Rocco DiSpirito’s Five Favorite Gluten-Free Grains

Whole grains yield many health benefits for those on the gluten-free diet. They help provide good sources of needed nutrients including fiber, iron, calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins and magnesium. To help readers learn more about the wide range of gluten-free grains, James Beard award-winning chef Rocco DiSpirito provided Gluten-Free Living with a list of his five favorite gluten-free grains. Experiment with these ingredients to find your own top picks.

 

1. Coconut flour

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If you are used to using gluten-free flours and blends, welcoming coconut flour into your roster should not be too difficult. Keep in mind it is much more absorbent than most other flours, has a slight coconut flavor, and needs many eggs to bind it together. But you will enjoy both health and taste benefits by adding coconut flour to your gluten-free repertoire.


2. Flax

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Flax meal and whole flax seeds are available at natural foods stores and some supermarkets. Store flax meal—home ground or an opened pre-ground package—in the freezer, where it will keep for at least three months. Due to the high oil content, ground flax seeds can quickly turn rancid and develop a strong, unpleasant flavor if stored in a kitchen cupboard. Whole flax seeds, on the other hand, cost less than packaged brown or golden flax meal and will keep for about a year at cool room temperature. You can grind flax seeds into flax meal in just a few seconds using a clean electric coffee mill or a blender, which will give you the freshest and most flavorful results.


3. Sorghum

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Sorghum contains comparable amounts of protein to wheat while being a great source of zinc and iron. This grain is also an excellent gluten-free alternative to couscous. Try sorghum flour for baking—its sweet flavor closely mimics that of wheat flour.


4. Teff

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Teff can be used to make veggie burgers by combining cooked teff with beans or tofu, garlic, herbs and onions. Teff flour combines well with other gluten-free flours, especially in darker items like brownies and cake. Pancakes and waffles can be made with 100 percent teff flour.


5. Buckwheat

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Buckwheat can be made into a side dish, hot cereal or stuffing. Ground buckwheat makes a nutritious hot cereal and may be labeled “cream of buckwheat.” Even though the name may be a bit confusing, there is no wheat in pure buckwheat; however, some baking items such as buckwheat pancake mixes may contain wheat flour, so always check the label.

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