Gluten free grains are important replacements for wheat and other no-nos for those with a gluten allergy or celiac disease. Here are some gluten free alternatives.
Note that some of these grains are not necessarily recommended for celiacs, and these grains will be noted. They do not necessarily trigger damage as gluten does, but many celiacs do not seem to do well on the grains notes.
If you have a gluten allergy, it is likely you have other allergies. These may or may not be the same grains as celiacs have trouble with.
Gluten Free Grains
Corn / Maize
In North America, corn means maize. In the UK, it means the predominant cereal crop, which could mean wheat or some other gluten-containing grain.
Corn is a useful food, but beware! It is also a major user of pesticides, and is often a GMO.
Some celiacs do not seem to do well on corn, and it is a common allergen.
If you can tolerate corn, it is a good way of replacing wheat as a source of carbohydrates.
Corn on the cob is excellent when in season, although varieties in North America have a longer tradition of being suitable for this. In other continents, corn on the cob may not be as tender and tasty.
Corn meal is the primary ingredient in polenta, an Italian classic. Corn meal is available in various grades from quick-cooking fine corn meal (less texture) to long-cooking course corn meal (more texture).
Certain types of tortilla are made from corn and are wheat-free, but not all.
Hominy is whole grain corn minus the husks. You could use it as a side-dish, or add it to stews or casseroles.
Popcorn is easy and quick to make, and is an excellent gluten-free snack. Make fresh, do not buy pre-popped.
Buckwheat is not related to wheat, it is not even a grain. It is a broad-leave from the rhubarb family. Unless cross-contaminated, it is entirely gluten-free.
It is available plain or toasted. The whole grain is called kasha in Eastern Europe, and is known by this name by some people in other parts of the world.
The flour can be made into noodles, pancakes, or the whole grain can be cooked and used as a side dish.
Quinoa is another pseudo-grain, meaning unrelated to the grass family, but serving a similar dietary function. It is very nutritious and versatile.
Millet is a staple grain in many parts of the world including Africa. There are actually many times of millet, but it is usually sold without referring to the variety.
It can be cooked as a side dish, or ground into flour and used for gluten free baking.
Amaranth is another up-and-coming pseudo-grain, although less known than quinoa. It makes a great side-dish, is good in stuffings as a replacement for gluten-laden bread crumbs, and is great for gluten free baking when turned into flour.
Sorghum is similar to millet. It is an important ingredient in some gluten free bread recipes.
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Have I missed anything? Do you have experience with any of these grains in your gluten-free cooking? Leave a comment and share your experiences and questions.