It’s almond time
The mighty almond lends itself to practically everything these days: almond milk, almond butter, almond beer. Now almond flour — a grain-free alternative to regular flour — is making its way into recipes, both sweet and savory. It’s perfect for gluten-free, grain-free, paleo, or keto households, and is quite resistant to traditional all-purpose flours.
Almond flour is exactly what it sounds like: flour, made from almonds. There are almond flour recipes for pancakes, muffins, cakes, cookies, pizza, breaded chicken or fish, even meatballs. While it doesn’t have a particularly pronounced flavor, it does offer similar textural qualities to many other flours. It thickens, binds and helps baked goods rise, according to the International Journal of Food Science + Technology.
Almond flour nutrition
The most common question about almond flour nutrition: is it healthier than regular flour or whole wheat flour? The answer depends on your individual nutritional needs and health goals, but here are the facts.
Compared to regular flour, almond flour contains more calories, protein and fat and significantly fewer carbohydrates. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA):
One cup of almond flour (about 100 grams) has 607 calories, 21 grams of protein, 21 grams of carbohydrates and 54 grams of fat.
A cup of regular all-purpose flour has 367 calories, 10 grams of protein, 77 grams of carbohydrates and no fat.
When it comes to fiber, almond flour wins. It has about 10 grams of fiber per cup, while all-purpose flour has about 3 grams. Both flours contain about 20 percent of the daily recommended amount of iron in a one-cup serving, according to the USDA.
If you’re paleo, grain-free, or looking for a low-carb, higher-fat flour product, almond flour is for you. Be careful when substituting – almond flour bakes a little differently than all-purpose flour. Although the substitution ratio is one-to-one, you may need to add additional binding agents (think: eggs, flaxseed eggs — a mixture of flaxseed meal and water that resembles an egg in baking — or oil) to the recipe.
How to make your own almond flour
Making almond flour at home is quite a painless process. Just throw a bunch of almonds into a blender (grated or chopped almonds work best) and blend it until it’s finely ground flour. Be careful not to mix too much or you’ll be making almond butter instead.
Basic Almond Flour
Makes about 1 1/2 cups of fine almond flour
1 1/2 cups slivered almonds
Blend almonds in a high-speed blender (we like Vitamix or Ninja blenders — they can super-finely blend the almonds) for about 10 to 15 seconds. Stop mixing and use a spoon to scrape the edges. Blend again for 10 to 15 seconds. Store in an airtight glass container in a cool, dark place for up to eight weeks.
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Energy Balls
Thanks to Vanessa Rissetto
One of my favorite almond flour recipes is for these energy balls. Whether you need a small but important pre-workout snack, something to get you through Zoom meetings, or something to cure that 4 p.m. sweet tooth, this is the perfect option.
The peanut butter adds protein and satiating fats to give them staying power. And the honey and dark chocolate chips provide carbohydrates and the perfect amount of sweetness for this almond flour recipe.
Makes about 12 energy balls
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons mini dark chocolate chips
Mix in a bowl to combine peanut butter and honey. (If the mixture is difficult to stir, microwave it for 20 seconds and then stir.) Add almond flour and stir to combine. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.
Use a melon baller or small ice cream scoop to scoop out two tablespoons of the mixture at a time. Roll into a ball between the palms.
Store energy balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Paleo-Friendly Chicken Parmesan
You can be paleo and still love a nice plate of Chicken Parmesan, right? This dish has the same notes as classic chicken Parmesan – savory, crunchy and full of flavor. We just got rid of the grains and gluten and made almond flour the star of the show.
2 large chicken breasts
1/4 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of water
1/4 cup marinara sauce
2 ounces whole-milk mozzarella cheese, sliced
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Use a sharp knife to butterfly the chicken breasts: Cut horizontally along one side, until you’re almost at the other side and can open the chicken breast like a book.
Place the bottled chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet (or the back of a skillet) to soften the breasts for about 15 to 20 seconds.
In a shallow bowl, combine almond flour, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Break the egg into a second shallow bowl, add 2 tablespoons of water and whisk.
Dip the bottled chicken breasts in the egg mixture to coat them completely, then in the flour mixture to bread them completely. Shake off too much.
Place the chicken breasts on the baking tray and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Turn the breasts over. Divide marinara sauce between each breast, spread on top. Then spread mozzarella over each breast, lying on top.
Return the chicken to the oven and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes, until the cheese is completely melted.
Almond Flour Banana Pancakes
Who can say no to pancakes? They are one of the most versatile and adaptable dishes out there. They can be sweet or savory, large or small, paleo or full of gluten. These almond flour banana pancakes just scream Sunday morning.
With protein and healthy fats from the almond flour and complex carbohydrates from the overripe banana, these pancakes are dietician approved. You can even add some collagen or protein powder for an extra protein boost.
Makes 12 medium pancakes
2 ripe bananas, mashed (the riper the better)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups almond flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
A pinch of salt
Cooking spray with non-stick coating
Splash of almond milk (if needed)
Optional: 1 scoop vanilla protein powder or 3-4 scoops collagen peptides
Mash the bananas with a fork. Add to mixing bowl with 2 eggs and vanilla extract. Beat thoroughly.
Add all dry ingredients to the bowl, mix thoroughly.
Place a frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and add dollops of pancake batter (2-3 tablespoons each), leaving space between them.
Let the pancakes cook until bubbles start to form around the edges. Then use a spatula to turn and cook for 2 more minutes.
Serve with butter and maple syrup and enjoy!
King Arthur almond flour brownies
A sweet, chocolatey, grain-free dessert? Register us! These brownies are so decadent that no one would ever know they are grain free. Share these with your grain-free friends, or slice them up and store them in the freezer for future brownie emergencies.
Makes 12-16 brownies
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups almond flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square pan or a 9-inch round pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, cocoa, and eggs. Stir in the almond flour and baking powder.
Pour the batter into a baking dish and spread it out to the edges.
Bake for 33 to 38 minutes, until the top is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean.
Remove the brownies from the oven and let them cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. Store at room temperature for up to five days, or in the freezer for up to eight weeks.
King Arthur Gluten Free Almond Flour Crackers
Obviously almond flour works well in sweet dishes, but what about savory? There are actually plenty of almond flour recipes like this one that use the flour differently. Prepare to give your charcuterie board game 10 notches.
These gluten-free crackers are beyond delicious and super easy to make. Plus, they contain minimal ingredients, making them a much healthier option than many of the sodium and chemical-laden options on supermarket shelves. Plus, you can tell everyone at the party that you made them yourself with an easy almond flour recipe.
Makes about 10 dozen one inch square crackers
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 3/4 cups almond flour
For cheese flavour: 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder, a dash of Tabasco, 1 cup finely grated cheese
For seedy crackers: 1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds, poppy seeds or mix of your choice
For cinnamon sugar crackers: omit black pepper and add 2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar over the crackers before baking.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk together the egg, salt, pepper and any additional spices or additives. Add the almond flour and stir into a cohesive dough.
Place the dough on a sheet of baking paper. Blot it out with your hands and cover with an extra piece of parchment or plastic wrap. Roll dough to about 1/8-inch thickness; it should be about 10 inches x 12 inches or larger.
Remove the top paper and use a pizza wheel or knife to cut one-inch squares. Move the sliced crackers, along with parchment paper, to the baking sheet.
Bake the crackers until lightly golden (about 14 to 16 minutes). The crackers around the edge will brown faster. So transfer those to a cooling rack and return the pan to the oven to finish off the remaining crackers in the center.
Cool the crackers completely before placing them in an airtight bag to keep them at room temperature.
What it comes down to:
When it comes to cooking or baking with almond flour, that’s what it’s all about. It contains more protein and fat than all-purpose flour and contains about half the carbohydrates. That means it digests more slowly and is a bit more satiating.
If you want to eat gluten-free or grain-free, almond flour recipes are a great place to start.