Grain-Free Flatbread (Paleo, Vegan, and AIP-friendly)

Last weekend, I did a couple book signings with my friends Sarah Ballantyne (The Paleo Mom) and Stacy Toth (of Paleo Parents). It was a lot of fun. On Saturday night, Sarah and Stacy slept over at our house, so I offered to make dinner for them; Sarah and Stacy follow a modified version of the Autoimmune Protocol (a more restrictive version of the Paleo diet meant to reverse autoimmunity, see this post or Sarah’s book for more info), so I knew I had my work cut out for me. How do you treat your friends (and food bloggers at that) to a delicious meal with a limited cupboard to work with?

For the main course I made a modified version of my Beef Rendang recipe, where I subbed some butternut squash puree for the bell and chili peppers, and used mace instead of nutmeg. I think the squash added a good amount of body to the dish; it turned out well. I served it with cauliflower rice sautéed in coconut milk, turmeric, cinnamon, and raisins – also good.

But I wanted to add another texture to the dish, so I tried out a more savory version of my pizza crust recipe, made AIP-friendly by eliminating the dairy and egg typically used in the recipe. I couldn’t have been happier with the results – the bread was nice and crisp, and adding nutritional yeast imparted a rich, buttery taste.

Grain-Free Flatbread

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 20 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

1 1/2 cups tapioca starch
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp coconut oil (olive oil, lard, ghee, butter okay)
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried rosemary, divided
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp white pepper
olive oil for drizzling
sea salt flakes or kosher salt for sprinkling

1. Place a pizza stone, cast iron skillet, or heavy duty baking sheet in the oven, and preheat it to 500F. Place the tapioca starch in a mixing bowl and set aside.

2. As the oven heats, add the coconut milk, oil, and salt into a small pan and heat over medium heat until just about to boil, then pour it into the mixing bowl. Mix with a spoon until incorporated into the starch, then set aside for five minutes to cool.

3. Add the nutritional yeast, half of the rosemary, and the oregano and white pepper to the dough, then knead together to incorporate everything. Carefully remove the hot pizza stone from the oven, then (again, carefully!) spread the dough over the stone, to about 1/4″ thickness. It doesn’t have to be pretty. Drizzle a little olive oil over the dough and sprinkle on the remaining rosemary, then place in the oven. Bake until crispy and firm to the touch, 8-10 minutes.

4. Drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt flakes; slice and serve.

** Serve warm alongside curries or pasta dishes.


Served with Baked Meatballs and rice-based penne pasta

96 thoughts on “Grain-Free Flatbread (Paleo, Vegan, and AIP-friendly)

  1. Some AIP’s eliminate tapioca as well as it is gluten cross reactive but arrowroot starch might be fine replacement. I’ll try this with arrowroot starch, it looks delicious and I miss bread! :)

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    1. yes, this is true. My doctor has me eliminating tapioca while essentially doing the autoimmune protocol (he is not as strict about eliminating seed spices). I will try the arrowroot starch.

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      1. Pat, arrowroot and tapioca are both starches from different plants (arrowroot and tapioca, respectively). There are several plants that fall under the classification of “arrowroot”, including tapioca itself, so arrowroot starch can be from various sources. Overall, it’s less stretchy than tapioca starch and tends to behave more like corn starch, and is less prone to lumping than potato starch. Arrowroot also does a pretty good job of staying thick when cooled, as opposed to other thickeners like potato starch. Hope that helps!

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  2. I too was wondering if the nutritional yeast coukd be left out. It is typically labeled as gluten free, but it has a high cross-reactivity rate and some people (like me) are still sensitive to it.

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  3. Is the texture of the finished flatbread such that you could punch out rounds to act as grain-free buns for burgers and the like?

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  4. I don’t have a pizza stone so could I use my cast iron skillet flipped over on the bottom so I don’t burn my arms trying to spread it out with the skillet already being hot?

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  5. This looks wonderful

    I am not in possession of tapioca starch or arrowroot starch–I have an odd assortment of things like spelt flour, almond flour, etc. do you think another type of flour could be substituted?

    Thank you!

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    1. Julie this recipe hinges on the starchy/stretchy properties of tapioca or arrowroot. To be honest I don’t bake often with other flours but I don’t think they’ll turn out the same as with a starch.

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  6. This was so yummy! I dipped it in olive oil to eat and then decided to try my grass fed Liverwurst on it and it was delicious that way also. Thanks for this great flatbread recipe!

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  7. If we are going to use this for pizza, would you put the sauce, cheese and toppings on the un-cooked flat bread before putting in oven? Or would you cook for a few minutes, take it out, put on pizza toppings, and then finish the cooking? Thanks!!

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  8. Thanks for the recipe! I made it tonight and my boys (6 and 3) both loved it. I was a little worried when I poured the coconut milk into the tapioca flour because it wasn’t wet enough, but I warmed a few more tablespoons of coconut milk in the hot pot and then added it and mixed and it worked out well.

    I often make rolls with tapioca and coconut flour, but they take 30+ minutes. I’m so excited to have a quick recipe for tapioca bread!

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      1. I’ve made this at least once a week since my first comment – we call it “pizza bread”. I end up using about 3/4+ cup coconut milk (I measure the tapioca flour with a scale so maybe that makes a difference). This last time, I added an egg to make it more like your pizza recipe (but without cheese) and it was even better than ever – less crispy and more dough-like. Thanks again!

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    1. I tried this tonight. It tasted good, but it didn’t turn out quite right. First, the batter was much too dry, so I added more coconut milk (didn’t warm it first, though). I pressed it into the bottom of a pre-heated cast iron frying pan. It never really browned, but it puffed up on one side. The flavor was good, but the texture was odd. It is hard on the outside and spongy on the inside. The spongy part kind of reminded me of dim sum pork dumplings. Next time, I might try adding the nutritional yeast, and maybe spread it on a baking sheet. The coconut milk I used had guar gum in it. Do you think that might have made a difference?

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      1. Colleen, it’s hard to say what happened here. There’s a lot of variance between tapioca starches and coconut milk, so that may have affected the dryness of the dough. It should be pretty dry but not crumbly. The nutritional yeast helps to harden the flatbread. Not sure if the guar gum affected the dough, but it’s possible. It won’t ever really get super brown, just more like a golden color. Hope that helps!

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      2. I had the same thing happen to me. The middle was gooey…like uncooked dough. I think it just wasn’t thin enough so it would cook all the way through. Next time I’ll try a baking sheet too since that’ll be easier to flatten the dough out on.

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        1. So, I tried it again tonight. This time I used coconut milk with no guar gum (I very rarely have that on hand since it’s hard to get where I live). I also used the nutritional yeast. I cooked it on a cast iron skillet in the oven. When I added the coconut milk and oil to the starch, it was much too dry. I added some olive oil and some more coconut milk to make it a workable dough. I spread it out on a cutting board then transferred it to the skillet. Again, I think I didn’t have it thin enough. I think I might try this on a baking sheet next time. It was tasty, but the middle was quite chewy. I had 2 large pieces with some chicken soup my husband made. It was quite yummy. I have some left for tomorrow, but I’m not sure how it will taste the next day. Last time, it had a very squeaky mouth feel after it cooled. Next time, I’ll make sure to clean the oven before I make this. The smoke alarm kept going off because of the skillet in the hot oven

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    1. Hi Monica, both tapioca flour and nutritional yeast can be found in most health-minded stores (Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or health food stores). If one of these stores isn’t local to you, Amazon sells them for a good price (links in the recipe above).

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  9. This recipe looks terrific! We host the Sunshine Coast Paleo/Primal/Real Food Meetup Group here in Australia and have scheduled this to post on our Facebook page for our followers to try :)

    Question, could you use arrowroot instead of tapioca? And is the yeast crucial?

    Thanks! Aimee

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    1. Aimee, you can definitely use arrowroot instead of tapioca, and the yeast isn’t crucial to have the bread hold together – you’ll just need to add more starch to create a doughy texture. But in terms of taste, leaving out the nutritional yeast will remove the rich, buttery taste to the bread. I don’t think it’ll be inedible or anything, but you may want to add a bit more salt and seasonings to offset the bland taste. Maybe some minced garlic, too?

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  10. I made this last night to go with our Paleo meatballs & marinara sauce. Since I had previously made and loved the Brazilian Cheese Buns, and now, sadly can no longer have cheese, I couldn’t wait to try this. Delish!! It’ll be the perfect base for pizza! Thanks for a great recipe, again.

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  12. Russ, for those of us PHD-ers who can and do eat modest amounts of cheese: how about using the raw milk aged Parmesan Reggiano that I buy at Whole Foods in lieu of the nutritional yeast? Gets me hungry just thinking about it!

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  13. Also, I don’t have coconut milk because I haven’t been able to find any pure, but I’d heard that it can be made from dried unsweetened coconut flakes and purified water in a Vitamix, all of which I have. Would that work, and if so, what ratio of dried flakes to water would you recommend for this purpose? Thanks!

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  14. Of course, I put a thin coat of coconut oil on my skillet after cleaning it. Would any other oil be needed to keep the crust from sticking? Thanks!

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  15. Outstanding!! I made this today substituting Herbs de Provence for the nutritional yeast (I didn’t have any). It was delicious!! Easy to make, true to the times you have listed for prep and cooking. It’s so nice to have an AIP-friendly bread option– I’m allergic to plantains and bananas and hadn’t found a good plantain- and banana- free bread recipe until yours. Thank you for posting it!

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      1. I made this last night with arrowroot powder for starch, and left out the nutritional yeast . I upped the herbs and added sage and some garlic salt. It was wonderful – crisp and cracker like. Wondering now if a sweeter version with cinnamon could be made?
        I also really enjoyed the taste of the drizzled olive oil. Would it still crisp up if the coconut oil was replaced with olive oil?

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  16. I’m new to your blog and I find all of your recipes amazing I can’t wait to try some of them. Have you ever tried cauliflower crust pizza?

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  17. We LOVED this!! The taste and texture was great. One question, the middle tasted good but was almost translucent like it hadn’t cooked all the way. I used a heavy baking sheet instead of a stone. Would it help it to cook all the way through to cook it at 450 or so for a little longer?

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  18. I’ve tried this recipe twice, and both times I end up with a crumbly mess – I could not knead it. Am I missing something? I’ve followed the recipe exactly.

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    1. Isabelle, there is a lot of variation between brands of tapioca/arrowroot starches, even from the same brand you’ll often get different results. I would just add some more liquid (warm coconut milk or water) and knead it until it becomes more dough-like. Sometimes when we make it, it will turn out liquidy, and we’ll have to add more starch – the key is just to adjust the ingredients until you get a consistency you can work with. Hope that helps!

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  19. I would love to try this, but I’m working with a gluten free diet AND an autoimmune sensitivity to coconut. That combination seems to be killing a whole lot of possible recipes. Do you (or anyone else) have some suggestions of what I might try to substitute for the coconut milk and oil??

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  20. This stuff was……UH…MAZE…ZING! I have worked with tapioca starch before and was nervous about being able to “knead” it out and I was impressed with its simplicity to make, bake and eat! Thank you! Everyone in the house, while not all Paleo, loved it! Thanks for a quicker replacement for other Paleo breads:)

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  21. Did anyone else’s turn out like a hockey puck? It was so hard and dry! The only changes I made were to omit the nutritional yeast, add about 2 more tbsp of coconut milk since the dough seemed really dry and bake at 425 degrees for about 19 min (my oven can’t get to 500 degrees without setting off my smoke alarm) and broil for 4 min to try to get the top brown. Was it the broiling that made it so hard??

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    1. Well that’s embarrassing- I somehow read 20 min in the oven but I just retread the recipe and I guess it’s 10 min. Don’t over bake it people ;)

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  22. Thanks so much for this recipe – it came out perfectly even w/o nutritional yeast. I live in Ecuador where tapioca starch is really typical (we have pan de yuca which is probably similar to the Brazilian cheese bread this is based on). Great recipe!

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  23. Thanks for the recipe! I tried it tonight with arrowroot instead of tapioca. The top and bottom of the flatbread got crispy, but the middle was sort of translucent…kind of like uncooked dough. Is the middle supposed to be like this or did I not roll it out thin enough?

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  24. This is delicious and really hits the spot when I want “bread”. Very easy recipe to put together. I baked mine at 450deg for 8 minutes and it came out perfectly! thank you!

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