With gluten and grain-free eating on the rise, gluten-free flours for baking and cooking are also becoming more popular. The key players?
- All-purpose gluten-free flour,
- almond flour,
- coconut flour,
- cassava flour,
- tapioca starch
Each has its own special uses and benefits. Today, we’re taking a deep dive into almond flour, the grain-free flour with a multitude of uses and benefits.
What is Almond Flour?
As its name suggests, almond flour is made from ground almonds. There are two types: almond flour and almond meal.
Here’s how almond flour is made:
- almonds are quickly placed in boiling water to remove the skins
- then ground and sifted into a fine flour
It’s really that simple.
In almond meal, the process is mostly the same, however, almonds aren’t boiled so they retain their skins, resulting in a coarser end product. The nutrient density for both almond meal and almond flour is the same.
You might find that some recipes specifically call for almond meal or flour. That’s because the texture of the end product will vary depending on which type of almond flour you use.
Unless you’re buying a flour blend, the only ingredient in your almond flour should be almonds.
Health Benefits of Almond Flour
Given the health benefits of whole almonds, it’s no surprise that almond flour is incredibly nutrient-dense. A ¼ cup serving contains high amounts of vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, and fiber, along with ~14 grams of healthy fat and 6 grams of protein. Vitamin E is a key antioxidant, helping to prevent the damage caused by free radicals (known to accelerate the aging process and increase your risk for certain diseases). Additionally, magnesium is involved in hundreds of processes in the body, including blood sugar and blood pressure control.
Since almond flour is higher in fat, fiber, and protein, lower in carbohydrates, and contains high amounts of magnesium, it can be particularly beneficial for blood sugar regulation. While more research is still needed, preliminary studies suggest almond flour may lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. And since almond flour is gluten-free, it’s a great option for those with celiac disease, a gluten sensitivity, or those just looking for less inflammatory flours.
You might be wondering: how does almond flour stack up against plain old white or wheat flour? There really isn’t a comparison! Almond flour contains more micronutrients, fiber, protein, and healthy fat compared to flour, plus fewer carbohydrates.
It’s truly an incredible alternative to wheat flour.
How Can I Use Almond Flour?
Here at Snap Kitchen, we love using almond flour as breading. You’ll find it as an ingredient in our chicken tenders with turnip mash and hot honey chicken tenders. You can also use almond flour as a binder in certain recipes, like meatballs. Almond flour is a part of the flour mixed used in our Korean bbq meatballs and almond meal is used in our turkey meatloaf. Almond flour can also be used for both sweet and savory baking, for everything from tortillas to blondies and brownies.
Are you ready to get cooking yet? Let us know your ideas in the comments.