10 Gluten-Free Flour Alternatives to Use in The Best Pancake Recipes
Fact: Perfect Pancakes don’t have to be a sugary, unhealthy delight that will make you overweight.
Pancakes, as all other sweet treats, used to be on my black list. They were one of the foods I avoided because of my weight problems. However, those days are behind me.
Two years ago, a professional nutritionist who I had hired to help me lose my pregnancy weight taught me how to eat smart. Eating smart involves thinking out of the box. In this case, it means thinking further from the standard ingredients we use on a daily basis.
An easy pancake recipe is usually made with bleached all-purpose flour and quite a lot of sugar. When it comes to white refined sugar, I have said goodbye to it a long time ago and I must say, that was one of the best decisions in my life. Instead, I turned to healthier, natural options like honey and pure maple syrup. I even put honey in my morning latte and it is wonderful. Below you will find other sweetener options. PS: Think how these pancakes won’t result in tooth decay in your kids.
Another important change is to stop using refined vegetable oils. Just stop buying them, they are extremely unhealthy. Instead, use the virgin variations of olive or coconut oil (the former for savory recipes, the latter for sweet ones).
Before we move on to the flours, my advice is to use non-dairy milk options in your pancake recipes. Almond and coconut milk are my favorite because of their flavor. Just make sure they are unsweetened.
Now, about the flour. Bleached flour is any refined flour. The process of refining means that the healthiest parts, the bran and germ, are removed. It also has added whitening agent and that is why it is also known as white flour. Nothing good there, as you can see.
My nutritionist instructed me to try gluten-free flours. To paraphrase her words, today everything is so available, both information and products, that it is a pity to be overweight or cause yourself health issues with poor diet.
To make one important thing clear – the gluten-free category does not include whole wheat flour. That said, the reasons for choosing gluten-free flours are:
- They are much easier to digest
- They are 100% natural and taste great
- They are packed with nutrients
Now that we know everything about the base, all we need to do is find us some kickass recipes. Don’t know where to look? MyGreatRecipes has a collection of easy, simple, and healthy pancake recipes that will blow your mind. Let’s begin.
#1 General Gluten-free Flours
These mixtures are widely available (find them in every grocery store) and are usually made with chickpea/rice flour, sorghum flour, and potato starch. They have a great texture and are especially good for baking.
Idea: Prepare light and fluffy pumpkin flapjacks (one cup pumpkin puree), packed with warm spices (pumpkin pie spice) and 100% gluten-free. Use 1 ¾ gluten-free all-purpose flour mixed with ¼ cup flaxseed meal for the base. Use skim milk (1 cup) and sweeten with 10 drops of liquid vanilla stevia into the batter. Top with yogurt-maple topping (0% Greek yogurt + one tablespoon of pure maple syrup and vanilla).
#2 Oat Flour
Oat flour is one of the most commonly used substituted for bleached flour in pancakes. However, not all oat flours are gluten free. Make sure you buy natural oats, or check if the label states the flour is gluten-free. This depends on the milling process, i.e. whether they come in touch with gluten flours during. This flour is easier to digest than regular oats and helps lower the cholesterol levels, boosts the immunity, and gives you a feeling of satiety because of the high fiber content.
The recipe I made the other day used ½ cup oat flour mixed with ¼ cup of any other flour (it suggested whole wheat or any other flour, so I used general gluten-free flour because that was what I had in my kitchen). The ingredient list also includes one ripe mashed banana to additionally thicken the batter and sweeten it (no other sweetener needed). There’s almond milk and almond butter, combined with a ½ cup of chocolate chips (choose semi-sweet or dark).
#3 Buckwheat Flour
Even though it contains the term “wheat”, this flour does not contain wheat or gluten. It is a powerful antioxidant and is very rich in B vitamins as well as numerous minerals including magnesium, manganese, iron, and zinc. Buckwheat helps lower the blood pressure and cholesterol, improves digestions and boosts the immune system.
Buckwheat yields somewhat darker and flatter pancakes than usual. To mitigate the unusual taste, the first time you make buckwheat pancakes include a ripe mashed banana in the batter. Pair with berry-based topping.
#4 Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is rich in dietary fiber and good saturated fats. These fats are used for energy and metabolism boost in the body and help neutralize the bad cholesterol. This flour also helps maintain normal blood sugar levels, regulates the digestive processes, and keeps the heart healthy.
Idea: If you love the coconut taste like me, you will enjoy this recipe: 2 tablespoons of coconut flour mixed with ½ scoops of chocolate whey protein powder. It also contains coconut oil and reduced fat shredded coconut (1/2 tablespoon). I expected coconut milk but the recipe makes use of almond milk (2 tablespoons) and unsweetened applesauce. The topping is especially lavish, and yet healthy: vegan carob chips and natural peanut butter. A real healthy flavor explosion!
#5 Almond Flour
Like all nuts, almonds are very nutritious. They are rich in dietary fiber, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and calcium. They are especially good for lowering the bad cholesterol.
Idea: Mix ¼ cup of almond flour with ¾ cup oat flour for the base. The original recipe makes use of walnut oil and pure maple syrup as a sweetener. As for the add-ins, it calls for one large apple and ½ pomegranate seeds, all this spiced with ginger powder. A real wintry delight!
#6 Rice Flour
If you decide to use rice flour, make sure it is made from dark rice. White rice is a refined and processed carb and thus should be avoided, whereas the process of converting the brown to white rice destroys most of the vitamins and minerals.
Idea: Rice flour produces a rather thicker batter. If you are up for very fulfilling pancakes leave it be, if not, use milk or water to adjust it to your taste. Use one cup of rice flour and one cup of rice (or soy) milk to form the batter base.
#7 Chickpea Flour
Chickpea flour is also known as besan, gram flour, or garbanzo bean flour. Chickpeas are legumes that offer high levels of dietary fiber which help lose weight and boost the digestive system. This flour is also rich in B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium which give energy boost, as well as folate which is especially important during pregnancy.
Idea: The most popular chickpea pancake recipes are socca and farinata, both more crepe-style savory variations. For socca, the flour is mixed with olive oil, water and a bit of salt. Some variations include herbs and spices, as well as onions or other veggies.
#8 Tapioca Flour
Tapioca, also known as manioc, is a starchy substance extracted from the root of the yucca (cassava) plant. It is one of the purest forms of starch and for that reason, it is often used as a thickener in various dishes, especially soups and glazes. It is very low in calories, sugar, and fat. Tapioca helps improve digestion, boosts energy levels, and aids circulation.
Idea: The tapioca flour pancakes are a very popular street food in Brazil. They are made with tapioca and one more ingredient only – water. It is neutral in taste and can easily be turned into a sweet treat (by adding honey and fruit slices) or savory treat (ham, cheese, tomatoes, and arugula).
#9 Sorghum Flour
Sorghum is considered a heavy flour and that is why it is often combined with other lighter flours in recipes. It is very rich in antioxidants and dietary fiber. It helps lower the blood sugar levels, combats various diseases, inflammations, and obesity.
Idea: This recipe suggests mixing ¾ cup of sorghum flour with ½ cup of cooked and mashed brown rice, plus 1 cup of water (no milk), coconut oil, and maple syrup as a sweetener. When it comes to add-ins, it chooses the very healthy and crunchy chia seeds (3 tablespoons) and some vanilla.
#10 Cassava Flour
Cassava flour is made from grated and dried cassava root. It is very rich in Vitamin C (one cup of this flour provides over 70% of the DV vitamin C) and due to this fact, it acts as an antioxidant and promotes healthy skin and teeth. Like its relative tapioca, cassava is also low in calories, sugar, and fat.
Idea: Use ¾ cup of cassava flour, ¼ cup coconut oil, ¼ cup almond milk and sweeten with honey. Top these light and fluffy paleo hotcakes with whipped coconut cream or even coconut ice cream.
With this type of pancakes, you will solve the problem with sweet cravings even while following a food regimen. It needs to be noted, however, that no matter how delicious, healthy, and low in calorie the best pancake recipe is, you should still consume them in moderation. Eating a whole stack of pancakes will certainly not result in weight loss.