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The best gluten-free cereals and grains for coeliacs (and non-coeliacs)

22 mayo, 2021

I can imagine how confusing and difficult it must have been until a few years ago to discover that you were celiac, when there was hardly any information about it and society was not yet aware of the need to offer gluten-free products. Fortunately today that is changing and, although there is still much to improve, it is easier to find gluten-free alternatives for daily food. The theme of cereals and grains is, in principle, the most complicated, but there are many gluten-free options perfect for celiacs and also for non-celiacs.

I do not pretend to compare the two conditions, but I like to emphasize that lactose intolerance has also given me positive things. Having to worry much more about what you eat, what you buy or cook leads you to better understand food, its nutritional value and its possibilities in the kitchen, and it also encourages you to discover many new products. So I encourage everyone to try these cereals and grains, to introduce a greater variety in our diet and show that there is life beyond wheat and rice.

Buckwheat or buckwheat

Buckwheat

Granted it is my favorite on this list in its whole flour form. I discovered its flavor with some delicious galettes in Toulouse years ago and since then I have been adding it to breads, biscuits and biscuits without problems, combined with other cereals or on its own. Although its name can be misleading, by including the word “wheat” in one of its names, buckwheat does not contain any gluten. It’s a pseudocereal that in its grain form has a curious triangular shapeIt is very rich in vegetable proteins and stands out for its lysine content.

Buckwheat flour is very characteristic for its dark color, slightly toasted, almost with violet or grayish hues. Provides a somewhat rustic touch to the dough in its texture, with a sweet taste reminiscent of ripe fruit, with some bitter undertones. It is perfect for recipes that do not require the action of gluten as a binder, such as crêpes, pancakes, blinis, waffles, cookies or pasta. It can be combined with other cereals without problems, and in sweet it makes a good pair with aromatic fruits and chocolate.

Son

Son

Millet is a very small grain that may remind us of the usual couscous that we find in any supermarket, but with a more prominent yellow color. Actually there are several types of millet, but they are all gluten free and they offer similar features. Europe is now beginning to consume more, although in many countries in Africa and Asia it has long been a fundamental food source thanks to its easy cultivation and its high nutritional content.

Millet can be eaten like rice or oatmeal, leaving a looser or creamier texture, or added to soups and stews to add nutrients and add a touch of flavor and texture. In cold and warm salads it offers very good results, for example preparing a kind of tabouleh or combining it with vegetables in a stir fry. Due to its small size it is also suitable for adding it to bread or pastry doughs, especially combined with other cereals and seeds. It must be taken into account that when cooked in liquid it can almost quadruple its volume.

Amaranth

Amaranth

It is also considered a quinoa-like pseudocereal, and is rich in plant proteins and minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. Its small grains have a rounded shape and are also reminiscent of quinoa or millet when raw. Amranto comes from Central America, where its cultivation dates back to several thousand years ago, since it was one of the most appreciated and consumed products by pre-Columbian cultures, especially Mayans and Aztecs.

You can prepare the grain as if it were rice or couscous, cooking it in water and using it as a garnish or accompanying it with other ingredients, for example in a stir fry or soup. In the form of flour it has a pale yellow color and has aromas of field and mineral, it combines very well with corn flour and is perfect for doughs of savory cakes or somewhat rustic cakes with nuts, honey and aromatic spices.

Corn

Corn

I thought I didn’t like corn because it gives me some repulse when preserved, but it turns out that naturally and in the form of cereal and flour I love it. You have to be careful in recipes for do not confuse cornstarch with flour, which is also sometimes sold precooked or with different thicknesses. What we know as cornstarch is starch, and although it is also used to make bread and sweets, its main use is as a thickener. The grilled corn on the cob is a delicacy that I recommend to everyone, but it is also a good idea to add its flour to the pantry.

The flour as such has a more granular texture, fine in the case that we use it as if it were wheat or rye flour, with a very characteristic yellow color. It is a basic ingredient in many cultures, and it is not surprising the number of traditional recipes that use corn flour as a base in Mexican cuisine. It is a grain rich in fiber and stands out for its vitamin A content, as well as being very energetic and satisfying. Regardless of the texture of its thickness, cornmeal provides a somewhat sweet flavor that goes very well with dairy and fruit ingredients.

Teff

Teff

It seems that the latest trend among international celebrities is to switch to teff, perhaps precisely because it is naturally gluten-free. In any case, it is a very small grain grown mainly in Eritrea and Ethiopia, where it is the fundamental ingredient of one of your staples. The injera It is a kind of crêpe for daily consumption, as essential in your diet as our bread, essential to accompany soups and stews of all kinds.

Teff it is one of the grains richest in minerals, especially calcium, and vitamin C, in addition to fiber and iron. Due to its small size, it is easy to add it even in the form of grain directly to doughs of bread, biscuits or cakes, and its flour offers the same qualities as the cereals mentioned above. It is also marketed in the form of flakes, perfect to add to the breakfast bowl with fruits and yogurt, to make homemade energy bars or to enrich smoothies and creams.

Sorghum

Sorghum

Sorghum begins to sound more and more among the lists of fashionable foods, a grain from tropical areas of Africa and Asia, where it is one of the main sources of livelihood. Different varieties are cultivated that present different shades of color, from pale yellow to purplish and red. Its outer layer is edible so it contains more fiber than other cereals, and it also stands out for its antioxidant contribution.

Have a very mild subtle flavor that makes it easy to add to the diet, also in its form of flour, although it makes the doughs somewhat denser and needs to be combined with other ingredients if we are looking for fluffy crumbs. It is a suitable flour for making flat breads, pancakes, crêpes or cookies. It is very filling and has a low glycemic index, which is why it is also gaining fans to use this grain to prepare porridge or breakfast porridge.

Rice

Rice

It is clear that rice is the best known cereal on the entire list, but due to its fundamental importance in the diet of celiacs and non-celiacs around the world, it is worth reviewing. There are many varieties with specialties in different cultures, and we tend to differentiate them in the kitchen by their size and their ability to absorb liquid. It is very energetic, satisfying and versatile, with which we can prepare a multitude of sweet and savory dishes. My father often says that with a little rice and whatever he finds in the pantry it is easy to improvise a more than decent lunch or dinner.

As for rice flour, we can compare it with cornstarch, since it is very fine in texture and contains a lot of starch. It serves us therefore as another gluten-free thickener, and in batters it helps to achieve lighter and crunchy textures. If combined with other flours, it can give very good results in sponge and cake doughs, with fluffier and lighter crumbs, and the glutinous variety – which does not mean that it contains gluten – is used in Asian cuisine for certain dishes, such as Japanese mochis sweets.

Quinoa

Quinoa

I think I discovered it almost ten years ago, but it became really fashionable about five or six ago, when it began to be installed in supermarkets and on the menus of the day in the most everyday restaurants. Today we have more normalized its consumption, and fortunately the crops have spread throughout the world. Another pseudocereal that is more like a seed, quinoa is a great source of nutrients, especially protein with a good load of essential amino acids, it is very satiating, energetic and versatile.

Quinoa can be found in its white, black and red varieties, with subtle differences in flavor but interchangeable with each other. It’s harder to get a dry, loose texture after cooking, but for me I like it a lot in salads with vegetables, greens or fresh fruits. It can be combined with other cereals or added directly to soups and stews, for example in recipes for stewed vegetables. It is also found in flakes and in the form of flour, which has a somewhat stronger aroma than usual with notes of humid earth. It is perfect for adding a rustic touch to autumn oven recipes, with lots of nuts, honey and spices.

Wild rice

Wild rice

Despite its name, it is neither rice nor wild, at least today. It belongs to a different genus of plants called ZizaniaAlthough due to its size and shape we associate it with rice, it is even usually marketed mixed with it. On its own, it may shock the first-time user a bit, as it has a harder texture, crunchy, and much more aromatic than everyday white rice.

As long as we do not intend to make a paella or rice pudding, the wild one can be used as if it were another common cereal. A handful adds texture to a soup or vegetable cream, works great in salads mixed with green leafy vegetables and it is perfect to combine with nuts and root vegetables, especially if we play with color contrasts. Nutritionally we can highlight a slightly higher protein content than rice, and much more fiber.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal

Celiacs should be very careful with …