They’re great in both sweet and savory recipes.

By Grace Elkus
January 19, 2017
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As the gluten-free lifestyle continues to gain popularity, it’s no surprise that wheat flour substitutes are on the rise as well. But there’s more in the category than just alternative grain flours (think rice, oat, sorghum, quinoa, millet, etc.) Yep, we’re now seeing a slew of options made from beans, pulses, and—wait for it—crickets.

Not gluten-free? Experimenting with these new and interesting varieties has a range of benefits that go beyond removing gluten, including enhancing the flavor of your dishes and upping the nutrients. Just remember, due to the varying protein and fiber levels in flours (which affect density and absorbency), and the absence of gluten (which provides elasticity), you can’t simply swap one flour for another—especially in baked goods. We suggest trying these in savory applications, or replacing ¼ cup of the wheat flour in your baked good with one of the flours below.

Green Pea Flour

Mint-colored, fiber-packed green pea flour gives dips, soups, and baked goods a gorgeous green hue (sayonara, matcha powder!) Take note, however, that it has a distinct pea flavor. Try it in: falafel patties (use in place of all-purpose in a 1:1 swap), savory pancakes, and creamy pea soup (stir it in at the end as a thickener).

Black Bean Flour

High in fiber, protein, and iron, this earthy flour is great in homemade pasta dough, or as a base to black bean dip. Though it looks light in the bag, it will turn dark when mixed with liquid. Try it in: Fudgy chocolate brownies (start with replacing 50% of the flour).

Coconut Flour

Beloved by followers of the Paleo diet, coconut flour is made from dried, defatted coconut meat. Because of its high fiber content, it is extremely absorbent (it absorbs 4 times its weight in liquid), so tread lightly when using it in baked goods. Begin with replacing ¼ of the flour, and be mindful that you’ll need to increase the liquid by the same amount. Try it in: pancakes, pound cake, muffins.

Cricket Flour

Used primarily to boost the protein in baked goods, this nutrient-dense flour is made with dehydrated and pressure-cooked crickets. We suggest starting with this cricket blend, which is mixed with other gluten-free flours and can be used as a one-to-one replacement. Try it in: quick breads

Chickpea Flour

Because its made entirely from ground garbanzo beans, this flour is high in both protein and fiber. Plus, its mild taste makes it easy to experiment with. Try it in: savory fritters (use in place of all-purpose in a 1:1 swap), homemade flatbreads, and as a binder for veggie burgers. Or, give chickpea pasta a try.