Ingredient Spotlight - Cassava & Tapioca
Updated: Apr 6
We’re back for another ingredient spotlight this week!
We get so many questions about our flours, since we don’t use the typical gluten-free flour blends with rice, or potato, or oat flour. At our bakery, we use varying ratios of almond flour, coconut flour, cassava flour, and tapioca flour to get different textures for our baked goods. But what exactly is cassava flour and tapioca flour? And where does it come from?
Tapioca and cassava come from the same plant - a plant called manioc or yuca (not to be confused with yucca, a totally different plant) that is native to South America where the root is eaten much like a potato in North America.
It’s a drought-hardy plant that contains many nutrients, like vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and resistant starch to feed your beneficial gut bacteria, reduce inflammation, and promote digestive health.
While the root can be prepared and eaten much like a potato, a flour can also be made by grinding the root into a powder. This gives us cassava flour, which works great as a gluten-free, nut-free, low-inflammatory flour in our cassava-coconut tortillas, and our n’oatmeal raisin cookies. You'll find it in tonnes of Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) recipes, for those trying to heal inflammatory or digestive conditions.
Tapioca is made from the same root, after peeling, grating, soaking and drying. It gives tapioca a lighter texture and is used to add fluffiness to recipes, in combination with denser almond flour.
It is also great for thickening sauces - you can use it as a grain-free substitute for cornstarch for thickening sauces, puddings and gravies. We use it to thicken some of our fillings, our vegan lemon curd, as well as our homemade fruit fillings. Just add 2 tbsp of tapioca for each tbsp of cornstarch.
Pretty cool huh? Same plant - 2 flours, and lots of different uses (You can even find cassava chips now - a replacement for potato chips).