Gluten free, grain free, dairy free and nut free baking requires the right balance of ingredients to create the desired end result. Unless specified within the recipe, I haven’t tested an alternative or omission, but encourage you to experiment and report back on your success so everyone can benefit. Alternatively, please choose another recipe from the archives that meets your specific requirements.
Almond flour and almond meal are available at your local market, health food store and in the baking aisle of your local supermarket. The difference is that almond meal is ground whole almonds, whereas almond flour is blanched almonds with the skin removed. Both are interchangeable in most recipes, however the texture will be different. A great idea is to stock up with a friend or two, and split the shipping cost. To make your own, simply blend raw almonds in the food processor!
Almond flour, macadamia nut flour and hazelnut flour can all be made by blending the whole nuts and are relatively interchangeable. Please feel free to use your creative license if you don’t have what a particular recipe calls for.
Coconut flour is a great gluten free alternative but can not be subbed for other nut flours. Due to its density, it often needs one cup of liquid and five to six eggs per cup. I prefer to use a 3:1 or 4:1 blend with almond flour, like in my All Natural Low-Carb Gluten Free Bread. Adding ¼ cup to your favourite recipe is a great place to start and shouldn’t change the liquid requirements or texture too much. To make your own, simply soak 1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes in 4 cups water for several hours and process in a food processor until smooth.
The majority of my recipes use ¼ cup of either coconut oil or organic butter. These are the best choices. Coconut oil is definitely our favourite. Click here to read why. Please do not be afraid of saturated fats – they are a concentrated source of energy and therefore satiating and blood sugar and insulin steadying. Saturated fats are not the cause of high cholesterol or heart disease – this is possibly the biggest nutrition myth of the last five decades. The culprits are trans fats, refined polyunsaturated fats and sugar – please do your best to avoid these.
Flaxseed oil and olive oil make a great sugar free salad dressing with apple cider vinegar. Please do not cook with either as they become unstable at high temperatures and turn rancid.
Sugar free substitutions
We love using just ¼ cup of natural sweetness in baking. For low fructose, keep the rice malt syrup*. For Paleo, use honey or maple syrup. For low carb, use natvia. Feel free to substitute all three equally.
*We use Pure Harvest rice malt syrup and you can purchase this from the health food section of Coles. If your local supermarket is yet to stock it, put in your request here. Please read Rice Malt Syrup: the scoop! to find out more about one of our favourite products.
For more sugar free information, click here.
Quinoa, pronounced keen-wa, is the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant. It is gluten free, grain free, high protein and packed full of nutrients including calcium, iron, zinc and B vitamins! It truly is a superfood and one of my favourite “good carbs”.
Quinoa is delicious as a porridge or bircher muesli, or as a grain free substitute to rice. It’s also fantastic to bulk up salads, soups and casseroles.
Whilst it is grain free, some people experience digestive problems with quinoa. The seed coating contains saponins which can irritate the intestines, so quinoa must be soaked and washed under running water thoroughly before cooking.
Here’s how to prepare quinoa:
- Soak 1 cup of quinoa for 15 minutes then rinse under running water. You can tell when the saponin is removed as it produces a soapy solution in the water.
- Drain the quinoa and add to 2 cups of boiling water.
- Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to simmer. Fluffy gently with a fork mid-way. Cook for 20 minutes or until the edge of the seed separates as a white spiral and the seed turns clear. All of the water should have evaporated.
- Remove from the heat and allow to sit five minutes before serving.
- Store in an airtight and add to your breakfast and salads during the week. Easy!
Make sure you try our Cold Quinoa “Cereal” – it really is the perfect way to start your day!
To make a recipe containing eggs vegan, simply use chia eggs. One chia egg is 1 tablespoon of chia soaked in 3 tablespoons of water for 15 minutes. You may however, find that you don’t need the exact equivalent. I’ve been experimenting with two chia eggs in my breads and muffins and this has been working well. Be flexible, experiment, and most of all, have fun!
In gluten free baking, psyllium husks play a binding role, a job that gluten would otherwise do. If you choose to omit them, the texture and consistency of your end desired will differ. We suggest you stay with the original recipe at least once, then modify accordingly. You can purchase psyllium husks from your local health food store or the health food aisle of your local supermarket.