gluten free recipes

By Mary Frances Pickett

How to Use Bean Flours

I broach this topic knowing three things: First, most Americans would shudder at the idea  of eating beans on a regular basis and thus, do not know how to cook beans. Second, beans have a bad reputation and are oft involved in third-grade humor. And third, Beans can taste really good and are really good for us.

In my mind, the third fact outweighs the first two so I will proceed.

If you’d like to learn more about different gluten free flours and which gluten free flour mix is best for you, make sure to read my ebook, The Gluten Free Survival Guide. Several chapters are devoted to gluten free cooking, and you’ll get all of your questions answered there.

Three Ways to Use Bean Flours:

Just a guess, but I bet there’s not much demand for bean flours outside of the gluten free community.  Unfortunately, that also means that there is not a tremendous amount of information on the internet about how to use bean flours.  I’ve spent a few hours wandering the web and have compiled this information for your reference and mine. I haven’t tested all of these ideas; this is just a jumping off point. A place to start experimenting.

If you’ve been cooking and baking with bean flours, please feel free to share your knowledge in the comments!

  • Baking: Use up to 25% bean flour in you gluten free flour mix to add protein, fiber, and iron. I just checked some of the flours that I have in the refrigerator and for each 1/4 c. serving garbanzo/fava flour has 3.5 g more protein and 4 g. more fiber than sorghum flour. The garbanzo/fava flour also provides 10% of the RDA for iron, while the sorghum flour provides 0%.
  • Thickener: Use bean flour to thicken or cream soups and stews. This is a great way to reduce the fat content of creamy soups. White bean flour has a neutral taste and a creamy flavor that could replace some of the heavy cream in vegetable soups. You can also use bean flour to make white sauce, as long as you use a mild-flavored flour.
  • Dip or Filling: Reconstitute the bean flours to make creamy dips and fillings for other recipes. I have used a white bean puree for a dairy-free lasagna filling, and I’ve seen many recipes around the blogosphere for black bean dip and bean purees that look divine.

Some Suggested Uses:

To get you started, here are a few thoughts on  how you might use some of these bean flours

  • Black Bean Flour: Use as part of your baking mix for chocolate cakes and brownies; try adding a small amount to bread recipes to get that dark whole-wheat look; the Bob’s Red Mill site has recipes for a black bean dip and black bean tortillas
  • Fava Four: I haven’t been able to find any recipes that use fava flour by itself, but it is commonly used in gluten free flour mixes along with other bean and grain flours.
  • Garbanzo Flour: Garbanzo beans are also known as besan, gram, chana, and chickpeas. Garbanzo flour is frequently used in Indian and Southern European cuisines and does not have to be combined with other flours (although it can). Try a French socca, and Indian Besan Puda, or a Sicilian panelle.
  • Garfava Flour: A mixture of garbanzo and fava flour, garfava flour frequently appears in gluten free baking mixes. I often substitute it for the soy flour in my Gluten Free All Purpose Flour.  (The light bean flour in the Bette Hagman cookbooks is garfava flour)
  • Green Pea Flour: Add reconstituted grean pea flour to guacamole to lower the fat content and add extra nutriens; use as part of your baking mix for chocolate cakes and brownies; use to thicken soups and stews.
  • Soy Flour: Soy flour is one of my favorite flours for baking mainly because it is so inexpensive.
  • White Bean Flour: The mild-flavor of white beans makes this flour ideal for sauces and gravies. It can also be used to thicken soups.  Add herbs and spices to reconstituted white bean flour for a flavorful white bean puree.

Beans Are Good For You:

Beans are a great source of dietary fiber, protein, iron, and many other essential nutrients. Since our family eats a vegetarian and gluten free diet, I use bean flours in my all purpose flour mix to add an additional source of iron to our diet. However, not every bean provides the same mix of nutrients. If you have particular dietary concerns, check out the nutritional information below to see which bean flour best meets your needs.  (The serving size for this data is 1/4 cup.)

  • Black Bean Flour: 120 calories, 0 g fat, 22 g carbohydrates, 5 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar, 8 g protein
  • Fava Four: 110 calories, 0.5 g fat, 19 g carbohydrates, 8 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar, 9 g protein
  • Garbanzo Flour: 110 calories, 2 g fat, 5 g sodium, 18 g carbohydrates, 5 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar, 6 g protein
  • Garfava Flour: 110 calories, 1.5 g fat, 5 g sodium, 18 g carbohydrates, 6 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar, 6 g protein
  • Green Pea Flour: 50 calories, 0 g fat, 2 g sodium, 9 g carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar, 4 g protein
  • Soy Flour: 120calories, 6 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0g sodium, 8 g carbohydrates, 3 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar, 10 g protein
  • White Bean Flour: 110 calories, 0 g fat, 20 g carbohydrates, 8 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar, 7 g protein

Find Out Why Some GF Flours Fail


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