Coconut flour is growing in popularity as more people discover its many health benefits, in addition to its many uses as a delicious, gluten-free, and high-fibre alternative to other flours.
What do you need to know about coconut flour nutrition? Coconut flour is high in fibre, protein, and healthy fats and is free from wheat and other grains. It is also low in sugar, digestible carbohydrates and calories, and has a low score on the glycemic index.
This makes coconut flour a favorite amongst paleo dieters, gluten-free eaters including those with Coeliac Disease or a gluten sensitivity, those with digestive problems like leaky gut syndrome, anyone with a nut allergy, those with diabetes, vegetarians, and just about everyone else in between.
Coconut flour can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. It is unsweetened and has a slight smell and taste of coconut, but this easily blends well with other ingredients in recipes and does not overpower other tastes. While it has a light, airy appearance and texture when dried, it becomes pretty dense when cooked with or baked.
Coconut flour is high in fibre with 5 grams per every 2 Tbsp. serving, so it will absorb a lot of water while cooking with it. Compared to other flours, think of coconut flour as being much more of an absorbent “sponge”, therefore having the capability to dry out certain traditional recipes.
It’s best to use coconut flour in combination with other flours or self-rising ingredients like eggs when baking in order to get the best results. Coconut flour can also be used on its own to thicken soups and stews or to coat ingredients in place of breadcrumbs. No matter how you use it, make sure to mix it well before adding it to recipes, and after you’ve combined it with other ingredients, to ensure you get the best finished product.
Baking with Coconut Flour
Coconut flour is a much healthier alternative to refined carbohydrate flours in many ways. By adding coconut flour to baked recipes which may be high in sugar and prone to spiking blood glucose levels, you can lower the glycemic index on the recipe. This means that the sugar in the recipe will impact blood glucose levels more slowly, not causing a spike and dip in energy levels, and prevent episodes of hypoglycemia.
Some ways to take advantage of the benefits of coconut flour nutrition include using it in these types of baked recipes:
When baking with coconut flour, it works best to use an equal ratio of liquid to flour; this means you would use 2 tablespoons of water for every 2 tablespoons of coconut flour. The water will be easily absorbed during the baking process, so by not adding enough liquid, your product cannot come out too dry and crumbly.
You can also use coconut oil along with coconut flour to add even more benefits and retain moisture. One benefit of coconut flour’s absorbency is that it works well to give baked goods a dense quality, for example in a heart bread or something similar.
For the best results, it’s recommended to use coconut flour as a replacement for up to about 20% of the total flour in a recipe. This means if you’re baking with almond meal or sprouted spelt wheat flour for example, you can substitute out 20% of one of those flours and add coconut flour instead.
This will add extra fiber, MUFA fats, and nutrients to your finished product without altering the texture or taste much at all. Just remember that you will need to add extra liquid to compensate. In this case, if you substituted ¼ cup of coconut flour into the recipe, you would also add an extra ¼ cup water or other liquid.
While most experienced cooks do not recommend using coconut flour on its own in recipes, especially when baking, some people have positive results when combining 100% coconut flour and eggs together, then baking the two.
Since coconut flour is free from gluten which usually binds ingredients together, the egg takes the place of the gluten and will hold your product in place without it crumbling. You can make a coconut flour-egg-muffin taste either sweet or savory depending on your preference. Try adding cinnamon, pure honey, and cocoa powder for a sweeter treat, or herbs and spices for a savory breakfast.
Coconut Flour in Savoury Recipes
You can incorporate coconut flour in savoury recipes by using it in these ways:
- In place of nut coatings, like pecan or almond coating for example, on fish or chicken
- As a substitute for breadcrumbs in meatballs or on protein
- To make a faux pizza crust
- To make grain-free “paleo” coconut wraps or bread
- Mixed and baked with eggs for savoury, high-protein egg muffins
- To bind together veggie burgers or meatloaf
- To make chicken, turkey, grass-fed beef, or fish burgers
- To thicken soups or stews without the need for dairy or refined flour
- To make savoury breads or biscuits
There are countless ways to take advantage of the nutrient boost you’ll get from coconut flour nutrition. You can use coconut flour as a healthy, gluten free coating for chicken, fish or other proteins in place of breadcrumbs or regular refined flours. Try mixing coconut flour with spices like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, sea salt, and black pepper to make a basic coating mixture. Or to mimic the taste of traditional breadcrumbs used in Italian and French cooking, add oregano, basil, parsley, and other traditional Mediterranean herbs.
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