Healthy Baking Flours

A lot of people ask what types of flours I use and why I choose a certain flour for a specific recipe. I’ve experimented quite a bit with different healthy flours in baking, and the type you choose can make all the difference in how baked goods turn out! So here’s a little crash course from my own personal experiences baking with each of these flours. PS, there are definitely tons of other flour options out there – these are just the ones I use on a regular basis/love the most! I’ve also given a small nutritional breakdown. Note that this can vary between brands, and honestly the numbers shouldn’t really matter! All are much better alternatives to white, refined flour, so nutritionally you can’t lose with any of these.

  • Healthy Baking Flours 2Chickpea Flour: 
      • Chickpea flour is simply dried, raw or roasted chickpeas ground into flour. Often at the store it’s sold as a combination and labeled “garbanzo/fava flour” (fava is just another type of bean). Chickpea flour is high in protein and fiber, and won’t spike your blood sugar. It’s gluten free, vegan, and a great source of vitamins and minerals.
      • Favorite recipes: I use chickpea flour in both sweet and savory recipes (the rest of the flours on this list I only use for sweets). It’s extremely versatile, but of all the flours on this list it has the strongest flavor. It’s best saved for baked recipes – when raw it can have too overpowering of a flavor for sweet recipes. But once it’s baked, the flavor is amazing – you’d never know chickpea flour was a main ingredient! For savory dishes, I love to use it as a binder in vegan burgers, for pizza crust, or to thicken sauces (think thick, veggie pot pie filling).
      • Texture/replacement: The texture bakes up very thick, dense, and gooey. I typically replace equal parts chickpea flour  to replace other flour in a recipe.
      • Nutritional breakdown (depending on brand): 1/2 cup = 220 calories, 36g carbohydrates, 12g protein, 20g fiber, 4g fat.

  • Oat Flour: 
    • Oat flour is simply whole grain, rolled oats ground in a food processor until they reach flour consistency. Oat flour is a great source of slowly digested complex carbohydrates, providing lasting energy and satiety – translation, it keeps you nice and full for a long time! Oats are a great source of fiber, and my
    • Favorite recipes: I love oat flour for sweet breakfast recipes (think pancakeswafflesdoughnutsmuffins). Oat flour is also a great option for no bake recipes.
    • Texture/replacement: The texture oat flour creates is very dense, slightly chewy, and it gives off a great nutty flavor. I use equal parts oat flour to replace any other type of flour.
    • Nutritional breakdown (depending on brand): 1/2 cup = 150 calories, 28g carbohydrates, 6g protein, 4g fiber, 2g fat.
  • Coconut Flour: 
    • Coconut flour is made from the solid part of the coconut being ground into flour. It’s naturally gluten free, and has just a slight, very mild coconut flavor. It’s high in fiber and won’t spike your blood sugar like white flour, and it’s packed with fiber which will keep you feeling full and satisfied.
    • Favorite recipes: I love to use coconut flour in sweet desserts like these decadent chocolate cupcakes, these cookies, and bars. It’s also great in no bake recipes!
    • Texture/replacement: Especially when combined with almond or chickpea flour, coconut flour binds desserts together but keeps them from being too heavy or dense in texture. The texture is very light compared to oat or chickpea flour; however, it soaks up a TON of moisture, so you can’t replace equal parts of other flours with the same amount coconut flour.
    • Nutritional breakdown (depending on brand): 1/2 cup = 200 calories, 32g carbohydrates, 8g protein, 20g fiber, 8g fat.
  • Banana Flour:
      • Banana flour is simply ground up, peeled ripe bananas until they reach flour consistency. I just recently discovered this one at my grocery store and it blew my mind! Such a cool concept, and we all know I love bananas. The flavor is not super pronounced, it just smells slightly sweet – but I definitely wouldn’t guess that it was bananas from the smell or taste alone.
      • Favorite recipes: I LOVE using banana flour in baked goods like pancakes and banana breads, anything that you want to resemble a typical bread/dough like consistency in texture. It gives a super chewy texture to whatever you use it for, and that’s my favorite thing about it!
      • Texture/replacement: Like I mentioned previously, banana flour lends a super chewy texture. It soaks up a lot of moisture, so typically I’ll use more almond milk or less flour than I would when using something like oat or almond flour.
      • Nutritional breakdown: 1/2 cup = 52 calories, 22g carbohydrates, 2g protein, 0g fiber, 0g fat.

 

  • Almond Flour: 
      • I definitely use almond flour the least often, and almost always combine it with some other type of flour (typically coconut). You may have heard the terms “almond flour” and “almond meal” – the only difference is that almond flour is made from ground almonds with the skins removed, while almond meal is ground almonds that still have their skin on. I don’t really distinguish between the two when baking, as personally I haven’t noticed a difference in the end result. Almond flour is another great vegan source of protein, high in fiber and healthy fats.
      • Favorite recipes: I have used almond flour alone before and it worked wonderfully, but most often I combine it with other types of flour so that I get the benefit of it’s nutty flavor/texture, but the baked good won’t fall apart. It really just depends on what you’re trying to bake!
      • Texture/replacement: The texture is a little more grainy (in a good way), and it provides a nutty flavor (obviously). Almond flour is very loose, so usually it needs another type of flour combined with it if the baked good/recipe needs to hold together well. I’ve swapped it out for equal amounts of other types of flour before, but be aware that the texture may be much different or depending on the recipe, that the baked good may not hold together as well after baking.
      • Nutritional breakdown (depending on brand): 1/2 cup = 320 calories, 12g carbohydrates, 12g protein, 6g fiber, 32g fat.

Healthy Baking Flours 1

All of these flours are wonderful, healthy options, and most certainly better alternatives to processed, refined white flour that has NO nutritional benefits whatsoever. Experiment with flours and see what you like! All have their own unique flavors and textures, and give great taste  and nutrition to any recipe. What are your favorite healthy baking flours?! I’d love to know of some new ones to try!

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