One of the most common questions that people have when they start following a gluten free lifestyle is what grains can be substituted for wheat? This is a great question and one that I know I had. While you can in theory substitute a lot of grains for wheat, the biggest challenges are: 1. The cost. Many gluten free grains cost significantly more than wheat. 2. The texture- Many gluten free grains cannot be used exactly like wheat and in the same amounts or you will not get a bread, cake, or other recipe that has the same texture and the taste will be quite different. However, there are a variety of grains that can be used in place of wheat. Here are seven of the best gluten free grains and how you can use them.
1. Sorghum. If you are like many people you have never even heard of it. Yet sorghum is a gluten free grain that tastes a lot like wheat and has a texture that is more like wheat than any other grain. For this reason if you read the ingredients on most gluten free breads, cakes, muffins and other baked goods, you will find that in nearly all cases there is some sorghum flour in them.
2. Buckwheat. Yes I know what you are thinking, it has wheat in the name. Yes that’s true but in this case the name does not mean that it has wheat in it. In fact, buckwheat comes from a completely different plant and yes it’s gluten free. Buckwheat can be used in cooking mixes, but it works even better as a cereal or alternative to rice or other cooked grains.
3. Quinoa- While technically a bean and not a grain, it cooks up just like a grain and so it can be used to make flour, pasta and other gluten free recipes.
4. Millet- This underused and under appreciated grain is high in magnesium and really healthy for you. It makes a great cereal, but it can also be used in its flour form to make baked goods. It works best though when combined with sorghum flour.
5. Amaranth- This is another grain that can be mixed to create a great gluten free flour, or it’s good as a cereal.
6. Coconut flour- Yes I know it comes from a fruit but when ground up into flour, it serves as a grain. This is another great option for gluten free flour, however, it does require a lot of eggs or egg substitute. This is the biggest disadvantage to coconut flour. It absorbs liquids much quicker and in a much higher quantity. So mixing it with another flour such as sorghum or quinoa is best.
7. Almond flour- Just like the coconut flour, you wouldn’t think of it as a grain since it comes from a nut, but it works great as a flour when ground up.
Do you have a favorite gluten free grain that I missed? Share below with me in the comments.
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