Gluten-free flours might be taking up a bit more of your grocery store shelves every passing year, but the one that tends to be the easiest to find is still white rice flour. It’s a great substitute for all-purpose white flour in baking since it creates a light and delicate texture for cakes, muffins, and pastries. It’s also way cheaper than, say, coconut flour.
The downside? White rice flour has just two grams of protein per serving. Even all-purpose flour—often criticized for its subpar nutritional value— squeezes in four grams.
A 2015 study in Digestive Diseases notes that a gluten-free diet is the only accepted treatment for celiac disease, but it can lead to multiple nutritional deficiencies of macro- and micronutrients. The best solution? A rotation of gluten-free grains to check off all the necessary complex carbs, fiber, and—you guessed it—protein.
Add these high-protein, gluten-free flours to your rotation for a well-rounded diet, sans wheat.
Buckwheat flour: 4 g protein. Despite its name, buckwheat flour is not derived from or related to wheat. Use it in foods that don’t need to rise, like in soba noodles or crepes. (Here’s a recipe for savory buckwheat crepes.)
Quinoa flour: 4 g protein. This flour can work alone or in combination with other flours. It has a subtle nutty flavor.
Oat flour: 4 g protein. This flour is best in combination with other flours as it is a heavy flour and leads to pretty dense baked goods when used on its own. However, it’s definitely worth adding to your blends, thanks to its fiber, potassium, and other vitamins and minerals.
Sorghum flour: 4 g protein. This flour is often used in gluten-free blends, but can be a little dry on its own. Fun fact: It’s commonly used instead of barley for making gluten-free beers.
Amaranth flour: 4 g protein. This flour is a great source of fiber and magnesium, and is also one of the few grains that contains the amino acid lysine. Because of its density, amaranth is best in a blend, using up to 25 percent of the flour called for in the recipe.
Teff flour: 5 g protein. This is commonly known in the United States as the base for injera, a spongy bread used in Ethiopian cuisine. You can also sub in some (not all) teff flour for your quick bread or muffin recipes for a nutritional boost.
Chickpea flour: 5 g protein. This flour is known for making great texture in baked goods, but it does come with a distinct bean flavor. It’s great for savory recipes, like a savory crepe, or for Indian snacks like besan ladoo. Bonus: It also has 5 grams of fiber.
Almond flour: 6 g protein. A favorite in the Paleo diet, this flour is not only gluten-free, but grain-free as well. Thanks to its monounsaturated fat content, almond flour gives a pleasant moisture and buttery flavor to baked goods. (Here’s a gluten-free pancake recipe with almond flour.)
Soy flour: 10 g protein. Similar to chickpea flour, soy flour has a beany flavor. Soy is a complete protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids. Soy flour is also a great source of iron, phosphorus, and magnesium, so it’s great to include in your baking. You can typically use it to replace up to 30 percent of the flour in a given recipe; you’ll get that soybean flavor if you use more than that.