We’re always looking for new foods that will appeal to the whole family, from picky toddlers to parents trying to eat healthier. Bonus points go to any products that area help make meals come together, fast. When Valdiny M. Pabbruwe-Tolud, the founder of Cassava Kitchen, reached out to us about her gluten-free pasta, we wanted to learn more. Here’s what we found out and wanted to share:
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Currently I live in Chicago’s Lincoln Park with my husband, Jan, and our 9 months old puppy, Noodle. But, I was born and raised in Suriname (North East of Brazil). I moved to Amsterdam to go college, where I lived for over 10 years before moving to Chicago last year.
What made you decide to start Cassava Kitchen?
I’ve always dreamt of starting my own business and I guess that aspiration was influenced by my entrepreneurial mother. The idea of Cassava Kitchen came after reading my uncle’s paper about Cassava’s health benefits and its sustainable identity. It created a light bulb moment that convinced me I needed to share this root’s amazing features with as many people as possible.
What are the primary benefits of Cassava?
There are so many, but to start off one of the key features that inspired Cassava Kitchen is the root’s ability to grow with minimal reliance on water. It’s one of the most drought tolerant crops there is, which is great for our environment.
- Is naturally gluten free
- Is high in dietary fibers
- Has a low (46) Glycemic Index (GI), benefiting diabetes type-2 and weight watchers
- Has nearly twice the calories than that of potatoes and perhaps one of the highest value calorie foods for any tropical starch-rich tubers and roots (100 g root provides 160 calories)
- Carries some of the valuable B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, thiamin, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin, and pantothenic acid
- Is one of the chief sources of some essential minerals like zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese and it has adequate amounts of potassium (271 mg per 100g or 6% of RDA). Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
Can you describe the flavor?
Our pasta tastes just like regular pasta, but without eggs! It’s the perfect combination of our gluten free cassava-, corn- and rice flour that gives it a soft yet chewy texture. The feedback we’ve received so far tells us it’s one of the if not the best gluten free options you’ll ever taste.
Why did you choose fusilli for your first pasta?
Fusilli is just one of my personal favorite pasta shapes and one that’s very versatile. You can use it to make a fresh salad on a hot summer day or combine it with your favorite pasta sauce.
What products are in the pipeline?
I am excited to announce that we’ll be expanding our brand with two alternative pasta shapes and a Mac ‘n Cheese by the end of this year. So stay tuned and keep an eye on our social media for the big announcement!
How can people purchase?
We currently sell via our own website: www.cassavakitchen.com. We also had the opportunity to partner with Potash Market (On State Street in Chicago) and Crosby’s market place in Marblehead, Massachusetts so you can find us on their shelves.
Anything else you’d like people to know about you or the brand?
Yes, we care about the environment and human health. And although we might not be all the way there yet ,our ambition is to build and maintain a sustainable identity. We are committed to offering healthy, gluten-free foods using all natural ingredients without any preservatives, sweeteners and artificial coloring. The main ingredient in all of our products is the healthy cassava aka yuca root and all of our products are made in a dedicated gluten-free facility.