Going Gluten Free? Not Sure what grains you CAN eat?
As the push towards going gluten free gains momentum, it’s hard to know what other grains you can eat! All of the following super -grains are nutrient dense AND gluten free, so make great substitutes. You may have to search a bit harder to find some of them but most are starting to make a permanent appearance on supermarket shelves.
This tiny super -grain hails from South America and looks a lot like cous cous. It has an earthy taste and is rich in vitamins A, K and manganese for healthy eyes, blood clotting and glucose metabolism. Amaranth can be ground into flour and used as a thickening agent in soups, sauces and casseroles or used to make gluten free cereals.
Originating from North Africa and considered a treasured crop in biblical times, millet is actually a seed rather than a grain. It is a good source of B vitamins, folate and magnesium which are vital to energy production, brain function and regulating your mood. It can be prepared like rice and like amaranth, is also available in a puffed form which is ideal for making gluten free cereals.
This powerhouse supergrain is jam packed with protein and also hails from South America. Its distinctive nutty flavour combined with its nutritional profile; make it a great choice for vegans and vegetarians as it is a complete protein. This means that like animal proteins it contains all the essential amino acids the body requires from the diet to build and repair. Remember to rinse quinoa well before cooking to remove the protective saponin coating it has that gives it a bitter taste.
Teff is a new comer to supermarket shelves but is believed to be one of the earliest domesticated plants. It dates back to between 1000-4000 B.C. and is traditionally made into Injera an Ethiopian sourdough flatbread. It comes in two different types – ivory and brown, and is about the size of a poppy seed. Teff has a nutty flavour and is high in fibre and resistant starch, making it an excellent prebiotic food for colonizing your beneficial gut bacteria.
Despite its name, buckwheat is not at all related to wheat at all but a distant relative to rhubarb! It contains a number of nutrients including B vitamins, magnesium and copper, as well as being high in the bioflavonoids rutin and quercetin. The raw seeds or groats can be cooked up like just like rice or sprouted, to make them gentler on digestion, and used as a salad topper. Soaking and re-drying them at a low temperature activates them further to make buckinis, changing the flavour and giving them extra crunch. This makes them great as a breakfast cereal.
So next time you are stuck for gluten free grain alternatives, consider changing things up and trying one of these. To get you started I have included a simple gluten free tabbouleh salad recipe that can use anyone of these grains as a base.
2 cups of cooked amaranth, millet, quinoa, teff or buckwheat
½ head of cauliflower, cored and made into cauliflower rice (see note below)
3 bunches of parsley, finely chopped
2 cups of finely diced vine ripened tomatoes
1 bunch finely chopped spring onions
2 Lebanese cucumbers peeled, seeds removed and finely diced
1/3 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
3-4 tbsps. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsps. finely chopped mint
Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
Combine all the salad ingredients in a large bowel.
Place the dressing ingredients into a clean jar and shake well – season to your liking with sea salt & pepper.
Chill the salad before serving and drizzle with the dressing prior to serving.
Note – to make cauliflower rice place cauliflower florets into a blender and process until it is the consistency of rice.
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