Alternative Flours and How to Use Them

With so many allergy friendly recipes floating around you’ve probably seen some that use alternative flours. They aren’t ingredients to be afraid of, but they definitely bake differently than traditional all-purpose flour. If you are not gluten free or disinterested in alternative flours I recommend using whole wheat flour to bump up the nutrition with one simple exchange!


My Top 6 Alternative Flours

  1. Almond flour – Almond flour is made of blanched almond that are ground into a meal (you may see it labeled as almond meal). Because it’s made from almonds this flour is high in protein, healthy fats and vitamin E. This is a great alternative for bread crumbs and it works well in baked good such as brownies, banana bread and pound cake.
  2. Coconut flour – Coconut flour is made from dried coconut meat that is ground into a flour. Coconut is high in fat and fiber so the flour is as well. This type of flour has a slightly sweet taste and works well in baked goods that are dense. It should be used in combination with other flours and ingredients that help recipes rise, such as eggs.
  3. Oat flour – Oats are gluten free if they are labeled as such. Oat flour is made from ground oats. The bonus to this flour is that you can make it at home from regular old oats! If you’re in a pinch this will work just fine in most recipes. Grind oats in a food processor until it forms a fine powder.
  4. Buckwheat flour – Buckwheat is also gluten free even though it contains the word “wheat.” Buckwheat seeds are ground to make buckwheat flour. This flour has a slightly nutty flavor and it is rich in fiber, calcium and protein. Use this flour in recipes that do not need to rise, such as pancakes and cookies.
  5. Chickpea flour – Chickpea flour (gram flour) is made from ground garbanzo beans (chickpeas). This flour is commonly used in Middle Eastern and Indian cuisine. It does taste like chickpeas so it is great to use in chocolate baked goods and pizza crust. You can even use it to make a super easy hummus. It should be combined with other flours in recipes that need to rise. This flour is high in fiber.
  6. Quinoa flour – Quinoa flour is made from ground quinoa seeds. Quinoa is a complete protein meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids. This is another type of flour that you can make at home! Quinoa flour should be combined with other flours in most recipes.

P.S. Ground flaxseed is one of my favorite things to add to baked goods, salads and other meals to add fiber, protein and omega-3 fatty acids.


Super Seed Energy Bites

super seedOne of my favorite things to do is take my time around the grocery store and finding new products to use. Remember… I’m a dietitian! Trader Joe’s always seems to be the best place to find things. This Super Seed & Ancient Grain Blend is amazing. It’s a mix of sprouted buckwheat groats, chia seeds, golden flax seeds, shelled hemp seeds, sprouted millet, organic red quinoa, and organic amaranth. I’ve talked about chia seeds and quinoa before so let’s chat about the other ingredients.

Buckwheat groats and amaranth are pseudocereals related to quinoa. They are both loaded with minerals, antioxidants, and fiber which can improve heart health! Millet is an actual grain that is high in copper, phosphorous, and magnesium. Flax seeds are found in this blend and added on the outside of these energy bites. These seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber to help improve digestive health. Last, but not least are hemp seeds which I believe are the real star of this mix. They are one of the few plant-based complete proteins blended with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Super Seed Energy Bites


  • 1 cup pitted datesDSC_0604
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 2 tbsp Super Seed & Ancient Grain Blend
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder


In a blender or food processor, add cashews and chop until they are in small pieces. Remove nuts and set aside. Add 1/2 cup of dates and juice of 1 lemon to the food processor and chop until well combined. Add the remaining dates and lemon juice. Chop again. Place mixture in a medium bowl. Add chopped cashews, shredded coconut, and super seed blend. Stir together until everything is well mixed. Roll into small balls (makes 8-10) and set on wax or parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together ground flax seed and unsweetened cocoa powder. Take each ball and roll in the flax seed and cocoa powder mixture until completely coated. Once all balls are coated, place in the refrigerator to set.

Number of servings: 4-5 | Serving size: 2 balls
Calories: 242, total fat: 13 g, total carbohydrates: 37 g, dietary fiber: 6 g, sugars: 23 g, protein: 5 g


What is your favorite super seed and how do you like to use it? Tell me below!