Amaranth flour is a nutritionally dense flour with a mildly sweet and nutty flavor. It yields the best results when mixed with other flours, because a straight 1:1 substitution will create a hard final product. With three times more fiber and fives times more iron than wheat flour, it adds a delicious taste and grainy texture to baked goods. As a general rule, combine one part amaranth flour with 3 parts other flours. Amaranth is great when combined with rice flour, arrowroot, tapioca flour, quinoa flour, oat flour, corn flour, potato starch and soy flour.
Arrowroot is a versatile, gluten-free thickener with a neutral flavor. You can use arrowroot to thicken sauces, pie fillings or puddings. As a rule of thumb, 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons of arrowroot will thicken 1 cup of liquid. Arrowroot is a great substitute for corn starch, without the same chalky taste. Plus, arrowroot aids in digestion due to its high starch content. It acts as a mild laxative for those suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome [IBS.]
Quinoa flour has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. A gluten-free, vegan food, it's wonderful when making healthy breakfast foods, cookies and muffins. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids for the dietary needs of humans. Quinoa contains so many nutrients - from B vitamins to manganese to loads of calcium [one serving contains the same amount that a quart of milk does!] A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recommends at least 3 servings of whole grains, like Quinoa, daily.
Coconut Flour is a fibrous, low-carb flour with a subtly sweet taste. It's well tolerated by those with allergies, but is quite dense for vegan, egg-free recipes. Coconut flour's light flavor makes it perfect for sweet or savory baked goods. It's great for coating proteins, like chicken or fish, in place of regular flour or cornmeal. Because of its high fiber content, coconut flour requires an equal ratio of liquid to flour for best results.
Almond Flour adds structure and texture to foods and baked goods. Filled with protein, fiber, vitamin E and healthy fat, it's a wonderful alternative to gluten-containing, as well as other gluten-free, flours. It's sweet, nutty flavor makes it delicious in pancakes. Keep in mind this flour is high in fat, albeit good fat. Also note that it's Paleo - or entirely grain-free - for those that subscribe to this diet. This is one of my all-around favorites.
Did you know that brown rice flour can assist in weight loss? It can also reduce cholesterol and balance energy, thanks to its B vitamins. This flour has a dry, crumbly texture and is typically less expensive than the other flours. Compared to white rice flour, brown rice flour still contains its husk, which makes it a good selection when considering fiber, vitamins and nutrients, such as calcium and zinc.
Oats are a second favorite of mine, next to almond flour, thanks to their rich texture and taste. Oats are great in muffins, pancakes and most baked goods. They blend nicely with other ingredients or pare down to a nice flour consistency when put in the food processor. They're also high in fiber and protein and contain ingredients that protect against cancer and heart disease. Just be sure that if you're a celiac you are purchasing certified gluten-free oats, as many oats are processed in facilities with wheat and may contain traces of the grain.