When Diego started getting an itchy red rash on his arms, I knew something was up. So I scheduled an appointment with a functional medicine doctor right away. After taking him to the appointment, the naturopath advised that he try staying away from gluten and other known allergens and do a small version of an elimination diet just for a short period of time to see if we could identify what’s causing it.
Since I have a food allergy myself, I know a lot about elimination diets. My first thought, however, was one of stress. Diego knows what he likes and elimination diets aren’t always kid-friendly! If Diego had it his way, he would eat quesadillas and beans all day every day, haha! So I knew I was going to need to figure something out. After doing some research, I came across a lifesaver: Cassava flour!
At first, when I started reading about cassava flour, I almost couldn’t believe it! A gluten-free, grain-free nut-free flour? Count me in! I then found Siete Foods and Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour and I was sold. After trying Siete’s products, I decided to buy the actual flour and try to make my own recipes. I tried it out a couple and now both Diego and I love it!
Because food allergies are becoming more and more common, I’m sure many of you have to deal with an elimination diet, whether it’s you, your child, or someone else in your family. So I thought I’d share a little more about cassava flour and a few recipes that both Diego and I approve of!
What is Cassava Flour?
Cassava Flour is made from the Cassava Plant which is a root vegetable. (Another name for it is Yuca). If you’ve never heard of cassava flour, you may have heard of tapioca flour. Tapioca flour is the starch of the cassava root that been taken out of the plant, while cassava flour is the root that has been ground up. Cassava flour contains a lot of carbohydrates at 28 grams and when you buy it, is in a white powdery form. Some of its other nutritional value includes 83 mg of potassium and 3 grams of fiber.
Note: You aren’t likely to buy the raw root of cassava, but if you do, don’t eat it raw! In the raw root form, it has cyanide components (occurring naturally). But don’t fear, it’s completely safe and healthy when you buy it in the flour form!
Benefits of Cassava Flour for an Elimination Diet
One of the best things about Cassava flour for an elimination diet is the taste and texture. With Diego and kids in general, finding something with a good taste is crucial with getting them to eat what you make. If it doesn’t taste good, they won’t eat it! Coconut flour and almond flour, for example, can often have a taste and texture that kids don’t like. With Cassava flour, that worry is gone. It doesn’t really taste like anything, and the texture is smooth, not rough, like almond or coconut flour. What’s also really great about it is that it’s almost a 1:1 replacement for most baking recipes! This was one of the best parts for me because it doesn’t require any extra measuring when making Diego food. Another great thing is that since is grain-free, gluten-free, AND nut-free, anything I make using cassava flour I can send to school with Diego because there are no allergies in it.
Three Cassava Flour Recipes
1. Cassava Flour Pancakes
Cassava flour is perfect for breakfast (as well as lunch… and dinner haha!) But back to breakfast, these pancakes are sure to please even the pickiest eater! I personally like topping them with berries AND a little syrup, but simple maple syrup works too! I used the recipe from Otto’s Naturals blog and it was super easy!
- 1 1/2 cups of Cassava Flour
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 cup of coconut milk buttermilk (they recommended 1-3/4 cups of yogurt or whole milk, but since Diego can’t have dairy, coconut buttermilk was what they suggested!)
- 2 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
- 2 tablespoons of olive or avocado oil
- 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup
- 2 eggs
Mix dry ingredients together, then add the wet ingredients, and then let it sit for 5 minutes or so. Finally, cook on medium heat and wait for bubbles on top.
Add some berries, maple syrup, or whatever your heart desires and you have a perfect breakfast!
2. Cassava Flour Quesadilla
Like I said earlier, Diego LOVES quesadillas. So when I found this recipe, I was so excited! He tried them and loved them! It’s so easy to make and is my new go-to for Diego at lunch.
- Cassava Flour Tortilla (Use Siete’s or you can make your own! See the recipe below!)
- Sliced avocado
- Almond milk cheddar cheese (Follow Your Heart is our favorite dairy-free sliced cheese brand)
- Siete Cashew Queso
- Cilantro (optional)
Put all the ingredients on the tortillas and set on the stove top and heat until the cheese is melted! Or the way you prefer to make quesadillas!
3. Cassava Flour Brownies
Yup! You read that right, brownies! Like I mentioned earlier, cassava flour is a great replacer for baking. You can almost always substitute 1:1 in a baking recipe. These are perfect to bring to a holiday party, or even just to make at home for a treat! The recipe is from Otto’s Naturals Blog!
- ¼ cup of Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour
- 1 cup of coconut sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa
- 1 cup of chocolate chips
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoons of coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare an 8”x8” baking dish by lining it with parchment paper.
- Combine butter and chocolate chips in a saucepan on low and melt together.
- Put the vanilla and egg in a bowl and whisk.
- Put the mixture of eggs and chocolate chips into a bigger bowl and mix in the dry ingredients to create a creamy batter.
- Pour the ingredients into the prepared dish and bake in the for 30-40 minutes.
*Their directions say to start checking the brownies at 25 minutes.
Let cool and enjoy!
How to Make Cassava Flour Tortillas
If you’re looking to make your own tortillas, you’re in luck. They are super easy and taste delicious! The following recipe I used is from Otto’s Naturals Blog!
- ¾ cup of Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour
- ⅓ cup of warm water
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon of sea salt
- Mix the dry ingredients (Cassava Flour and salt) together.
- Add the oil and water to make a dough. Make sure it’s not either too wet or too dry!
- Knead the dough smooth.
- Divide dough into first, 2 balls. Then for each ball, divide into three more (for 6 dough balls total!)
- Using 2 pieces of parchment paper, roll between the two sheets until thin.
- Heat a nonstick skillet on medium temperature. Then place the tortilla in the skillet and flip once the air bubbles form and both sides are a little brown.
- Place on plate and cover with a towel to keep warm!
Where can I Buy Cassava Flour?
So now that you know all about Cassava flour, you’re going to want to buy some, as I did! I love buying Otto’s Naturals Cassava Flour! You can buy it from their website or here:
If I’m making quesadillas for Diego, I like to buy the premade cashew and cassava flour tortillas from Siete Foods. You can find Siete on their website or on these websites:
Also, check your local Whole Foods! They may carry either one or both of these items.
Discovering that you or a loved one has a food allergy and has to go on an elimination diet can be kinda scary, but it doesn’t have to be! Cassava flour may be the perfect ingredient to make all the recipes you love while adjusting your diet. If you have any of your own cassava flour recipes, share it in the comments!