Allergy / Carbohydrates / Fibre

Gluten-Free Grain Alternatives!

Happy Friday everyone! With all the buzz that continues around gluten-free diets, we thought we’d feature a fabulous article by a guest blogger, Chris Bekermeier who gives a great breakdown of the Gluten-Free Grain Alternatives! It’s so great to know there are many other options out there for scrumptious grains – and sans gluten. Check out the recipes for each one too. Yum!

-A.

Gluten-Free Grain Alternatives

Whether you’re new to the gluten-free lifestyle or have been avoiding gluten for years, it’s helpful to have a ready selection of gluten-free grain alternatives on hand. Do you know which alternatives are the most versatile?  Which ones do you already keep in your pantry, and which ones seem extravagant? Which ones are worth trying out? To help answer these questions and expand your meal options, here’s a look at five excellent gluten-free grain alternatives and ideas for using them.

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Buckwheat: Although it often looks and behaves like a grain, buckwheat is actually a fruit, one that is available in groats or as flour. You’ve probably had it in pancakes, a popular breakfast selection among those avoid gluten and those who don’t. But there’s more to this nutty, slightly bitter flavor than pancakes — a lot more. With the right recipes, you can use buckwheat in everything from muffins to porridge to cookies to bread. Here’s a great recipe to check out:

  • Buckwheat Thumbprint Poppy Cookies: Laced with poppy seeds, these little thumbprint cookies from A Sweet Spoonful are as pretty as they are delicious. What’s more, with 100 percent buckwheat flour, they demonstrate the versatility and value of buckwheat in baked goods.

Quinoa: The Whole Grains Council refers to quinoa as a pseudo-cereal, which means that it can act and taste like a grain, with a similar nutritional profile, but is, in fact, different. From a botanical standpoint, quinoa is related to beets, chard and spinach, and its greens as well as its seeds may be eaten. Ideas for using quinoa include soups, salads, cookies, breading and more. Here’s an idea for using quinoa in your kitchen soon:

  • Quinoa Tabbouleh: This quinoa spin on traditional tabbouleh is bright, refreshing, and satisfying. What’s more, it’s pretty simple. After cooking the quinoa, all you need to do is toss ingredients to combine.

Amaranth: Rich in protein, amaranth offers a pleasant peppery, nutty flavor. Like quinoa, it is technically a pseudo-cereal. It works nicely in porridge, soup, baked goods such as breads and muffins, or even popped like a cereal. Here’s an innovative idea for using it below:

  • Puffmaranth: Make your own amaranth cereal by following this recipe from the blog Edible Perspective. In return for heating amaranth over the stove you get a delightful morning cereal free of all gluten and great for pairing with fruit and milk.

Arrowroot Powder: A stabilizer and thickener like cornstarch, arrowroot powder (sometimes called arrowroot starch) can thicken soups or puddings or add stability to baked goods like cookies. It’s white and powdery, with an appearance similar to powdered sugar, and it contains no gluten. Try it in the pudding recipe here:

  • Coconut Chocolate Pudding: This arrowroot-thickened pudding recipe from 101 Cookbooks has a coconut milk base, making it free of dairy as well as gluten. What’s more, it’s what author Heidi Swanson calls her “favorite pudding recipe to date.”

Millet: Millet is actually a grass, but with a small seed that grows in various shapes and sizes and which may be used like a grain. Millet works wonderfully in salads, soups, porridge, or in cookies or muffins. Try using it in the recipe listed here:

  • Roasted Broccoli & Cheddar Millet Bake: Cheesy and comforting, this millet bake combines roasted broccoli with cheddar and millet to create a casserole-esque dinner perfect for the winter months.

Your Thoughts

Taking a look at the grains listed above, how do they compare with the grains in your kitchen? Do you already use these grain alternatives? Why or why not? What other gluten-free grain alternatives do you enjoy most?

 About the author:

Chris Bekermeier is Vice President, Sales & Marketing, for PacMoore (http://www.pacmoore.com/), headquartered in Hammond, Indiana. PacMoore is one of the leading certified gluten free food manufacturers focused on processing dry ingredients for the food and pharmaceutical industries. Its capabilities include blending, spray drying, re-packaging, sifting, and consumer packaging.

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