If you've been following a Paleo diet or dallying in some recipes, you're probably already familiar with almond, coconut, and tapioca flour as baking alternatives. A new all-natural flour substitute is making the rounds, and we've provided you what you need to know! Cassava flour is becoming more popular and may just be the next best substitute for traditional flour on the market today.
What Is It?
Cassava flour is derived from the cassava plant and is native to South America, needing tropical climates with at least eight months of warm weather to grow. The flour itself is derived from the whole root of the plant peeled and ground up. Because it's the whole root, it has more dietary fiber than tapioca flour (which also comes from the cassava plant through a different process).
What Does It Do?
If you suffer from gluten intolerance, cassava flour can be the perfect solution for enjoying traditionally gluten-heavy foods like cookies, cakes, breads, and tortillas. It's certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group, and because it is high in resistant starch, it may be easier on your gut and digestive system to break down.
What's the Nutritional Breakdown?
Cassava flour is grain-free, nut-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and vegan and fits the Paleo diet! Perfect for preparing healthy and allergy-friendly meals, however, if you're following a low-carbohydrate diet, cassava flour is NOT for you. It is extremely high in carbohydrates and low in protein, making it high on the glycemic index. Although most flours are high in carbohydrates, whole-grain flour offers other nutrients that the cassava flour doesn't possess. If you're aiming to be keto friendly or you suffer from type 1 or 2 diabetes, you should avoid cassava flour as a substitute and focus on lower-carb options like almond flour when baking.
What Does It Taste Like?
Cassava flour is known for having a soft and powdery texture and being very mild in taste, similar to regular flour. If you've ever baked with coconut flour or almond, you know it can be difficult to get the same consistency you need in many baking recipes and the flavoring can be quite strong. That won't be as much of a problem when using cassava flour, since it offers binding qualities needed to make tortillas, breads, and other gluten-free food options. When substituting, you can follow a 1-1 ratio, making it easy to follow any recipe.
How Do I Eat It?
Cassava flour can be used to make pancakes, bread, cookies, or tortillas or to thicken soups and stews. You can use cassava as a substitute in any recipe that requires regular flour or Paleo flour.
Are There Negative Side Effects?
If eaten raw, the cassava plant can be poisonous. However, the cassava flours that you will find in the grocery stores have been soaked, cooked, and fermented, making them perfectly safe to eat!