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Tapioca Floats are great in the summer when the weather’s hot. So refreshing, they provide energy and a delicious, fun, healthy treat! Year round, we also love eating them for breakfast!
You can make Tapioca Floats the night before, put them in the fridge — and an instant breakfast or snack is ready for all — like porridge, but cold.
I rediscovered tapioca recently, and this new way to eat it, and I’m super excited to share it with you.
Tapioca is appropriate for those on the AIP diet and certainly all Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-free and even Ancestral diets.
Tapioca is a complex carbohydrate (translation: energy).
If you’re interested, I discuss below the recipe in detail what makes tapioca healthy and how it’s made!
How to make Tapioca Floats
Serve it in a bowl or in a glass, but here’s how to make it:
- Bring water to a boil (I’ll show you how much below).
- Sprinkle in the organic broken pearls (like these).
- Stir a bit as it cooks.
- And then — when the pearls are mostly translucent, it’s ready to be chilled.
My version is only cooked in water!
I discuss below adding coconut or raw milk (if you’re not AIP) afterwards, as a float/topping; but cooking the pearls in water is part of the revolution. It’s DELICIOUS, affordable, easy to cook and so versatile.Jump to Recipe
How to serve Tapioca Floats
If you have hungry “home-campers” that need that chilled goodness now, you can simply stir in frozen fruit, like raspberries or blueberries — and the gel will happen immediately.
But I LOVE it the next day.
I add: maple syrup, about 2 teaspoons; it is SO pretty.
The syrup’s lovely texture settles into all the pearly nooks making golden crannies; it settles down with gravity in amber lightning shapes of sweet.
NOW you can even add a bit of water — it’s GOOD like that. SO simple and with a beautiful mouthfeel.
Or you can add:
- herbal coffee
- a shot of decaf. or regular espresso (if you do coffee [not AIP]) or other coffee
- coconut cream
- raw cream (if you do dairy [not AIP])
- or your milk of choice
To make it a float, is the key.
Add a little honey herbal simple syrup.
Tapioca Floats are kind of like bubble tea, so pour lightly sweetened herbal tea over the pearls, and garnish with herbs from your garden.
I love it best with maple syrup and water, or maple syrup and milk.
How to eat Tapioca Floats
You can drink it.
Or use a spoon and your sipping mouth alternating. SO GOOD, SO refreshing.
Serve it for breakfast in a bowl; or serve it outside in glasses to showcase its unique texture and beauty.
Isn’t it pretty? SO festive and creative for summer.
Okay, fire away: little bubbles! 🙂 🙂 🙂
How long’s it been since you had tapioca? Don’t you love that this one doesn’t cook in milk? 🙂 But you can pour over that creamy coconut milk or cream or raw milk, as desired afterwards…
The photo below shows Tapioca Floats with decaf espresso and pure maple syrup poured over. This could easily be made with herbal coffee as well, and then topped with creamy milk of choice. Or, cold water, for a more refreshing version. Both are wonderful.
- In a saucepan, bring water and sea salt to a boil.
- Stir in the tapioca granules. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer.
- Cook for 13 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until most of the granules are transparent.
- Remove tapioca from heat and chill overnight or several hours until cold and set.
- Ladle into bowls or glasses and top with desired float ingredients: milk of choice, sweetener, or water, tea, herbal coffee, coffee etc. Eat with a spoon or drink intermittently.
Here's where to buy organic tapioca granules.
Is tapioca actually a complex carb?
An unexpected discovery happened in trying this food again after many years: our bodies loved it.
I thought maybe I’d get shaky, that it would be too starchy, that it wouldn’t be a good fit for us. But instead — we always eat it with protein first — our bodies felt fueled and happy — as if we’d just eaten a complex carb, not a starchy thing that won’t keep giving energy.
My confusion stemmed from the fact that tapioca products are indeed too starchy for those on the GAPS Diet, same as whole cassava root, from which tapioca is derived. They’re meant to be introduced further down the healing path.
So is tapioca worth introducing at all? Is it remotely healthy?
Nutrition in tapioca
Most articles on tapioca depict it as a carbohydrate with little nutrition, while others claim it contains beneficial amounts of calcium (30 mg per serving), folate (6 mcg), manganese (8% of your body’s daily needs), iron (13% of your body’s daily needs), potassium, and some sources say vitamin C.
Why was my family experiencing a surge of lasting energy after consuming it?
As mentioned above, tapioca is indeed a complex carbohydrate. This means that it digests slowly, providing long-term energy to the body, instead of causing an insulin spike and being stored as fat … a cycle that can cause blood sugar issues.
The glycemic load of tapioca
All carbs are converted into glucose by the body.
But if there is too much glucose, the body will release excess insulin and store the unused energy as fat. The glycemic index (GI) was introduced to help prevent and control diabetes, so patients could know which foods would cause the insulin spike and which carbs would digest more slowly, providing a balanced energy source.
While the glycemic index (GI) measures how much of an insulin spike different carbohydrates cause, there is a newer measurement called the glycemic load (GL) that measures how much of that carbohydrate ratio-wise is in a certain food.
This is where tapioca is vindicated. While tapioca is relatively high on the glycemic index (which is why I thought it might make me shaky), it is low on the glycemic load, meaning my body doesn’t release a lot of insulin to process the glucose.
The glycemic index of tapioca is 85, which is considered high (and bad).
The glycemic load of tapioca is 12, which is considered low (and good).
How is tapioca made
I contacted Let’s Do Organic to find out how tapioca is made. Here’s how they explained their process of turning organic cassava into tapioca pearls:
The tapioca starch is mixed with some water to dampen it, and it is then forced through a screen to make small particles. These are tumbled to build layers and get them round, and then sorted through a screen to size them to the different tapioca pearl sizes. The pearls are then dried to about 12% moisture to reduce the water activity and keep them stable. The granules are basically the same process, but additional water is added to the small particles of tapioca while they are heated to ‘gelatinize’ the starch. They swell and change structure. They are then dried, and as they were hydrated once, they cook faster the second time, hence the ‘minute’ tapioca. It’s a process of crumbling, cooking, grinding, drying, sieving, and finally is transferred to humidity to moisture the product, and sieved once again.
There is never any high pressure used. The techniques are sometimes mechanized, but still use basic indigenous cooking methods.
Tapioca was first developed in America. It’s a native American crop, and was used in the 19th century for babies, the elderly and invalids because of how easy it is to digest.
While it may not be rich in vitamins and minerals, it does provide important carbohydrates.
Is bubble tea as healthy as tapioca
By the way, if you’re curious, bubble tea is the unnatural cousin to tapioca and best to be avoided.
Bubble tea does use modern processing methods, like microwave heat, and usually has added industrial ingredients beyond tapioca itself.
In conclusion, is tapioca a complex carbohydrate? YES!
It may not be nutrient dense. BUT it will yield lasting energy, won’t cause an insulin spike, and in moderation it’s an acceptable food for a well-rounded diet.
For those on restricted diets, it’s a boon of fun, a healthy treat.
Here’s how Tapioca Floats look with raw cream, espresso, and maple syrup poured over top…! Beautiful.