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Bean flour: a healthy and inexpensive way to bake gluten-free


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.

bean_floursBeans 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.

For recipe ideas, check out Food and Wine’s Tender Chickpea Pancakes, and Mark Bittman’s blog.

Bean flour is available online and can be purchased via Bob’s Red Mill and

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

About Liz Schau

Liz Schau is a health writer whose focus is in nutrition, as well as natural and green living. She is both the resident GreenGirl for -- a site aimed at raising self-esteem in females of all ages, as well as a columnist for on which she writes "How To Kick Your Thyroid's Ass" -- an irreverent guide to better thyroid health. She can be reached at
  • Julio Dumas says:

    My wife has been recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I have been uniformed on the desease and the changes we need to make in the production of our meals and trying very hard to catch up. I also do a good bit of the cooking in our household and need to learn a good bit. Living in Louisiana, a good Roux is essential for the kitchen. Is there a flour replacement you are aware of or recommend for making a roux?

    Thank you very much.

    Husband in need of help!!

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