There are so many types of flours available these days. Once upon a time, it was a choice between all-purpose flour and self-raising, both being made from wheat. While wheat flour is indeed useful and versatile, it is sadly not suitable for everyone, particularly those with gluten intolerance, coeliac disease, or those following a low-carb diet such as the ketogenic diet.
For a long time, your only other option was almond flour, which has a long history traceable back to the Middle East in the 16th century. Again, however, almond flour is not suitable for those with tree nut allergies, allergies which are more and more prevalent both in the USA and globally. There have to be other options that tick all the boxes, right?
Popularization Of Almond Flour
For centuries, almond flour has been a key ingredient in confectionery and pastry. Macaroons, macrons, the French Frangipane Tarte, the Viennese Sachertorte, and any number of other sweet delights all contain almond flour. If you have ever enjoyed marzipan, this is made using almond flour also.
Almond flour was already very present in cuisines around the world, but it truly rose to popularity in more recent times as a low-carb option for those ‘going keto’ and anyone living with a gluten allergy. It is nutrient-dense, nutty, high in protein and good fats, sadly it just isn’t for everyone due to the reasons mentioned earlier.
Alternatives To Almond Flour
Should you be gluten intolerant, coeliac, or allergic to tree nuts, there are thankfully now huge numbers of alternatives out there to wheat and almond flours such as:
Made from the dried and finely ground meat of the coconut, coconut flour is more similar in consistency to cornstarch. It is highly absorbent making it tricky to use in baking as a substitute. It adds a light, coconut flavor to cooking. There are increasing numbers of people across the USA with coconut allergies also, so use with caution.
Made from dried and finely ground tapioca roots, tapioca flour is similar in texture to wheat flour and able to be substituted 1:1 without much issue. However, tapioca flour is considered to be nutritionally inferior to other flours, offering no added vitamins or minerals to food and is virtually pure starch.
Chickpea flour is a relative newcomer to American kitchens. Originating on the Indian subcontinent, where it is a staple, chickpea flour is made from the finely ground gram chickpea. While chickpea flour is nutrient-dense, it is exceedingly high in carbohydrates and also poses an allergy risk for those sensitive to legumes.
Rice flour is a cross between coconut flour and tapioca flour in terms of texture and uses. It is very starchy and has a low nutritional profile, only offering vitamin D and magnesium. It is incredibly high in carbohydrates though, making it unsuitable for those following a ketogenic diet. It is also not approved on the paleo diet.
Similar to cassava flour, arrowroot flour is harvested from the tropical maranta arundinacea plant. It is a fine, white, starchy powder. It is high in fiber and is safe for consumption by those with a wheat or gluten intolerance. It works well as a thickener, however, it doesn't handle high heat well and can separate.
Sunflower Seed Flour
Closest in texture, taste, and color to almond flour, Sunflower Seed Flour is made from dried, de-hulled, and finely ground sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds are nutritionally dense, containing a host of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as being high in protein and low in carbohydrates. You can read in depth about sunflower flour via our blog.
Sunflower Seed Flour Vs Almond Flour
As the two most similar to one another and the ideal option for those pursuing a gluten-free, coeliac or ketogenic diet let’s compare the pair.
Sunflower Seed Flour
- Nutritionally dense containing B group vitamins, vitamin E, and antioxidants such as phenolic acids and flavonoids. These antioxidants have been shown to improve brain health and help regulate weight.
- Similar texture, taste, and color to almond flour and performs much the same when baked.
- Safe for those with gluten intolerance and tree nut allergies as well as being keto and paleo-approved.
- High in protein and low in carbohydrates.
- Inexpensive and sustainable with sunflowers requiring minimal water to produce a large crop.
- Can turn green when baked with baking soda, due to the presence of naturally occurring chlorophyll. This can, however, be counteracted through the use of small amounts of lemon juice or vinegar and is completely harmless.
- Nutritionally dense, containing many essential vitamins and minerals.
- Low in carbohydrates and high in protein.
- Safe for those with gluten intolerance, coeliac disease, or if following the ketogenic diet.
- Unsuitable for anyone with a tree-nut allergy.
- Can be quite expensive compared to sunflower seed flour.
- Almonds are not produced sustainably and require significant water to grow well. A single almond requires 1.1 gallons of water to grow.
Like Almond Flour, But Better
Ultimately, making the switch from almond flour to sunflower seed flour is simple. Sunflower seed flour offers all the things you love about almond flour, without the negatives - especially the allergy risk.
With around 1% of the American population now experiencing nut allergies, choosing to use sunflower seed flour just makes sense. Beyond The Equator, Sunflower Seed flour is processed in an environment completely free of the top 8 allergens and sesame seeds, making it safe for virtually everyone to consume safely.
Beyond The Equator, Taking Your Food Beyond Best
At Beyond The Equator, we continue to innovate and seek delicious, allergy-friendly alternatives to our favorite foods. From our delicious nut-free spreads made from superfood seeds to wheat and nut-free flours, we are passionate about creating healthy and nutritious ingredients.
We make it easy to continue enjoying the foods you love without compromising on taste or your health. Try Beyond The Equator Sunflower Seed Flour today and experience the difference.