Cooking and baking have gotten a real facelift over the past few decades with the introduction of a host of new flour options. While whole wheat flour still has its place in the pantry, other healthy flours, especially nut flours, are making the kitchen much more fun and inventive. Almond meal and almond flour are two such ingredients worth exploring. Here’s why we love them.
What is Almond Meal/Almond Flour?
What’s the deal with almond flour and almond meal? Are they the same? Or are they different? Almond meal is coarser than almond flour. It’s made from ground up almonds that still have their skins so you may find bits of skin in the ground version. Almond flour is ground to a finer consistency and it’s made from almonds that have had their skins removed and have been blanched. This means that when you bake with almond meal, it’s slightly denser and isn’t going to produce that same light fluffy texture that you can get from almond flour.
Almond Meal/Almond Flour Nutritional Facts
Since both almond meal and almond flour are essentially made of just almonds, they have the same nutritional makeup. Almond flour has 160 calories for a 1/4 cup serving and 14 grams of fat. Though it’s quite a bit of fat for a flour, consider that almonds are considered a good fat that’s mostly unsaturated. Almond meal also contains three grams of dietary fiber per serving and six grams of protein. It’s also a good source of iron and calcium. Other nutritional benefits include:
- Good source of the antioxidant vitamin E (known for fighting against cell damage)
- Good source of potassium
- Aids digestions
- Good for diabetics
Almond Flour Pros and Cons
Almond flour is healthy (as you can see above). It’s loaded with good fats, protein, iron, calcium, etc. That said, a little goes a long way. Remember, almond flour is ground down nuts that are calorically dense. Just like you wouldn’t eat a whole bag of nuts, this stuff can be fat-laden if you have too much. Additionally, almond flour does not contain gluten, so it’s not the same as using white flour and as a result, you can’t just do a 100 percent substitution.
How to Use Almond Meal/Almond Flour
Again, if you’re making a fluffy cake and you want to use almond flour, don’t substitute almond meal because it’s too dense. When you’re using almond flour, remember that you need to slowly sub in a nut flour. Since nut flours don’t contain any gluten, sub in 1/4 cup of nut flour for regular flour. That way you’ll get the nutritional density of almond flour and the lift of white or whole wheat pastry flour.
You can also use either almond meal or almond flour in cooking. Consider rolling your fish, chicken, or tofu in almond flour before frying. It will make your crunchy coating much healthier. Or make nut flour pancakes. You can give your pancakes some extra lift with baking soda or baking powder. Also, try these recipes:
Almond Flour Banana Bread
3 super ripe bananas
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. sunflower seed oil
1/4 cup cane sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cup almond meal
1 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend
1 1/4 cup gluten free oats
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf pan and line with parchment paper.
2. Mash banana in a large bowl. Add in vanilla extract, sunflower seed oil, sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, baking powder, sea salt, ground cinnamon, and milk.
3. Add in almond meal, flour, and oats.
4. Bake for one hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
5. Let cool completely before cutting or it will be too tender to hold form.
From the Organic Authority Files
6. Serve with butter or cream cheese. You can even add a drizzle of raw honey.
Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker.
Makes 6 pancakes
1/2 cup pumpkin purée (or canned pumpkin)
2 Tbsp raw honey
Splash of pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup almond flour
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. baking soda
Sunflower seed oil to grease the pan.
1. In a small bowl, whisk the two eggs together well. Add in pumpkin purée. This is an instance where using a canned product is even a little bit better. Add in honey and vanilla extract and combine well.
2. In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine the almond flour, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda.
3. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, making sure that everything is completely incorporated.
4. Turn your stove or griddle to low heat and spoon 1/4 cup of the contents onto the griddle. Cook until it bubbles and flip.
5. Allow to cook slowly until pancakes are browned on both sides.
Recipe: Paleo Newbie
Makes about 50 1-inch cookies
1 ½ cups almond flour
½ cup organic cane sugar
¼ cup brown rice flour
3 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. sea salt
½ cup coconut oil, plus extra for brushing
¼ cup hot water
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
5 Tbsp. water
Organic powdered sugar for dusting
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Brush 2-3 madeleine trays with coconut oil. In a large bowl, add almond flour, cane sugar, rice flour, arrowroot, baking powder, and sea salt. Whisk until no clumps remain.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut oil and vanilla extract. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the flaxseed and 5 tablespoons water to form an “egg”. Let set for 5 minutes. Add flax egg to the bowl of coconut oil and vanilla and whisk together. Once mixed well, add to the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until smooth. Slowly pour in hot water, stirring as you go. Once completely smooth, add approximately ½ tablespoon batter to each madeleine mold.
3. Bake for 14-16 minutes, until golden brown along edges. Rotate tray halfway through. Once cooled, remove cookies from pan, loosening with a butter knife along edges if needed. Transfer to a plate. Add powdered sugar to a sifter or sieve and sprinkle each cookie with the powdered sugar. Serve immediately or store in a jar for one week on the counter.
Where to Buy Almond Flour
Related on Organic Authority
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