3 Go-To Grain Free Flours

grain free flour

By Balanced Babe Contributor: Sophia Ntovas

I have been gluten free for the past 3 years and recently fell in love with grain-free flours. The past couple of months in and out of quarantine having given light to my inner baker and I am living for it. It is so much fun to be creative with your recipes and spruce them up with something other than an ‘all-purpose gluten free flour’–not to mention all the extra nutritional benefits! While I have dabbled in the world of grain-free flours for quite some time, I find myself coming back to the same three due to their accessibility, ease, and success rate in recipes: almond, coconut, and cassava flour. Each of the flours are wonderfully different, but a staple in their own right!

ALMOND FLOUR

Almond flour is a nut flour made from ground almonds. When you go to the store, you may see many different options on the shelf: blanched, meal, etc. While blanched almond flour uses the almonds without their skin,  almond meal is made from ground, raw, whole almonds that still have the skin on them. Recipes typically will call for blanched almond flour rather than meal due to its finer texture.

Nutritional Info

  • High in protein and low in carbs–pretty much everyone’s dream flour.
  • Almond flour is high in healthy, monounsaturated fats. However, once the almond flour is baked the structure of the fats are changed and its concentration may vary.
  • Good source of fiber and vitamin E, containing 7.4 mg of vitamin E/ounce!
  • Mineral rich, as it has high contents of magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper, and manganese
  • 640 calories/cup, 200 more calories than 1 cup of wheat flour

Cooking & Baking Tips

  • Substitute 1:1 for regular all purpose flour
  • It is a thicker flour, producing denser products! It may require an additional egg than conventional flour.
  • Almond flour has a lower heat point, making it easy to burn and fragile in texture. Make sure to keep your heat down and carefully remove your product when finished.
  • Best used for: cakes, muffins, and crusts

COCONUT FLOUR

Coconut flour is a bit of a lighter flour, made from the meat of coconuts. Its final products contain a mild, coconut flavor. 

Nutritional Info

  • Highest in fiber out of the three flours
  • 1 cup=25 grams of protein!
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Contains essential fats that have antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties.
  • Good for bone health, heart health, and thyroid health!

Cooking & Baking Tips

  • Substitute ⅓-¼: 1 cup conventional flour
  • It may soak up more water due to its high fiber content. Beware and adjust accordingly!
  • Best used for: baking breads and desserts

CASSAVA FLOUR

Cassava flour hails from the yuca root, a starchy root vegetable from the tropical regions of South America. The flour is made by drying and grating the root, producing a lovely,  lighter flour. Its earthy and nutty flavor earns its unique, yet coveted place on the grocery store shelves!

Nutritional Info

  • Highest in carbohydrates among the three flours, but least caloric 
  • Low in sodium, fat, and sugar
  • Serves as a good source of vitamin C
  • Moderate source of vitamin B complex group of vitamins such as riboflavin, vitamin B-6, folates, thiamin, and pantothenic acid
  • High in potassium

Cooking & Baking Tips

  • Best used for: baking and thickening

Takeway: Almond flour is highest in protein and fat content, while coconut flour is highest in fiber, and cassava is highest in carbohydrates. Substitutional flours don’t all work the same and should be treated differently in the way they are incorporated and portioned into recipes. Have some fun, be fearless, and try them out in your next recipe!

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