Chickpea flour is just another great ingredient that I use now and then to upgrade the nutritional profile of my menu. This gluten-free flour is known for its unique nutty flavor, which I personally love.
On a random weekend evening, it felt like having Indian-style potato fritters, and the recipe called for the chickpea flour. But to my surprise, there was none of it present in my kitchen pantry, so instead of going out, I went ahead to explore some new possibilities. And just like that, I found few amazing substitutes to replace chickpea flour in my recipe.
I have tried all the possible chickpea flour substitutes in different recipes, and they all turned out to be great. You can use whole-wheat flour, cassava, quinoa, oat, millet, seitan, almond, buckwheat, and amaranth flours instead of chickpea flour.
What is Chickpea Flour?
Chickpea flour is a ground powder processed out of roasted or unroasted garbanzo beans or chickpeas. They are two types of chickpeas;
- Kabuli Chickpeas
- Desi Chickpeas (Bengal Chickpeas)
The Kabuli chickpeas are tan-colored beans that give light-colored flour. Whereas desi chickpeas have smaller beans with rougher hulls and darker colors. The chickpeas flour commonly sold at the store is processed out of the desi chickpeas. It is also known as besan or gram flour. Chickpea flour does have a unique nutty taste, but when it is cooked with other ingredients, the flavor is neutralized. The flour appears yellowish in color, so the baked or fried goods made out of chickpea flour also get a darker golden color.
To extract the flour out of the Bengal chickpeas, first, the dark hulls are removed from the beans, and then the inner bean is split into two. Now the hulled and split beans are ground into a powdered form.
How to Use Chickpea Flour?
Chickpea flour is versatile, and you can use it in a variety of recipes as a binder, a thickening agent, or as an essential ingredient. You can find this flour listed in the ingredient list of several recipes like:
- Vegetable burgers
- Quick bread
What Does Chickpea Flour Taste Like?
Before replacing the chickpea flour in a recipe, you should understand that what are the characteristics of this flour that we should be looking for in other alternatives. Firstly, this flour is processed out of chickpeas or garbanzo beans. It is essentially gluten-free, rich in fibers and other micro and macronutrients. Since it is made out of raw chickpeas, it gets its distinctive taste and color. It is yellowish in color and has a rich nutty flavor.
When mixed with a liquid base, the chickpea flour gives a thick sticky batter. You can use it to make snacks, baked goods and to coat a variety of items before frying because this tasty flour can give you the crispiest coating ever.
10 Basic Substitutes for Chickpea Flour
While keeping all the above-mentioned characteristics in mind, I tried different flour substitutes in making the same recipe. And each flour gave good results. So, if you have any of the following alternatives at your home, you can go ahead and give them a try:
1. Whole Wheat Flour
Well, if you are looking for any Flour substitute, then you can find whole wheat flour always on the cards. You see, whole wheat flour is quite useful, and it is suitable to make a variety of recipes; whether you’re baking bread or making muffins or cookies, whole wheat flour can give you as many nutrients as chickpeas flour. The only difference between chickpeas and whole wheat flour is that the whole wheat flour is more neutral in taste and it is grainier and more fibrous, but it can be the best substitute for chickpeas in baking. If you don’t have whole wheat flour, then all-purpose flour can also be used as a good substitute for chickpea flour.
2. Quinoa Flour
I just love quinoa as a grain. It is a perfect low-carb substitute for another carb-rich grain. So, using quinoa flour as a substitute for chickpea flour was naturally the first thing that hit my mind. It has a very nice texture, which is perfect for making nuggets, buns and quinoa balls, etc. Quinoa flour is also a very great binder, which means you can add a tablespoon or two of this flour to make burger patties or kebabs. Moreover, flour has a very rich balance of nutrients, and it is a great source of fibers as well.
3. Cassava Flour
Have you ever tried cassava flour before in a recipe? Well, if you haven’t, then you should, especially if you are looking for a replacement for chickpea flour in baking because cassava flour has a good taste and texture. It is processed out of the cassava root, and the cassava roots have potato-like flesh and texture. And it is filled with some essential proteins, fibers, and micronutrients. Cassava flour is also a good gluten-free option to replace chickpea flour. You can add this white-colored flour to make bread or muffins or any other baked goods.
4. Millet Flour
I don’t know if you have used millet flour before, but if you have, then you would know that this flour is a great source of dietary fibers, amino acids, and other minerals and vitamins. It has a good texture and gives a great consistency to a variety of recipes without adding extra gluten. It is not only a good substitute for chickpea flour but all other gluten-rich flour, so if you are on a gluten-free diet, using millet flour is a great option. You can replace chickpea flour with millet flour in an equal amount, whether you are baking bread, or making a snack, or using it for a crispy coating.
5. Oat Flour
Oat flour is another gluten-free option that you can use to replace chickpea flour; It is easily available in the market. And you can make your own oat flour by grinding the oats or oatmeal in a food processor. This flour is good for making baked goods like bread, cookies, cakes, and muffins, etc. And it is also good as a thickening agent. Whether you are making a snack bar or cooking some fritters, count on the oat flour.
6. Almond Flour
Almond flour is my favorite low-carb ketogenic flour. I use it mostly to restrict my carb intake on a diet. So, when I was thinking of replacing chickpea flour in falafel or making a burger patty, my mind instantly thought of using the almond flour. It is easily available in the market, it comes in blanched and unblanched forms, and it has a very delightful taste with a very neutral aroma. And it is super healthy. You can try it as a substitute for chickpea flour on a keto diet.
7. Seitan Flour
I don’t know if you have ever used seitan flower, but I tried using the seitan flour as a substitute for chickpea flour in different recipes, and it worked out great. Seitan is actually a product extracted from wheat. It is rich in protein. And it is more concentrated than wheat flour, so it has a grainy texture, and it gives you a stickier batter when mixed with water. You can use it as a thickener, or make baked goods like bread, etc.
8. Buckwheat Flour
Buckwheat flour is another way to make your meals delicious and healthy. It is mostly used in making healthy pasta recipes. Buckwheat is a commonly used cereal that is good for making porridges and morning meals, but you can use its flour as well to make snack bars, balls, and baked goods.
9. Spelt Flour
Spelt is a grain, which can give the spelt flour. This flour has a nutty taste with a good aroma. And it is not as versatile as other flours in terms of taste and consistency, but you can use it to make desserts and bread if you have no other option on the table. You can then bake brownies, muffins, cookies, any dessert of your choice using this spelt flour.
10. Amaranth Flour
You must have used amaranth flour in making morning porridges and oatmeal, but its flour can also be used to make some delicious meals like bread and other baked good. Today amaranth flour is not much in use, as it was in the previous times. But this flour is great to make flatbread, quick bread, and tortillas. Amaranth flour can also be used as a thickening agent to thicken stews, soups, and curries, etc.
11. Homemade Chickpea Flour
If by any chance, you have chickpeas or garbanzo beans at home, then you can make your own chickpea flour. To do so, you will need dried chickpeas or garbanzo beans and a baking sheet. First, rinse the chickpeas with cold water, soak them in water overnight and then drain and spread them on a baking sheet. The goal is to dry them as much as possible. Meanwhile, you can preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. And then, roast the chickpeas for 15 minutes in the oven.
Make sure to keep the cooking time to only 15 minutes. Otherwise, you will get overcooked roasted chickpeas which give a strong flavor to the chickpea flour, which is not wanted. You can also dehydrate the chickpeas in your microwave oven or in a dehydrator. Once the chickpeas are dehydrated, you can grind them in a food processor until they make a fine powder. You can store this powder in a clean, dry sealable jar and then stock it in your kitchen cabinet or pantry.
Table: Flours and Their Nutritional Profile