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FLOUR CHART: How Gluten Free Flours Compare for Carbs and Protein Content

Flour Comparison Chart for Carbs and Protein Content

The figures above are based on a serving size of 1/4 cup (4 Tb).   **You are welcome to borrow this chart and information for your site, please just link back here, thanks!

Are you running out of room for your gluten free flours?
Confused about which are healthiest?

This is an article that I have been intending to write for quite some time to help gluten free cooks and bakers make smart choices when it comes to navigating the wide world of flours! There is no question that there are more flours available now, commercially, than at any other time. People are not only interested in expanding home cooking and culinary adventures, but are savvier when it comes to nutrition and the benefits of food-based wellness. Many of us are learning how to cater to food intolerances in our home kitchens and taking responsibility for eating well. There are an almost overwhelming variety of flours, starches and meals which can be combined or used alone to bake, thicken and coat. You may think that flour is flour and that some are merely gluten free or grain free, but the truth runs deeper than that.

There is some confusion about flours versus starches. In some cases (such as with tapioca flour/starch) they are one and the same, perhaps because tapioca is virtually all starch to begin with. In general though, the difference between starches and flours seems to be that flours are made from dried and ground grains (or tubers or nuts) and have the protein and fiber intact, whereas the starches have the fiber and protein removed, leaving nearly pure carbohydrates. Starches are excellent for smoothly thickening sauces and gravies, and are often ingredients in gluten free baking mixtures. However, people who are aiming for a low-carb diet, either for weight loss or because they are diabetic (or want to avoid BECOMING diabetic) will find that starches and certain flours quickly topple the daily allowances and spike blood sugars.

Flours and meals are not created equally (since all foods are not created equally) and flours are merely ground up versions of the food as a whole. You will notice that the flours made from nuts and legumes are in the top of my chart, having the lowest net carbs and highest protein counts. Starches and rice flours which are often used in gluten free baking are at the bottom of my chart because they have such high carb counts and very little protein.

You can also see by the placement of traditional flours that even if you are not on a gluten free diet, wheat flours are far from the healthiest of choices! For instance, even whole wheat flour (which seems to be the darling of the grain industry), has more than SIX times the net carbs of almond flour. Pastry flour which is found in many commercial baked goods has NINE times as much. All those carbs convert to sugar, which spikes insulin… repeated insulin spikes lead to insulin resistance, which in turn can lead to diabetes, visceral fat, inflammation and obesity.

While it is true that the healthiest alternative flours require different methods of preparation and even to some degree their very own recipes, it is well worth the effort to learn to bake with them. My personal favorite flours are almond flour, coconut flour, garbanzo bean flour, flax meal and occasionally buckwheat flour. I am open to learning more, always, and that list very well may expand in the near future!

ABOUT THIS CHART:  I have created the chart above to summarize some of the common (and uncommon) flours that are frequently used in gluten free baking, as well as to compare them to the old standards (in red, not gluten free.) This chart uses Bob’s Red Mill products nutritional information as a source because it was readily available online; however, this is not a specific endorsement of their products. I do use Bob’s Red Mill occasionally, but I also use Nuts.com as well other specialty brands and bulk products.  Other manufacturers may vary somewhat, but because the flours are derived from the same sources, the numbers should be similar, and the spot checking I did to compare to other brands showed the exact same results.  The ratings are my own opinion only, based on net carbs and protein.

Serving size in the chart above is ¼ cup (4TB).  Number values represent grams (other than calories.) Note that Net Carbs is equal to Total Carbs minus Fiber, which is why flax meal can have a net carb count of zero.  Low Net Carbs and high Proteins are the best choices when looking to keep blood sugar levels balanced; even though that may mean the flour is higher in calories, it also means that it is much more filling, and it doesn’t drive cravings. While this chart may be a good starting point, obviously these numbers don’t tell the whole story, and different flours have different nutritional benefits unique to their source, and I hope to highlight some of my favorites in upcoming articles. When choosing flours, personal taste is also a major factor, as the flavors can be quite different from the wheat flours we have been conditioned to eat.

I hope that this answers some questions that you may have had about why I, or other gluten free bloggers, choose the flours that we do, and helps you to make good choices in your own kitchen! Stay tuned for a super delicious PIZZA recipe featuring garbanzo bean flour very soon 🙂  This is a socca style done in a pan or on a griddle, and met with rave reviews from the guys…

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Garlic Tomato Scrambled Eggs with Garden Herbs (Low carb, Gluten free)

Garlic Tomato Scrambled Eggs with Garden Herbs

 

GOOD MORNING SUNSHINE!!! Just a quick breakfast post for Tuesday morning…

I still struggle with eating a morning meal most days, and I know it’s important. It’s funny, I only realized I was gluten intolerant this year, but my go-to has always been an “Eggy” breakfast. I didn’t know why, but I always felt terrible if I ate waffles, pancakes, doughnuts, or cereal, so I didn’t… but those are generally the most convenient, so I had a bad habit of skipping it entirely.

Today I wanted eggs, but was craving more flavor:

  1. Saute 1 clove garlic, finely diced, in 1 tsp butter until tender (or browned if you like the taste)
  2. Add 1/2 tomato, finely diced, saute a minute more
  3. Add 2 organic eggs scrambled with 1 TB heavy cream
  4. Scramble eggs until nearly cooked
  5. Add 1 oz shredded white sharp cheddar, toss to melt
  6. Plate the eggs and top with your choice of fresh garden herbs
    Today I used fresh chives and oregano.

Really quick, delicious, low carb and gluten free. The garlic and tomato really add depth of flavor, and choosing sharp cheddar adds a nice zing to the balance. Fresh herbs are great with eggs, and having a few in the garden or pots will definitely add a nice dimension to your cooking. The earliest herbs in my garden are chives, oregano, sage and thyme since they are perennials and come back every year. It always takes some patience waiting for the tender annual basil to get big enough that it won’t die from me stripping off the leaves too soon, 😉 but basil is a fabulous complement to eggs, tomato and garlic as well.

 

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Seared Sea Scallops with Sauteed Greens and Mushrooms

Seared Sea Scallops with Sauteed Greens and Mushrooms

I usually determine what we’ll eat by what I find on sale or fresh at the market. I rarely go out looking for specific ingredients unless I am preparing food for guests, or because one of us has a serious craving. The seafood sale at VG’s on jumbo sea scallops is what landed them in my freezer, and pulling them out for Mother’s Day dinner seemed like a brilliant idea! (Except to my son, who won’t eat anything that swims… for him it was crisped ham.) These were particularly large and beautiful, and the 6 scallops weighed just over a pound.

While the weather was stunning on Sunday and I considered grilling, scallops are so delicate (and I only had a few), that I wanted to have more control over the cooking process so that they didn’t end up overcooked. That is one of my biggest pet peeves in the food world, going to a restaurant, ordering something that should be succulent, and ending up with an expensive platter of rubbery food. Not that it doesn’t happen to the best of us at times, but ruined seafood makes me want to cry!

I had fresh spinach and turnip greens in the fridge, along with crimini mushrooms, and decided that they would make an awesome accompaniment to the seared scallops, along with a caprese salad of tomato, fresh mozzarella and herbs. It turned out to be an incredible dinner!

Seared Sea Scallops with Sauteed Greens and Mushrooms

To make the scallops:

  • 1lb sea scallops, fresh or thawed and dried of excess moisture
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • coconut oil

Heat a heavy pan over high heat for several minutes. Add several tablespoons of coconut oil, allowing it to melt and then become hot. Carefully add the scallops one at a time, searing on one side for about 3 minutes, or until they start to brown. (If using smaller scallops, adjust the time accordingly so that they are not overcooked.) Gently turn scallops, carefully loosening from the pan with a sharp spatula if needed; cook another 3 minutes and remove from pan and set aside. Reserve oil and juices in pan and cook mushrooms as below.

To make the mushrooms:

  • 1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • remaining oil and juice, plus more coconut oil if needed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4C-1/2C white wine to deglaze pan

Keeping the pan hot from searing the scallops, add the mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, and cook for 5 minutes or so, until they reach the desired doneness. You may need to add a little oil because ‘shrooms can act like little sponges and soak it up. In my case, I hadn’t planned on using the wine, but there was a little stickage at the bottom of the pan (as you can see in the pic) after cooking the scallops, so when the mushrooms were almost done, I just poured in the wine (honey mead actually), and deglazed, working all the stuck bits into a delicious flavoring for the mushrooms. When done, remove mushrooms from pan and set aside. Keeping the pan hot, reserving any remaining juices and oil, and continue to cook the greens as below.

To make the greens:

  • 1lb of fresh, cleaned, greens (I used about half spinach and half turnip greens)
  • coconut oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4C pinenuts to garnish

Still using the same pan, melt a little more oil if needed and start adding the greens to the pan. Greens cook down a LOT, so you will want to add them in stages, because they will be overflowing if you dump all of them in at once. When the greens are wilted, add salt and pepper to taste, and cook to your desired doneness.

To assemble the plate: Arrange greens on the plate, top with scallops, surrounded by mushrooms. I added a few pinenuts to add another flavor and texture. This is a very easy and elegant dinner, which cooks up rather quickly, using the same pan for each stage of the cooking process, while keeping the ingredients separate and distinct until they are plated.

 

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