6 GLUTEN-FREE FLOURS More Nutrient-Dense Than Regular Flour
Flour is a pantry staple in every cuisine, across the globe. It’s not just bread and pasta and baked goods, but it’s a thickener, a texturizer, and a necessary source of carbohydrates for optimal body, brain, and cell function. But it gets a bad rap — and for good reason.
Most all-purpose flour is refined and bleached with chemical agents, which remove all nutritional value like fiber and other vitamins and minerals. This makes it a rather lackluster source of empty, simple carbs that act like sugar in the body, making our blood sugar spike, and making us feel hangry and depleted not long after consumption.
Besides the total lack of nutritional value and blood sugar risk, refined flours are as addictive as processed sugar — which is no surprise considering the refining process and how they act like sugar in the body. (This is what makes those sugar cookies taste so good!) It might feel cruel to deprive ourselves of that pleasure, but we have to remind ourselves that these are far from whole foods — they are engineered to taste delightful and addicting so that we eat more, and thus, buy more.
Nevertheless, at Amé, we are fans of balance, not total deprivation. Life is about enjoying certain things in more moderation than others when our health is on the line. That being said, there are many flour alternatives on the market today that are not only gluten free — particularly helpful if gluten triggers your body, as it does for many — but also rich in minerals and vitamins so that we can offer our body real substance while we cook, eat, and enjoy food.
Not all flours need to come from grains. In fact, many viable options for baking and cooking come from nuts, seeds, legumes, and even fruiting plants.
This dense flour comes from grinding dried coconut meat into a fine powder. It contains healthy fats, like medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which can help with endurance, recovery, and metabolism. It has a softly sweet, nutty flavor that goes well in both savory and sweet dishes. It’s a great alternative to breadcrumbs or flour in meatballs, but it also makes a dense, rich cake or cookie as well.
It’s not recommended to use coconut flour as a 1:1 ratio with all purpose flour, because it absorbs a lot of liquid. Instead, blending it with other flours in order to be an exact substitute in certain baked dishes is required. When substituting coconut flour for wheat, use about 1/4 of what the recipe calls for, and then replace the remaining 3/4 with another type of flour like quinoa or buckwheat.
This flour is also dense, as well as super versatile and fun to use. It’s rich in protein and fiber, making it a great addition to dinner or breakfast for a well-rounded, nutritious, and satiating meal. Mix it 1:1 with water and a dash of oil for a perfect Farinata dish, chickpea pancakes, waffles, or crepes. Chickpea flour crepes make an excellent stacking option with a delicious crunchy salad! Try it for sweet and savory dishes, and get inspired by the flavors of Indian cuisine.
Despite the name, buckwheat is a grain-like seed unrelated to wheat. It’s nutty, a little tangy, super versatile, and very nourishing. It can lower plasma cholesterol levels, and has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Good for blood sugar regulation, buckwheat can help fight hypertension, is full of fiber and beneficial prebiotics for a healthy gut, and is naturally gluten-free. It works wonderfully for both sweet and savory dishes!
This whole grain is, by definition, unrefined, and an excellent source of protein and fiber. It contains all 9 essential amino acids, b vitamins, magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and other antioxidants for a high profile nutritional load. It’s a great option for baking, and can be subbed for 50-100% in most recipes!
This slightly sweet flour is great in quick breads and baked goods. It’s high in protein and antioxidants, and the high density of it makes it a good candidate for fudgy brownies and richly textured treats. It’s also a great sub for bread crumbs, and offers a delicate, never bitter flavor!
This unique flour is a naturally gluten free tropical grain used predominantly in Ethiopian cuisine. It has a nutty, earthy, slightly sour flavor, and ferments easily for a richly bioavailable dough that feeds our good gut bacteria with both prebiotics and probiotics. It’s a great source of selenium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, and copper for a mineral-rich dietary addition.