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Cassava Balls (Vegan, Gluten Free)

These cassava balls are made with the cassava root vegetable which is boiled then mashed,seasoned and made into bite sized balls with a vegan cheese filling. They can be air fried or fried via stovetop – your choice and gluten free!
Course Appetisers/Snacks
Cuisine Caribbean
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 376kcal
Author Charla

Ingredients

  • 2 lb cassava I used frozen (1kg)
  • 1 cup vegan cheese grated or chopped into very small square pieces (112g)
  • 2 tbsp dairy free butter (30g)
  • 1 tbsp onion powder (15g)
  • 1 tbsp garlic granules (15g)
  • 1 tbsp paprika (15g)
  • 1 tbsp parsley (15g)
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme stems removed
  • 1 tbsp black pepper (15g)
  • ½ tbsp pink salt or to taste (7.5g)
  • gluten free flour see instructions
  • olive oil for frying/dipping/coating see instructions

Instructions

Stovetop version

  • Bring a large saucepan with the cassava to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the cassava is tender and soft to prick with a fork (you will know when it is ready because the vegetable will change from opaque to translucent).
  • Drain off all the water and discard the woody part that is in the centre (both fresh and frozen will have this).
  • While the cassava is still hot, add the dairy free butter, paprika, thyme, black pepper, parsley, onion/garlic powder and pink salt.
  • Use an immersion stick blender to break down the cassava pieces into a thick-ish mash. If you are struggling to do this then add a splash of water, a little at a time not too much or it will be too sticky.
  • Once the mash is done, work it into a dough ball, if it feels too sticky then add some flour. Add the flour in increments (very very small amounts) while working the mash into pliable dough (it shouldn’t be too sticky nor too firm, just in between).
  • Grab a small piece of the dough in the palm of your hand and fill the centre with cheese (you won't need more than 3 pieces per ball)
  • Cover the side with the exposed cheese pieces with the dough and roll it into a round ball using both hands and repeat this step.
  • On medium heat, preheat a small frying pan with oil (I used no more than ¼ cup of oil).
  • Place a few of the cheese balls in the pan and fry until golden (move the pan side to side/back and forth and use a spoon to baste the oil onto the cheese balls to cook them through evenly without using excess oil).

Air Fryer Version

  • Follow the instructions above up until steps 8
  • Preheat the air fryer (very important)
  • Once the cheese balls have been formed, place some oil in a small bowl.
  • Dip and coat each ball in oil.
  • Place them in the fryer basket (make sure the basket is coated in oil too).
  • Set the fryer to 180c/356f for 5-6 minutes, shake and rotate the fryer and check them often (very important).
  • As soon as the cheese balls are golden remove them from the fryer, DO NOT over cook them or they will burst, flatten and the cheese will ooze out.

Notes

  • This recipe works with both fresh and frozen cassava. I used frozen cassava which is easier to work with as you don’t need to peel it.
  • I made about 18 cheese balls with this recipe.
  • Do a taste test of the dough, you may want to add more seasoning just before shaping the balls.
  • Cassava is known as yucca or manioc
  • When forming the balls don’t over pack the filling, you want no more than a few small pieces of cheese.
  • Make sure the dough isn’t sticky, it if too sticky then you are going to struggle with forming the balls. You can remedy this with adding some flour to firm things up.
  • Make sure the cheese is directly in the centre when creating the balls and don’t make them too thin or the cheese will seep through when you’re cooking them especially air frying them.
  • The size of the balls will vary, it’s okay that they don’t look the same

Nutrition

Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 98g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1188mg | Potassium: 725mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1047IU | Vitamin C: 51mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg