Your guide to healthier gluten-free baking

While gluten-free cakes, biscuits and slices are ‘sometimes’ foods, getting creative in the kitchen is a sure way to bake healthier options. We take a look a look at five of the most popular gluten-free products trending among foodies.

Australian Sweet Lupin Flour

What is it? Sweet lupin (also known as narrow-leafed lupin) is an edible legume ground into flour or flakes (see next). Almost 80 per cent of the world’s lupin crop is farmed in Australia.

Useful for: “Sweet” might be in the title, but it is very low in carbohydrate compared to other gluten-free flours and neutral in taste. Lupin flour can be used to make bread, chapatis, scones, pancakes, cakes and biscuits, as well as coating fish, chicken or patties. It can also be added to smoothies, soups and breakfast cereals for extra protein and fibre.

What the experts say: “Lupin is the king of legumes with the highest levels of protein and fibre, and very low carb and GI,” says Associate Professor and Accredited Practising Dietitian Antigone Kouris. “By replacing up to half the baking flour with sweet lupin flour, you will transform your recipes into much healthier products,” says Dr Kouris.

The drawback? “People with allergies, especially to peanuts, should avoid lupin,” Dr Kouris warns.

Where to buy it? For stockists visit: www.irwinvalley.com.au and www.lupinfoods.com.au

Dr Antigone Kouris is an Associate Professor at La Trobe University and Director of Melbourne’s Total Nutrition Care www.skinnybik.com  To learn more about Dr Kouris’s products and recipes visit: www.skinnybik.com

Lupin flakes

What is it? Flaked sweet lupin kernals

Useful for: Lupin flakes can be used as a filler in rissoles and falafels and to crumb meat. It can be cooked as a substitute for cous cous, and added to dips, smoothies and cereal.

Preparation: Good-to-go, no cooking necessary.

What the experts say: “Lupin flakes contribute fibre, protein, prebiotics and a good range of vitamins and minerals including calcium and iron, often lacking in the gluten-free diet,” says Accredited Practising Dietitian Sally Marchini, who lives with type 1 diabetes and coeliac disease. She says they’re a great addition to lower the GI of a meal, especially if you cannot tolerate legumes.

The drawback? “Flakes have a harder texture so don’t perform as well in baking,” says Dr Kouris.

Where to buy it? For stockists visit: www.lupinfoods.com.au

Sally Marchini works in private practice at www.marchininutrition.com to help clients be their best and enjoy tasty food, despite medical conditions.

Teff

What is it? This gluten-free grain is a staple in Ethiopian cuisine, with Aussie farmers now growing commercial crops. You can find it as a grain, flakes or flour.

Useful for: Cooked teff can be enjoyed as porridge, in salads, veggie burger patties, soups and slow-cooking. Teff flour can be used in baking, pizza bases, pancakes and bread.

Preparation: To cook teff, add one cup to three cups water and boil for 20 minutes. Teff flour is good-to-go, no cooking necessary.

What the experts say: Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian Sue Radd says teff provides people living with coeliac disease another wholegrain option, and its resistant starch content for good digestive health sets it apart. “Resistant starch is a type of fibre with prebiotic properties that stimulates the growth of good bacteria in the gut.” If you’re curious about teff, Radd, who regularly runs cooking workshops, suggests starting with flour. “Teff flour works well in baked goods where a dark brown colour is desired.”  A recent study published in the Journal of Cereal Science, ranked teff flour favourably for protein, folate, calcium, magnesium and iron content.

The drawback?  “Teff is expensive and the grain form is not very practical due to its miniscule size, so it’s best cooked in combination with other wholegrains,” Radd says.

Where to buy it? Coles supermarket (Coles Brown Teff Grain), Chemist Warehouse (Swisse Wholegrain Teff), your local health food shop or online: tefftribe.com.au/

Sue Radd is founding director of Sydney’s Nutrition and Wellbeing Clinic  www.nwbc.com.au You can view her cooking videos on YouTube: SuperNutritionist, visit Culinary Medicine Cookshops on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @CulinaryMed

Quinoa

What is it? Regarded as a ‘superfood’, quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’) has boomed in popularity. It comes in grains (red, black, white), flakes and ground flour.

Useful for: A gluten-free substitute for cous cous, or alternative to rice. Use it to add bulk to your salad, soup or stew. Quinoa flakes can be used to make porridge, in rissoles, or substitute for breadcrumbs in coating meat.

Preparation: To cook quinoa, rinse one cup in water, then bring to the boil with 2 cups water, before simmering for 12 – 15 minutes until the water is absorbed.

What the experts say: A recent study found compared to rice, sorghum, maize, buckwheat and teff flours, quinoa flour offered the best nutritional value. It had the highest fibre content to help you feel full, and soluble fibre content, which can lower your cholesterol absorption. Because of its higher protein and fibre content than rice, cooked quinoa offers people living with diabetes and coeliac disease a filling, lower GI option. It’s slightly nutty flavour lends itself equally to a filling breakfast porridge or savoury dish, and if you count carbohydrates, a third of a cup cooked quinoa equals one serve/exchange.

The drawback?  More expensive than gluten-containing equivalents.

Where to buy it? Readily available at your local supermarket

Recipe: French style lentils with quinoa salad courtesy of McKenzie’s

You can download a quinoa facts and recipe card here: www.glnc.org.au

 

Nut meal

What is it? Ground nuts (almonds, hazelnut, macadamia, chestnut, cashew)

Useful for: Flourless baking and thickening recipes

What the experts say: Nut meals are a good source of fibre, healthy fats and vitamin E shown to protect against heart disease and diabetes complications. “So look for nut meals ground from whole nuts with skins,” says Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian Lisa Yates. The other key benefit for eating nuts is their GI lowering effect, she explains. “Adding whole nuts to meals with carbohydrates can lower the GI of the meal, reducing the rise in blood glucose following the meal.”

The drawback? Unless you are allergic to nuts, there are no drawbacks from baking with nut meals or adding nuts to your recipes. “Australians are only eating 6g of nuts a day on average, well short of the 30g serve in the Dietary Guidelines,” says Yates.  Time to get nutty!

Where to buy it? Readily available at your local supermarket

For versatile nut recipe ideas visit: www.nutsforlife.com.au/nut-recipes  and www.luckynuts.com.au/recipes/flourlessbaking

 

Lisa Yates works at Nuts For Life visit: www.nutsforlife.com.au

Twitter @nutsforlife facebook.com/nuts4life      pinterest.com/nutsforlife     instagram nuts_for_life

Written by Karissa Woolfe, Accredited Practising Dietitian