This grain-free and gluten-free pizza dough is made with fresh cassava and chickpeas. It makes a delicious thin-crust-style pizza that is sturdy enough to hold toppings and folds for the perfect cheesy bite!
The Best Gluten Free Pizza Dough
We’ve been making cassava pizza crust ever since I first posted about it several years ago. This is an updated version of my original recipe. By blending cooked chickpeas into the cassava dough the resulting pizza crust is more flavorful, a bit softer, and chewier, while still deliciously crispy and sturdy enough to hold all your favorite pizza toppings.
What is Cassava?
Cassava, also called yuca or manioc, is an edible root that is grown in subtropical and tropical climates. It’s eaten all over the world and is used in many cuisines. It’s the main ingredient in Brazilian cheese bread, Jamaican bammy, West African fufu, and yuca fries found throughout Latin America. Cassava is also what tapioca is made from. Fresh cassava can be found in many supermarkets today, but if you can’t find it at your local grocery store look for it at international markets or specialty stores near you.
Preparing Fresh Cassava
Cassava has a pinkish-purple inner bark that needs to be removed before processing it. The easiest way to remove both the outer and inner layers of bark is to simply peel them off with a paring knife. The liquid in the cassava root needs to be removed (leached out) as it contains toxins that can be poisonous if raw cassava is ingested. Fear not, people have been eating cassava for centuries and when processed correctly it is safe to consume.
To prepare fresh cassava for the purpose of making dough first peel it and chop it into smaller pieces. Rinse the chopped cassava under tap water then add the pieces to a blender and fill it with water. Blend until the cassava is pureed. Then strain it through fine cheesecloth to remove as much liquid as possible. Twist and squeeze the cheesecloth until you are left with a soft starchy pulp that holds together in a ball. Discard all of the liquid as that this what contains the toxins.
The resulting starchy white cassava pulp is the base of this pizza dough, but can also be used to make tortillas or flatbread. The dough still needs to be cooked before it is safe to consume. Do not eat raw cassava.
Chickpeas Make It Better
Adding pureed chickpeas to the cassava pulp adds flavor, and protein, and improves the texture of the cooked pizza crust. Cassava can dry out and become brittle when baked so the addition of chickpeas helps keep the cooked dough soft and flexible. I like to do a ratio of 2 parts prepared cassava pulp to 1 part cooked chickpeas. Add the chickpeas and cassava pulp to a food processor to puree the chickpeas and mix them into the cassava. I also add olive oil and salt when doing this step so they get evenly incorporated into the dough.
Get Creative with Pizza Toppings
You can’t go wrong with a simple pizza margherita with a simple tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil, but the possibilities are endless. This sturdy and flexible gluten-free pizza crust will hold all of your favorite toppings. We like to load it up with lots of veggies like roasted eggplant and mushrooms, peppers, onions, olives, and fresh mozzarella or vegan cheese.
More than Pizza
This gluten-free cassava-chickpea dough can be used for more than just pizza crust. It is perfect for making gluten-free tortillas or flatbread. Press the dough out as would tortilla dough or masa and cook it in a preheated dry skillet on the stovetop for about 2 minutes per side.
Sometimes I add spinach and/or leafy herbs to the dough to make green tortillas for sandwich wraps. You can be creative with what you add to the dough. Try adding roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes for a red-hued wrap with lots of flavors.
How to Make Cassava Chickpea Gluten-Free Pizza
Step 1: Prepare the Fresh Cassava Root
Start by peeling the outer brown bark and inner purple-ish bark of the cassava with a paring knife making sure to remove all of the bark. Cut away and discard any discolored spots from the white inner flesh then cut it up into smaller pieces. Give the chopped cassava a quick rinse before adding it to a blender.
Fill the blender cup with water to cover the cassava pieces then blend on high speed to puree the cassava. Strain the pureed cassava through a fine cheesecloth or nut-milk bag to remove as much of the liquid as possible until you have a starchy white ball of cassava pulp left in the cheesecloth.
Step 2: Make the Cassava-Chickpea Dough
Combine the chickpeas, cassava pulp, olive oil and salt in a food processor until the chickpeas are pureed and everything is evenly incorporated into a soft wet dough.
Step 3: Par-bake the Pizza Crust
Brush a large piece of parchment paper with olive oil then press out the cassava-chickpea dough into a large thin round with your hands. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil as well. Bake the crust on the parchment paper on a preheated pizza stone or baking steel at 475˚F/245˚C for a few minutes to par-bake the crust. Flip the par-baked crust over before adding toppings.
Step 4: Add Toppings to the Pizza
Add your favorite pizza toppings to the par-baked crust. I used homemade fire-roasted tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil for this simple pizza margherita.
Step 5: Bake the Pizza
Return the pizza to the oven to finish baking for about another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the crust is completely cooked through and crispy on the bottom. Top the cooked pizza with more fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil then slice and serve it hot.
Cassava Chickpea Pizza Dough Questions:
I have not tested this recipe with either frozen cassava or cassava flour. Frozen cassava is meant to be boiled and served or then fried, so I don’t think it would work well in this recipe. Cassava flour may have better results. I would add enough water to the cassava flour to get the same consistency as the fresh cassava pulp in this recipe. Then proceed with the recipe from there.
The chickpeas can be omitted. You can also try substituting them with another cooked legume like white beans, edamame, or green peas for example.
Raw cassava root contains toxins that can be poisonous if eaten raw or not prepared and cooked properly. Do not eat raw cassava. There are 2 types of cassava, sweet cassava and bitter cassava. Sweet cassava is what you’ll find at grocery stores here in the US and what is used in this recipe. While sweet cassava does contain toxins, they are concentrated in the peel. By removing all of the peel, both the outer brown papery layer and the inner layer, and cooking the cassava flesh completely through it is safe to consume. Bitter cassava on the other hand contains a much higher concentration of toxins throughout the entire root. Bitter cassava needs to be soaked in water for days then leached and cooked before it can be safely consumed.
Love this recipe?
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Gluten Free Pizza Dough made with Cassava and Chickpeas
- 1.5 pounds fresh sweet cassava root
- 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 4 oz. fresh mozzarella
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Make the pizza dough:
- Peel the cassava with a paring knife making sure to remove all of the purple-ish outer layer. Cut away any discolored spots from the white inner flesh.
- Roughly chop the cassava into smaller pieces and remove any fibrous stringy bits from the center.
- Quickly rinse the chopped cassava under running water then add it to a blender. Fill the blender cup with water to cover all of the cassava.
- Blend on high speed until the cassava is pureed in the water.
- Place a colander into your clean sink or a large mixing bowl and line it with fine cheesecloth or a nut milk bag. Pour the cassava puree into the cheesecloth and twist and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Discard the liquid. The resulting cassava pulp should be soft and starchy and hold together in a ball.
- Transfer the cassava pulp to a food processor with the chickpeas, olive oil and salt then puree until the chickpeas are smooth and everything is evenly combined. The dough is now ready to be used or can be wrapped and refrigerated to use within 3 days.
Assemble and bake the pizza:
- Preheat a pizza stone on the middle or lower rack of your oven to 475˚F/250˚C.
- Meanwhile, brush a piece of parchment paper with olive oil. Then press the cassava dough out into a thin circle on the oiled parchment paper with your hands.
- Brush the top of the dough with more olive oil then slide the parchment paper onto a pizza peel (or a thin wood cutting board) and transfer the pizza, still on the parchment paper, to the preheated stone to parbake for 2-4-minutes depending on your oven.
- Remove the pizza crust still on the parchment paper and let it sit on the peel for a minute to cool before flipping it over.
- Spoon the tomato sauce onto the par-cooked crust and spread it out to the edges.
- Thinly slice the fresh mozzarella and place the slices on top of the sauce. Add a few fresh basil leaves then drizzle on more olive oil and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and black pepper.
- Return the pizza to the oven to finish cooking until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is completely cooked through and crispy on the bottom, about 5 minutes.
- Finish the cooked pizza with more fresh basil leaves and another drizzle of olive oil then cut and serve hot.
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