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

13 Mar


Gluten-Free, Paleo, Perfect Health Diet

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

79 Responses to “Grain-Free Flatbread (Paleo, Vegan, and AIP-friendly)”

  1. Victoria March 13, 2014 at 9:04 am #

    I love flatbread and there’s so many yummy ways to use it. My fav is flatbread pizza -:)

  2. Shirley Smith March 13, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    I have to make this soon! My daughter’s eczema has improved with a gluten-free diet, but she misses her bread :)

  3. kaikulifestyle March 13, 2014 at 10:10 am #

    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! :)

    • andria March 20, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

      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.

    • Pat June 1, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

      What exactly is the difference between tapioca and arrowroot starch?

      • Russ Crandall June 2, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

        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!

  4. fabulousfannyjr March 13, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    Reblogged this on global_food.

  5. Cynthia Hill March 13, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    Can the nutritional yeast be eliminated?

    • Russ Crandall March 13, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

      Cynthia, you could most certainly make it without the yeast, but you’d need to add more starch and the flavor would be much more subtle.

      • Cynthia Hill March 13, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

        Thank you – I seem to have an allergic reaction to nutritional yeast.

  6. shroomantics March 13, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    This looks delicious!
    Do you deliver? haha :)

  7. Kristina B. March 13, 2014 at 12:19 pm #

    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.

  8. Jon March 13, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    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?

    • Russ Crandall March 14, 2014 at 9:57 am #

      Jon, I think they’d work well as a bun – maybe a little crispier than your typical bun but still good!

  9. livingrealblog March 13, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    Yum, Yum, Yum! I’ll be trying this one very soon. Looks wonderful.

  10. I'm Gonna Cook That March 13, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    I’m pretty uneducated on this whole Paleo diet thing, but the ingredients list really makes me believe this actually TASTES good, which is reason enough for me to try it. :)

  11. erinenjoyingthisjourney March 13, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    Yum! This looks and sounds absolutely perfect.

  12. allaboutcarol March 13, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

    What’s the difference between nutritional yeast and regular yeast?

    • Russ Crandall March 14, 2014 at 9:58 am #

      Nutritional yeast is a deactivated bacteria grown from beets. Since it’s deactivated, it doesn’t cause the dough to rise like you might expect.

  13. molly March 14, 2014 at 12:10 am #

    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?

    • Russ Crandall March 14, 2014 at 10:00 am #

      Molly, I would say either try it on a regular baking sheet before flipping over a cast iron skillet.

  14. thechefcat March 14, 2014 at 3:12 am #

    Tha looks like a Latin American recipe. Doesn’t it?

    • Russ Crandall March 14, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      You’re right – this dough is modeled after a Brazilian cheese bread! Good eye!

  15. Julie March 14, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    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!

    • Russ Crandall March 15, 2014 at 10:18 am #

      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.

  16. Kelly March 15, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    Did you use full fat coconut milk from a can or just the kind from a carton? Looks delish. Thanks!!

    • Russ Crandall March 15, 2014 at 10:19 am #

      Hi Kelly, we use canned coconut milk but I think the carton kind would be okay – you may need to add more starch to offset the thinness of carton milk.

  17. Birgit March 15, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    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!

  18. Mark March 15, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    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!!

    • Russ Crandall March 16, 2014 at 7:53 am #

      Mark, I would cook it for 3-4 mins before putting the toppings on.

  19. Emily March 16, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

    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!

    • Russ Crandall March 18, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

      Emily, glad to hear you enjoyed it!

      • Emily April 25, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

        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!

    • Colleen April 10, 2014 at 10:31 pm #

      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?

      • Russ Crandall April 15, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

        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!

      • Catherine May 11, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

        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.

        • Colleen September 5, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

          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

  20. Monica March 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    I am trying a wheat free diet to feel better but I love bread. Where do I find tapioca flour and nutritional yeast??

    • Russ Crandall March 18, 2014 at 7:09 pm #

      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).

  21. Aimee March 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    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

    • Russ Crandall March 18, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

      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?

  22. Melissa March 20, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    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.

  23. Susan April 3, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

    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!

  24. Susan April 3, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

    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!

  25. Mary Anne April 10, 2014 at 10:24 am #

    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!

    • Russ Crandall April 15, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

      Mary Anne, you shouldn’t need any other oil to keep it from sticking. You’ll be surprised to find that this dough doesn’t stick to the surface at all, it comes right off!

  26. SarahK April 12, 2014 at 3:16 am #

    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!

    • Russ Crandall April 15, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

      Sarah, my pleasure!

      • Debbie April 25, 2014 at 11:54 am #

        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?

  27. Joan Armstrong May 10, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

    Well, I was very excited to try this tonight but I botched it. Gluey and terrible. Oh well.

  28. Jae May 13, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    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?

  29. Kirsty May 23, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    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?

  30. Isabelle June 9, 2014 at 6:13 am #

    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.

    • Russ Crandall June 9, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

      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!

      • Isabelle June 9, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

        Thanks, Russ. Will give it another go soon!

  31. Stacey June 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    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??

  32. Heather Jacob June 13, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    Trying this with garlic powder (not as much) as my nutritional yeast became a home for pantry moths. It sure does smell good!

  33. Jennifer June 14, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    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:)

  34. SophieE August 17, 2014 at 2:15 am #

    This was awesome and really easy to make. Had it with balsamic and olive oil.

  35. Rachel September 1, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    Would I use the same amount of arrowroot powder as tapioca?

    • Russ Crandall September 2, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

      Yes, I would use the same amount initially, although you might need a little more once you have it in dough form to get a more dough-like consistency.

  36. Linda September 1, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

    Could you pass along the recipe of your cauliflower rice with coconut milk, cinnamon and raisins too?

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