Who doesn’t like freshly baked bread or a homemade pie? Food blogs are full of tempting pastry pictures, but health and fitness experts are constantly warning us about the dangers of refined wheat and baked treats. Finding a way to enjoy your favourite foods and avoiding any health harms might not be easy, but it is possible – just give a try to alternative products, which you are not used to!
There are plenty of different types of flour, which can be used as an alternative to wheat flour. All of them have different properties and might give a new twist to your regular dishes, or even inspire you to try something completely new!
1. Bird cherry flour
Bird cherry flour is the most underrated of all flour types and it might be difficult to come by. It has a unique taste with the notes of blueberry and almonds and it is an irreplaceable ingredient for desserts. It is used for dough (you need to mix it with other types of flour), or as a part of pie fillings.
Bird cherry flour is nothing else but finely ground dry berries. It has three times less calories than wheat flour, but much more minerals and vitamins, including iron, magnesium, Vitamin C and carotin. It is used not only for baking and pancakes, but also for preparation of healthy drinks and light liquors.
2. Chestnut flour
Finely ground chestnut is a wonderful gluten-free alternative for wheat flour. It has a slightly sweetish taste which makes it a fantastic ingredient for healthy baked treats.
70% of chestnut flour are easily digested carbohydrates and it contains potassium, magnesium and phosphorus, and its nutritional profile is close to rice or potatoes. It works best for baking bread, cupcakes and pancakes. The most famous dish prepared with chestnut flour is an Italian Tuscan cake castagnaccio.
3. Sesame flour
Everyone knows sesame seeds and sesame oil, and a sesame brittle is a famous dessert around the world, but very few people are familiar with sesame flour. It has a slightly nutty flavour and it is packed with minerals: it is the biggest plant-based source of calcium after poppy seeds.
Sesame flour is widely used for coating, baking, preparations of porridge and salads, as well as a simple dessert with honey and jam.
4. Pea and lentil flour (green pea flour, chickpea flour etc.)
The health benefits of legume family are indisputable. It has a rich nutritional profile, with the high content of protein and healthy fats. The application of pea flour is extremely broad: it is used for bread, porridge, cutlets, pastry, and even noodles.
This type of flour is perfect for weight-conscious. It improves digestion (if cooked properly) and can serve as a great substitute for meat products. You can get more ideas for cooking legumes in our latest (free) lentil recipe ebook.
5. Corn flour
Corn flour has been a staple ingredient in South America for centuries. Despite a high amount of calories and fats, it is easy to digest and it lowers cholesterol levels.
Corn flour can be coarse-grained or fine-grained: the first type is used for bread-baking, and the second type if the best ingredient for elegant desserts. It can also be used for thickening of porridges and cream soups, as well as for preparation of noodles.
I’ve never heard of pumpkin flour or bird cherry flour. My husband is on a gluten-free diet. I wonder if I can make pastry dough.
You can definitely make it from bid cherry flour! With pumpkin flour I’m not sure, you might need to mix it with oats flour, for example, and it will have a very particular taste …
Thanks for this list, there are a few I haven’t tried. We live in American Samoa and there are two flours that are becoming very big around here: Banana and Breadfruit. Take a look, I’d be interested to see how they compare to these.