian version of Vaca Atolada. The flavors will still be rich and satisfying.

  4. What other dishes can I serve with Vaca Atolada?

    Vaca Atolada pairs well with a variety of side dishes such as a fresh green salad, Brazilian cheese bread (pão de queijo), or a traditional black bean stew (feijoada).


Vaca Atolada is a delightful Brazilian dish that combines tender beef ribs with cassava, resulting in a flavorful and comforting meal. With its rich taste and hearty ingredients, it is no wonder this dish is cherished by many. So in 2024, why not transport yourself to Brazil and embark on a culinary adventure in your own kitchen? By following this easy recipe, you’ll soon be savoring the mouthwatering flavors of Vaca Atolada. Enjoy!

Key Takeaways:

  • Originating from Goiás, Brazil, Vaca Atolada is a delicious and comforting dish.
  • This traditional recipe combines beef ribs with cassava for a delightful flavor.
  • Sear the beef ribs and saute aromatics before adding tomatoes, bell peppers, and cassava.
  • Simmer the dish for a couple of hours until the beef is tender and the cassava is cooked through.
  • Vaca Atolada is often served with rice or enjoyed as a standalone meal.


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