More and more people are suffering from gluten allergies these days. The upside to this widespread allergy is that many people have been working hard on finding delicious, healthy alternatives to wheat. While some of these “experiments” have not been so successful, there are some gluten-free flours out there that are so good, you won’t ever miss wheat flour again.
1. Coconut Flour
This flour comes from the meat part of the coconut, which is then dried. Not only is it one of the best-tasting wheat flour alternatives, it is also loaded with health benefits. Coconut flour is high protein and fiber, yet low in sugar and carbohydrates. It is also low on the glycemic index, which means it won’t cause a healthy spike in your blood sugar.
While you can use this flour similar to wheat flour, be warned that it is extremely prone to clumps and is more absorbent, meaning you will need to use more eggs/liquid than usual when using it to bake.
2. Chia Seed Flour
This flour can easily be made at home by simply grinding up some chia seeds using a coffee grinder. Chia seeds are extremely rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Chia seed flour is convenient because it can easily be substituted for wheat flour on a 1:1 basis for most recipes. You may occasionally need to increase the amount of liquid used or the cooking time.
3. Almond Flour
This flour comes in two varieties—“fine-ground” and “course-ground.” Unlike coconut flour, almond flour is less absorbent than regular flour, thus you will need to be careful with how much liquid you use. You can easily find great recipes for brownies, banana bread, and pancakes made from almond flour.
4. Chickpea Flour
Rich in protein, fiber, and iron, chickpea is also low in calories and carbs. When used in baking, it is best not on its own but with one or more gluten-free flours. When first using chickpea flour, it’s best to utilize a recipe specifically made for this type of flour, such as chickpea flour quiche or chickpea gingersnap cookies.
5. Rice Flour
Rice flour can be used for many of the cooking purposes that you would use regular flour for, such as thickening soups and stews or making a batter for chicken tenders. When using it to bake, however, rice flour cannot be used on its own and some other gluten-free alternatives will still need to be used.
6. Buckwheat Flour
This flour alternative has a rich, nutty flavor that is excellent for baking most pastries. To replace wheat flour, you should use half buckwheat flour and half gluten-free all-purpose flour for the best taste and texture.
7. Quinoa Flour
Quinoa is packed with nutrients and is rich in protein, and flour made from quinoa offers the same benefits. This flour is best used when mixed with another flour, otherwise your baked goods may crumble and fall apart.
Many of these wheat-alternative flours can be found in your local grocery or health food store. As mentioned with chia seed flour, some of them can even be made at home. You will likely need to play around with these different flours a bit and see which ones you like the best for which recipes. Once you find the ones that work best for you, you’ll never miss wheat flour again.