4 Healthier Flours for Breading, Baking, and More

Updated on September 30th, 2020
Healthy Flours

Once dominated by kitchen staple all-purpose flour, a stroll down the flour aisle now reveals an ever-expanding selection of flour choices. Made from cereal grains, nuts, beans, and even root vegetables, this fantastic collection can contribute an array of new textures, flavors, and nutrients to everyday baking and cooking.

While they initially catered to people with intolerances or food allergies or those who adhere to special diets, alternative flours increasingly appeal to individuals only looking to incorporate more variety to their diet.

And from nutty, rich almond flour to earthy, sweet oat flour, they certainly provide delicious incentives to experiment with your loving recipes.

It’s essential to note, though, that not all flour alternatives can be replaced with all-purpose flour in a one-to-one ratio (not even whole-wheat flour). Their differing nutrition profiles make some well-suited for baking and others excellent for binding, thickening, or frying.

Here, we discuss some of the most well known, nutrient-dense offerings and inform you how to use them.

1. Almond Flour

Almond flour is prepared from whole almonds blanched to take away the skins and then finely ground. On the other hand, Almond meal is designed from ground almonds with the skins intact, which gives a coarser texture. They can often be used reciprocally, with some exclusions based on the recipe.

Almond flour is high in heart-friendly fats and has triple the fiber and double the protein compared to all-purpose flour. And with just a fraction of the carbohydrates, it’s a brilliant option for those avoiding gluten and the carb-conscious baker.

Nuanced and nutty, almond flour can add moisture, depth of flavor, and tenderness to baked foods. But because of its poor binding ability and fine texture, it shouldn’t be used as a 1-to-1 swap for wheat flour.  Add around 1/3 cup almond flour per cup of wheat flour in yeast dough recipes, such as rolls and bread.

For non-yeast treats like cakes, cookies,  and muffins, substitute almond flour for up to 1/4th of the recipe’s flour.

This nut-based flour reigns supreme in recipes where tenderness and moisture are vital attributes—think waffles, pancakes, and cake. Beyond baked goods, breakfast can also be used as a gluten-free breading for chicken, fish, and beef.

A 56-gram (1/2-cup) serving of almond flour offers [1]:

  • Protein: 12 grams
  • Calories: 340
  • Carbs: 12 grams
  • Fat: 30 grams
  • Calcium: 5% of the DV
  • Fiber: 4 grams
  • Potassium: 8% of the DV
  • Iron: 6% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 100% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 65% of the DV

[Also Read: Almonds for Weight Loss]

2. Quinoa flour

Quinoa flour is prepared by grinding quinoa to prepare a fine powder. This gluten-free pseudocereal is widely regarded as a whole grain, which means that it hasn’t been refined and processed, leaving its initial nutrients intact.

Notably, it’s a good source of fiber, protein, iron, and unsaturated fats. Furthermore, it boasts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that may inhibit tumor growth, benefit digestive health, and lower overall disease risk.

A 56-gram (1/2-cup) serving of quinoa flour offers [2] :

  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Calories: 200
  • Carbs: 38 grams
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 6 grams
  • Potassium: 4% of the DV
  • Iron: 33% of the DV

Quinoa flour gives a moist, tender texture to baked goods. Substitute it for 1/2 the quantity of wheat flour in many recipes.

Few individuals find this flour bitter, but you can diminish the aftertaste by toasting it on a dry skillet over medium flame for 5–10 minutes, stirring gently, before including it in your recipe.

Quinoa flour is great for muffins, pancakes,  and pie crusts, and pizza. You may also use it to thicken sauces and soups.

[Also Read: Amazing Quinoa Benefits]

3. Coconut flour

This is one of our favorite flour alternatives, particularly for baked items. If you’re preparing something denser, it offers a really rich texture. Prepared from dried coconut pulp that’s ground up, it has a lower glycemic index and natural sweetness than all-purpose flour (so it won’t spike your blood sugar).

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Plus, it’s rich in fiber, which keeps you fuller longer. 

The only disadvantage to coconut flour is that it’s high in saturated fat, but this kind of fat shouldn’t be a concern for many people in limited amounts. Just keep it in mind if a recipe also calls for eggs or coconut oil, which are also dense in saturated fat.

How To Use It: 

Less is adequate when it comes to coconut flour. You only need ¼ or ⅓  cup of coconut flour for every cup of flour you swap. Since there’s no gluten to bind the recipe together, you may need to increase the recipe’s eggs. Try 1 egg for each ¼ cup of coconut flour. 

A 64-gram (1/2-cup) serving provides :

  • Protein: 8.5 grams
  • Calories: 210
  • Carbs: 34 grams
  • Fat: 13 grams
  • Iron: 22% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Potassium: 18% of the DV
  • Fiber: 25 grams

[Also Read: Why Coconut Flour is the Best

4. Brown Rice Flour

Brown rice flour is the right choice for people who follow gluten-free diets since it is highly nutritious and naturally gluten-free. And unlike many flour blends or gluten-free flours, brown rice flour is minimally processed.

Brown rice flour can thicken up sauces and gravies or combined with other flours when baking, an excellent tip for preparing gluten-free meals during the holiday season!

[Read: Benefits of Brown Rice]

Bottom Line

Healthy flours are more readily available today than ever before. Regular flours are made from wheat, but many others come from naturally gluten-free grains and nuts, such as quinoa, coconut, buckwheat, and almonds. Every kind provides a unique nutrient profile and taste.

You can experiment with multiple flours to find the ones that suit your recipes well. Their ratios aren’t interconvertible, so be sure to look up conversions when cooking/ baking.

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