A List of Gluten Free Grains
Below I've compiled a list of gluten free "grains" - I have grains in quotes there because many of these aren't actually grains in the real sense of the word.
Real cereal grains such as wheat, sorghum etc are in the grass family. But a lot of these tend to serve as grain substitutes in food and also in making gluten free flours.
I for example use quinoa quite a bit as a substitute for rice to serve with vegetarian curries.
- Amaranth - this native of Peru is also widely grown in Mexico, and is actually not a cereal grain but grows as a variety of colorful foliage, giving humans the gift of flowers as well as food. Amaranth is pretty high in protein (28 g in 1 cup) and is also high in Calcium and Iron. I use it to thicken our vegetarian soups and also for baking.
- Arrowroot - again, not a grain, but used for making flour. Actually, arrowroots are eaten in many parts of Africa and Asia just like we eat sweet potatoes and yams in the west.
Fun fact: my mom used to grow arrowroots when I was growing up. True story!
- Buckwheat - also not a grain, and even though it carries the unfortunate name, it's not related to wheat.
- Corn and cornmeal/Maize/grits - Corn meal (Known as Masa in Mexico) is great for corn tortillas (obviously!) but it it is useful in a myriad other ways including thickening vegetabale soups etc
- Flax - I use flax seed meal in my smoothies, salads etc. Ground flax seed is a great source of fiber. It can also added to gluten free baked goods.
- Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean, tapioca etc)
- Millet - this, along with sorghum, is a grain traditionally grown throughout Africa and Asia.
- Quinoa -- Quinoa is actually not a grain, but it looks like a grain and comes in handy as an great substitute for rice and also for pasta. For vegetarians, quinoa is a great choice to replace rice because Quinoa is higher in protein.
- Rice -- we all know good old rice, but it's also used in gluten free pastas and rice flour is a common wheat flour substitute.
- Sorghum - another traditional African and Asian grain. Fun fact: I grew up drinking a (non-alcoholic) fermented brew made from sorghum and millet.
A few western companies have adopted this grain to make gluten free beer. Neat!
- Teff - this tiny little brownish grain actually holds the record for the smallest grain in the world. It is native to Ethiopia, although also grown in Asia and other parts of Africa. In Ethiopia it is used to make a traditional Ethiopian bread called Injera.
Can you see that being on a gluten free diet gives you so many options as compared to depending on "the many names for wheat"?;)
Where Can You Shop for Gluten Free Grains?
You can find most of these gluten free grains and/or respective flours in most of the more established "hippie" food stores, such as Whole Foods, but if you live in an area without one of those, you can get these products online anyway.
If you're like me when I started though, you'll be wondering: OK, what in the world am I supposed to do with these grains and flours?
Well, as I've stated before, I love to experiment with different foods, and that's exactly what I did. I've tried out different gluten free recipes with these flours and I will be sharing a lot of my recipes here. Nothing super fancy, I keep it very simple and practical.
Tip: if you buy any of these flours and they do not have "gluten free" label on them, it's best to check with the companies first.
It could be that the flour is mixed with gluteny flours or just simply that the company can't call it gluten free because they also process wheat in the same facility. Always check if you're not sure.
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