While most vegans eat gluten and wheat, there are people who choose to adopt a gluten-free diet in addition to veganism for various health-related reasons, which may include celiac disease, gluten or wheat intolerance, or simply a preference for eating a more varied range of grains, or a preference for raw and living foods.
This new page – well, extensively-updated page anyway! – contains a brief summary of various gluten-free grain and ingredient options. There will be further ingredients added as well as info on gluten-intolerance and celiac disease in the near future.
Due to my partner’s gluten intolerance and my preference for raw food, most of the recipes on this site are gluten-free, and a few of them are low-gluten. For more info about this blog and us, check out the About page.
Starches – keep in the cupboard, in sealed container. Do not freeze.
Potato starch flour – made from taters! Has a slight potato flavour as a result, but is excellent for structure in breads. Found in: health shops, specialty shops, organic shops, Indian grocery stores, Jewish grocery stores. Substitutes: tapioca starch (although lacks flavour that balances out besan in mixes).
Tapioca starch – also known as arrowroot. Found in supermarkets in small quantities, and in bulk in: health stores, specialty stores, organic shops, Indian grocery stores, Asian/Chinese supermarkets. Substitutes: potato starch flour (only when potato flavour will not be an issue), cornstarch.
Cornstarch – if made from corn, it’s great! Avoid wheat-derived varieties common in Australia – check ingredients for details. This starch is best when mixed in over heat. Substitutes: tapioca starch.
Non-starchy flours – keep in sealed containers, or in the freezer (stops bugs getting in!).
Besan (chickpea flour) – has a very strong flavour, so best not used as the main flour in a mix. Absorbs a lot of water. Great for battering vegetables for tempura-style cooking! Found in: health stores, specialty stores, organic shops, Indian grocery stores.
Rice flour – lots of places sell white rice flour, but brown rice flour is the one you want for healthy goodness! My local health food shop sells it. Rice flour can be gritty, and you can get fine and coarse ground flour, depending on where you get it. Personally I don’t mind a coarser ground flour for making cookies – more texture can be good. Found in supermarkets in small quantities, and in bulk in: health stores, specialty stores, organic shops, Indian grocery stores, Asian/Chinese supermarkets.
Quinoa flour - expensive and hard to come by in large quantities in Australia. It also promotes that icky gritty texture. Give it a miss… but if you don’t want to miss it, find it in: specialty stores and organic shops.
Soy flour - a good thickener in sauces and makes fluffy cakes, but I don’t use it too much. Brown rice flour is my preferred choice! Found in some supermarkets, and in bulk in: health stores, specialty stores, organic shops.
Maize flour – it’s corn flour, not corn starch! Great for Mexican cooking and making flat breads. Found in: Indian stores, Mexican stores, continental stores, health stores, specialty stores, organic shops.
Pre-mixed Gluten-Free Flour Brands
F.G. Roberts – good shiznit and healthier than others. A soy-based flour mix. Great for making spongy cakes! Comes in plain flour and self-raising, no wholemeal or bread flours. They also sell a product called “Soy Compound” but I haven’t figured out what to use that for. All made from non-GM soy, of course.
White Wings – ugh. This flour is as white as it can get, so it is good for things like shortbread cookies and such, and it does make for a nice texture, but fibre? Healthfulness? Forget it!
Other Baking Ingredients
Xantham and Guar Gum - optional in breads, etc, but a teaspoon or two can definitely help improve structure/reduce crumbling, and even assist with rising. Definitely worth sifting in. It appears expensive, but you don’t use much! I use xantham, because it’s usually a teensy bit cheaper!
Baking Powder - watch out! Some brands of baking powder contain gluten! Tricky bastards. Baking powder goes off (ie. stops working/rising), so is usually only available in small quantities. Lotus brand has a larger packet than what you get from the supermarket, available in health stores.
Baking Soda – great stuff, but watch out for the soda taste if you add too much!
Yeast – I use dry yeast. It’s a type of fungus that is activated by heat, and eats up sugar and releases gas, thus making bread products rise. Nifty! Some people are allergic.
Greens and beans – are an excellent source of protein and minerals – much better than grains! They are a very important part of a gluten-free vegan diet, particularly dark leafy greens. Adding some green to every meal – while at first may seem challenging – is tasty and rewarding! eg. At breakfast, have a green juice or green smoothies, add some powdered greens to your regular beverage, or add herbs, spinach, or arugula to savoury breakfast foods.
Molasses – beats the heck out of sugar for nutrition. Full of calcium and other minerals. Great for bread products… and liquorice! Blackstrap molasses is the best.
Vinegar – when mixed with baking soda in baked goods, things rise. It’s grouse. Use apple cider vinegar for extra healthiness, otherwise cheapo white vinegar is fine. Vinegar contains some yeast, so may not be suitable for yeast allergy sufferers, although people with less nasty yeast intolerances can be fine.
Olive Oil – extra virgin cold-pressed is the best! Olive oil is not the best for cooking, however, as it has a low flash-point compared to many other vegetable oils, and the flavour is not suitable for most cooked dishes outside of Italian food. Best used on salad, as a dressing, or in raw soups or other raw foods.
Sunflower Oil – My favourite for cooking, as it is relatively inexpensive and usually GMO-free (note: this won’t be labelled in Australia). Has a reasonably high flashpoint and a subtle taste that doesn’t interfer with other flavours. Try to get organic if you can.
Canola Oil – Usually a GMO food (note: this won’t be labelled in Australia). I steer clear of it. Sunflower oil is better.
Soy Oil – if it comes from Australian soy beans it’s probably organic. But sunflower oil is better for cooking. I really like sunflower oil. Can you tell?
Rice Bran Oil – A “new” oil I stumbled across recently that has a very high flash point, so it’s great for cooking. Has a touch of flavour though, and is more expensive than sunflower.
Coconut Oil – Sounds fatty, but it’s a tricky oil – you don’t actually absorb the much of the fat from processed coconut oil! It has a high flash point, and is great for cooking with where a bit of coconut scent in the oil won’t bother you. Make sure you’re not using extra virgin coconut oil in cooked food – save that for raw food and skin care!
LSA – linseed (aka flax), sunflower, and almond meal. Throw it in smoothies and your bread. It’s full of omega oils and healthy things. Keep it in the fridge or freezer so the oils don’t break down.
Nuts and Seeds
Flax seed – also called linseed in Australia. Very healthy. Nice oils. Throw it in smoothies and your bread. It’s full of omega oils and healthy things. Make sure you grind the seeds or use flax meal, otherwise you won’t digest it properly. Keep it in the fridge or freezer so the oils don’t break down. If you use flax seed oil (healthy but expensive!), keep it in the fridge.
Seeds & nuts – Keep seeds and nuts in the fridge to stop them going rancid – this is particularly important to preserve the healthy oils and flavour, and of particular importance for making “raw foods.” Seeds and nuts are typically a good source of healthy fats and minerals. Eat them! don’t avoid them! they are good for your skin! and general health. A handful or two will put a stop to snacking on fatty crap between meals.
More coming soon…