For many people, the thought of cooking and baking with bean flours can seem strange. After all, when trying to replicate your favorite cakes, cookies, muffins, and other sweets in order to make them gluten-free and food allergy-friendly, bean flours don’t exactly elicit the same mouth-watering cravings as traditional white and wheat flour. While bean flours may seem too savory to be added to your favorite baked goods, they actually can be a healthy and cost-effective replacement for gluten-filled ingredients.
Beans and legumes, of course, are high in protein and fiber, among other nutrients. Bean flour varieties include green split peas or lentils, garbanzos, soy, navy and black beans, fava, red kidneys, and many others. The flour is made when the bean is in the dried state — it is ground until it forms a fine and smooth texture and consistency (which can easily be done yourself, with a food processor, and will cost you mere pocket change). Flours can be used in various applications, including breading (for fish, chicken, etc.), thickeners (soup, roux), in dips and sauces (hummus, gravies), as well as in sweet baked goods. And because the flours are mild in taste, it would be difficult for anyone to notice the missing wheat.
Bean flour is available online and can be purchased via Bob’s Red Mill and Celiac.com.
For more easy and inexpensive gluten-free baking ideas, try A beginner’s guide to gluten-free baking: Four-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies and A beginner’s guide to gluten-free baking: Chocolate Chunk Cookies.
Author Information: Liz Schau, Tampa, FL
Liz Schau, Health Writer