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Brazilian - ‘cheese’ puffs – dairy-free Pão de Queijo

35 mins
Serves Makes 20-40 bolinhos
Savoury pancakes

Vegetarianism is growing rapidly in New Zealand, but other parts of the world have had meat-free cuisines for centuries. For a rich and varied plant-based diet, talk to Chinese, Indians, Mexicans… Our wonderful volunteers have shared authentic recipes from around the world. Most of these recipes were traditionally vegan, but some were meat-based recipes that have been ‘veganised’. We have collected 31 recipes from 31 different countries to share with you – one for each day of October, World Vegetarian Month.

Thanks to Sam Kate for this Brazilian recipe.


  • 4 cups cooked mandioca/manioc/cassava root/taro (depending on what is available in your country. I used taro for this batch, and bought two medium-sized roots, one yielded 2 cups and the other yielded 4 cups. You can adapt the measurements to match the amount of vegetables you end up with)
  • 4 Cups tapioca starch/arrowroot powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 cups nutritional yeast (V1 in Wellington has cheap nutritional yeast in bulk)
  • 1 Tbs garlic, or approx 8 cloves, adjust to your preference
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Optional - chopped parsley (not very traditional, but delicious! And a good variation if you're avoiding garlic)


  1. Boil and mash your vegetable ahead of time. Combine your tapioca starch and baking powder.
  2. In a separate large bowl mix together the water, oil, salt, nutritional yeast, garlic and lemon juice, and parsley.
  3. Mix in your mash, and then combine with the dry ingredients using your hands. Preheat oven to 190oC fan bake. (If you don't have a fan, bake at 210oC)
  4. Roll into balls and bake on a tray for 20-25 min, until lightly golden. They will have a crunchy exterior and a sticky, 'cheesey' interior. Depending on size of balls you should get between 20-40 bolinhos from 4 cups of taro. Enjoy hot!
  5. If you end up with too much dough you can freeze it in an airtight container to roll and bake later.