Whether you’re gluten-sensitive or just want to avoid the white stuff, here are five good options to choose instead
When it comes to flour, there’s no longer a one-bag-fits-all policy. Products made from nuts, soy, and ancient grains have sprouted on store shelves, and they’re worth a second glance. Not only do the different types of flour give you a chance to experiment with textures and flavors when cooking and baking, but they’re also another way to increase the nutritional variety in your diet. In time for baking season, check out these not-so-run-of-the-mill flour substitutes.
Naturally grain-free, this Paleo-friendly flour contains protein, healthy fats, and 35 percent of your RDA for vitamin E. One caveat: You must refrigerate or freeze it after opening to prevent spoiling.
Best For: Coating chicken or fish; in meatballs, crab cakes, or anywhere else you’d use bread crumbs; or for replacing up to one-fourth of the white flour in cakes, muffins, pancakes, and cookies.
Per 1/4 cup: 160 cal, 14 g fat (1 g sat), 6 g carbs (1 g sugar), 0 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 6 g protein
Ground soybeans deliver calcium, fiber, and more than triple the protein of white pastry flour.
Best For: Thickening sauces, gravies, or soups; or swapping in (up to one-third the amount) for white flour in non-yeasted recipes.
Per 1/4 cup: 120 cal, 6 g fat (1 g sat), 8 g carbs (2 g sugar), 0 mg sodium, 3 g fiber, 10 g protein
This nutrient-packed flour contains a complete protein: one that provides all of the essential amino acids. To get rid of quinoa’s natural bitterness, grind your own flour, baking the quinoa first on a parchment-lined sheet at 215°F for 10 minutes.
Best For: Upping the healthiness of cookies and cakes. Cut it with an equal amount of white flour—the texture will be a bit more grainy than usual, but the result will be so much better for you.
Per 1/4 cup: 110 cal, 1.5 g fat (0 g sat), 18 g carbs (0 g sugar), 8 mg sodium, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein
High in fiber, barley can help lower blood cholesterol and sugar levels. Just make sure to look for a whole-grain variety.
Best For: Fluffy biscuits, breads, and pancakes that are less dense than you’d make with wheat flour.
Per 1/4 cup: 110 cal, 0 g fat, 23 g carbs (0 g sugar), 3 mg sodium, 5 g fiber, 3 g protein
Made from one of the so-called ancient grains, spelt flour has a slightly sweet, nutty taste and bakes up lighter and softer than whole-wheat flour, but it’s still fiber-rich. (Be sure the label says whole-grain—not all varieties are.)
Best For: Baked goods, pizza crusts, and breads. Unlike some other flours (soy, quinoa), spelt can be subbed for white flour one-for-one without changing the consistency of the end product.
Per 1/4 cup: 120 cal, 1 g fat (0 g sat), 22 g carbs (0 g sugar), 1 mg sodium, 4 g fiber, 4 g protein