Gluten free baking is a unique adventure. When we first go gluten free, we quickly discover that there are a wide range of different gluten free flours to use when cooking and baking. One of the most interesting types of gluten free flours to use is cassava flour. If you’ve never heard of, or used, cassava flour before, then we hope this article will open your mind to this incredibly useful type of gluten free flour.
What is cassava flour?
First things first – you may be wondering: “What exactly IS cassava flour?” Or even: “What is cassava?” Excellent questions my friend! The cassava is a starchy root vegetable that originally grew in South America. In fact, the cassava is a very important food source to millions of people in those regions. Cassava can be cooked and served as a root vegetable, much as how a potato or sweet potato can be.
Cassava flour takes those cassava plants and is cooked and ground down into a fine flour that can be used in cooking and baking. The cassava plant itself is a nutty flavoured plant, so the flour has a delicious and mild nutty flavor – quite delicious, in fact!
Is cassava flour gluten free?
Yes! As cassava flour is made by grinding down cassavas (or yuca root), this means the flour that is made is entirely gluten free. This is excellent news for anyone who is Celiac or who has a gluten allergy or intolerance. Cassava flour is safe for you to eat! (Always check the package of your cassava flour, however. In some cases the flour might not be labelled as gluten free, especially when it has been produced in facilities that produce food products that DO contain gluten. Celiacs always need to be aware of the risk of cross contamination, and should only use cassava flour that specifically states right on the package that it is verified gluten free.)
What brands of Cassava flour are there?
There are many brands of Cassava flour that you can buy. Bob’s Red Mill is one of our favorite gluten free product brands, especially when we’re looking for gluten free flour. They carry so many different kinds of gluten free flour! (Three cheers to Bob’s Red Mill!! They are always looking out for those of us who need to eat gluten free.) Their cassava flour is produced in facilities that are entirely gluten free, and so the bags of flour can safely be labelled as verified gluten free.
Otto’s Naturals also carries gluten free cassava flour, and they say you can use their blend 1 to 1 in your gluten free recipes. (This is according to the weight of the flour, not one cup. If you’re using cup for cup, Otto’s recommends decreasing the amount of cassava flour by 25%.)
If you want to purchase larger quantities of cassava flour (also called manioc flour), then this 4 pound bag of Anthony’s Cassava flour is the best option! A great deal for a large bag of gluten free flour.
Finding cassava flour or yuca flour in Canada
We have some different links available to all of you gluten free bakers in Canada, with many of the same brands that are available in the US and around the world. But these are links with Canadian prices, and free Canadian shipping! We are providing options for Amazon.ca links and also Well.ca, one of our favorite Canadian health product retailers. (You’ll find loads of healthy gluten free baking mixes and snacks over there!)
- Otto’s Naturals cassava flour 907 gram bag – (from Well.ca)
- Bob’s Red Mill cassava flour in a 567 gram bag (Well.ca)
- Anthony’s cassava flour in a 908 gram bag (Amazon.ca)
- Bob’s Red Mill cassava flour in a 567 gram bag (Amazon.ca)
Is the cassava and yuca root the same thing?
Yes! Cassava and yuca root are the same vegetable. So, you can safely eat yuca root or cassava. They are simply two different names for the same kind of root vegetable. Cassava has many different names, including: yuca root, manioc, and Brazilian arrowroot.
Is cassava flour poisonous?
No, cassava flour is not poisonous. The reason this unusual question even comes up is because cassava root is not safe to eat when it is raw or uncooked. People who rely on cassava root as a food source know that it must be soaked and cooked carefully to remove the toxins that are in the original plant. BUT…when you buy cassava flour, it is perfectly safe to use and bake with. This is because the manufacturers first cook the cassava or yuca to remove all toxins, and then grind the cooked vegetable down into flour. Cassava root just should never be eaten raw.
Can I use cassava flour instead of all purpose flour in my recipe?
You can swap cassava flour for your all-purpose flour, providing you with a gluten free recipe. BUT, as with many gluten free flours, you’ll find the results will be different. So, use a gluten free all-purpose flour, and then substitute some of the flour with cassava or yuca flour instead. You’ll likely need to do a little experimenting to get your recipe just right, and using a few different types of gluten free flours often provides a much better result.
Is cassava or yuca root flour healthy?
Yes! Cassava or yuca root flour is healthy, in that it is not only gluten free but also has some healthy nutrients and vitamins. There is about one gram of fiber in 100 grams of boiled cassava, and also 20% of your daily recommended intake of Thiamine. Cassava also has a small amount of iron, Vitamin C and calcium.
While there are some nutrients and vitamins in cassava/yuca, it is not considered a nutrient dense food. You can find other root vegetables that provide a greater amount of vitamins and nutrients – such as potatoes and especially sweet potatoes. It is also not a very fiber-rich food. So, when baking with this flour it’s not a bad idea to add some additional fiber in another form – I like using ground flaxseed in many of my gluten free recipes. (The ground flaxseed is also an excellent way to add additional fiber to your morning bowl of oatmeal. Super healthy, and I think it tastes downright delicious.)
Is Cassava flour vegan?
Yes! Cassava flour is vegan, as it is made from a South American vegetable called Cassava, Yuca root, Brazilian arrowroot or manioc. They are all different names for the same vegetable. And, since the flour is 100% derived from the vegetable, it is vegan! You can use it in your vegan baking recipes, and serve it happily to your vegan friends.
Cassava flour/Yuca flour – conclusion
Cassava flour is a flour made from the Cassava or Yuca root vegetable, a vegtable commonly found in South American countries and cultures. While it is not nutrient-dense, it is indeed gluten free! You can safely add it to your collection of gluten free flours, knowing it is safe to eat. It is a light, nutty-flavored flour that you may end up really enjoying. Happy gluten free baking to you!
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