Gluten is the name of a group of proteins found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye. It’s what makes dough rise and what gives bread and cakes their chewy texture. Unfortunately, it’s also something that can trigger adverse reactions for people with Coeliac Disease and gluten intolerance. But we’ve got good news. There are plenty of gluten-free grains out there that will give you delicious meals, no gluten needed.
Some of them are not ‘technically’ grains, but they’ve gained popularity as a substitute for this food, which makes them honorary members of the family. Here are some of the most popular gluten-free grains and seeds to have ready in your cupboard for delicious breakfast or use for mouth-watering baking and snacking.
8 Gluten-free grains for a simple and delicious breakfast
Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that has been used for thousands of years and has a rich history on the American continent. Luckily we’re getting a taste of it as well, as it’s becoming more and more popular around the world. It has a distinctive nutty flavour which makes it an instant favourite when you combine it with your gluten-free breakfast cereals. If you love baking, there’s more to know about amaranth. You can find this grain finely ground and ready to use as a gluten-free flour for amazing gluten-free desserts. Added bonus: you can even have amaranth ‘popcorn’. This grain can be popped just as corn. Is there anything amaranth can’t do?
If you want a gluten-free grain you can use for almost anything, make sure you add buckwheat to the shopping list. But don’t be fooled by its name. This is not a type of wheat, so there’s no gluten to worry about. You can have it in your cereals, or use it to make show-stopping breakfast waffles or pancakes. Plenty of delicious reasons to get familiar with this amazing grain.
Another ‘ancient grain’ with a history that goes back thousands of years, millet is a great alternative that will help you replace gluten-containing grains. If you haven’t heard of it before, it might be surprising to find out that Ancient Romans loved it and that it’s even mentioned in the Old Testament. These days it is commonly used as bird food, but it’s increasingly recognised as a great gluten-free replacement for wheat, barley and other gluten-containing grains. It has a mild flavour that might remind you of corn and is a great substitute for couscous. Cereals, salads and side dishes are all happy to accommodate millet as their new gluten-free twist.
One of the most popular gluten-free grains, quinoa can quickly become a staple in any kitchen. You can make quinoa bread and quinoa pancakes. And why not use it for salads or add it to your breakfast cereals to make the most out of this nutty-flavoured grain? But make sure you rinse it thoroughly, otherwise it might taste too bitter. The great thing about quinoa is that you can find it in many colours and forms, including grain, flour and even pasta. So, you can get quite creative with this little grain.
Another delicious replacement for couscous, the gluten-free sorghum might not be an instantly-recognisable grain, but it’s an excellent ingredient for gluten-free recipes thanks to its mild flavour. You can even pop it much like popcorn or use it to create baking mixes.
Teff is a staple food in Ethiopia and one of the smallest grains out there, but it’s incredibly versatile. This gluten-free grain is a type of millet and manages to substitute wheat flour so well, you’ll be able to enjoy many of your favourite cakes in a gluten-free version thanks to it. Plus, it’s so tiny that teff makes a great ingredient for porridges and breakfast cereals. Or why not try making the traditional Ethiopian teff flatbread known as injera which is one of the most popular uses of this grain.
Rice needs no introduction. It’s a staple in so many cuisines around the world that you’ve already probably had your fair share of delicious experiences with this grain. But did you know that it’s also gluten-free? If you want to enjoy it for your breakfast, give our crispy GoFree Rice Pops a go.
Corn is another gluten-free grain you can add to the shopping list. You can roast it, boil it, grill it. And if you want to update your gluten-free dishes, it’s a great addition to salads and casseroles. There are even a few amazing pie recipes that make corn the main event. Our golden GoFree Corn Flakes are ideal for gluten-free breakfasts and make a wonderful addition to many gluten-free recipes as well.
What to look out for when buying gluten-free grains
Gluten-free grains can sometimes come into contact with gluten-containing grains during the milling process. Also, many of these grains are sometimes harvested with wheat and barley which increases the chances of cross-contamination. This is why it’s important to check that the grains are labelled as gluten-free foods.
How to add gluten-free grains to your diet?
If all these amazing grains sound enticing, you’re probably wondering what’s the best way to enjoy them. Gluten-free grains make the perfect ingredient for breakfast. If you’re looking for inspiration, why not check out our Gluten-Free Chilli Rice Pop Pancakes recipe which includes our best tip to make gluten-free flour. If you prefer a gluten-free snack instead, try this Gluten-Free Cinnamon Corn Snack Mix idea that takes almost no time to prepare.
Next, discover more about gluten-free breakfast cereals for meals you’ll love waking up to.
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For the last 15 years we’ve been working to reduce the sodium (which is the major component of salt) in our breakfast cereals across the world, because we want to keep on making them more nutritious. Achieving consistency on all products, in all countries, takes time - so some may have more sodium than others. Our aim is for all our cereals – globally – to have the same reduced levels of sodium, with a target of less than 135mg per serving in all our children’s products.
As well as being a healthy choice for people who want to reduce the amount of gluten in their diet, or have coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance, Gluten Free Corn Flakes are fortified with B-vitamins, folic acid and iron
Two things to remember: • Look for food labels where the word 'whole' appears in front of the name of the grain, like “whole wheat” or “wholemeal bread”. • For foods with more than one ingredient, make sure whole grain is listed towards the top of the ingredients list. The further up the list it is, the more whole grain has been used in the recipe. And look out for the percentage of whole grain. You should find this in the ingredients list too.
Because it’s industry practice to label seasonal oils (oils that aren’t consistently available across the year). In Europe it’s now mandatory to detail the types of vegetable oils used in a food product. So it’s no longer permitted to use the term “vegetable oil” on a label.