You’ve probably heard of tapioca flour before, which is actually made from starch extracted from the cassava root. But tapioca flour only acts as a filler in gluten-free baking. Cassava flour is a whole food that retains all of its fiber and can actually be used as a base (versus just filler) in all of your baked goods. Cassava is a root vegetable, similar to yams or taro.
In addition to being gluten- (and grain-) free it’s also nut-free, which is great news for all people dealing with multiple allergies and/or sensitivities. While many other gluten-free flours need a lot of other ingredients especially eggs to achieve a good consistency, cassava flour can be used by itself. This also means that a lot of recipes using cassava can be made vegan.
You also don’t need to add any potentially irritating fillers, like xanthan gum, when baking with cassava flour—it can be substituted 1:1 for wheat flour in almost any recipe. It’s powdery and has a fairly neutral taste, with just a slight hint of nuttiness. One cup has 53 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein, and 38 percent of your daily recommend vitamin C (although because vitamin C is heat-sensitive, a lot of that is likely destroyed when cooking). Cassava flour does absorb more liquid than all-purpose flour, which means that, for some recipes, you might need slightly less of it. Try to experiment with some recipes that are familiar to you to get a feel for using the flour.