You may have read about the benefits of including more almonds in the diet. But what about cooking with almond meal? What recipes is it suited to? And how healthy is it?
This article will answer these questions for you. If you’re looking for healthier options than regular flour such as that made from wheat, you may wish to try it out. Its versatility has made it one of the favourite ingredients for cooks but it has also gained popularity because of its gluten-free and paleo properties.
At Graina, our Almond Meal Natural is a favourite alternative. It gives your cooking a sweet, nutty taste, is gluten-free and has a unique texture for bread, cakes and biscuits.
Our Almond Meal Blanched has a finer texture and is superbly suited to baking macarons or Italian-style biscuits.
Exploring the difference between almond meal and almond flour
Both are, of course, made from Australian almonds and both are healthy, wholesome substitutes for regular flour made from wheat or other grains.
But the first thing you will notice is the difference in texture. Because almond meal is made by using raw, unskinned Australian almonds, it has a coarser feel. This gives it a more crumbly structure than almond flour, which is ground from almonds with the skins removed.
This coarser texture makes it more suitable for cakes, biscuits and a delicious coating for anything from chicken schnitzels to roast vegetables. In the same way as breadcrumbs are used. Try it as the base for your next pizza!
When to use it in cooking
Long a favourite for professional sweet makers, almond meal also lends itself to many unbelievably delicious sweet recipes in the traditional French and Italian styles. For more recipes, see the SBS food site here.
Because it has so many uses in the kitchen, it lends itself to a healthier version of many recipes. Other possibilities include crepes, pancakes, waffles and quiche crusts. In fact, you will soon discover the adaptability of the meal means you can apply them to a wide range of recipes.
You can try out a number of recipes at this site.
For example, at Graina we see many Melbourne people using almond meal in their cake recipes instead of wheat flour with incredible results.
The health benefits of almond meal
Almond meal has increased in popularity as scientific knowledge of the importance of gut health has become more well known. The understanding of how wheat grain aggravates certain digestive conditions, such as Coeliac disease, has many sufferers looking for alternatives.
If you suffer from these disorders, or if you want to tweak your diet to reduce your gluten intake, try using it as a 1 to 1 substitute for wheat flour when you make bread.
However, it also has many other health benefits. They are:
A great source of Vitamin E
Just a quarter of a cup of gives you a huge 6.1 milligrams of Vitamin E, close to half of your recommended daily intake. This is excellent for helping to repair and maintain skin health. The Vitamin E functions as an antioxidant, helping in the body’s fight against toxic invaders. It also plays a big role in helping in the maintenance of the immune system.
Though these are early research days, there are several studies which point to the possibility of the antioxidant element of Vitamin E lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and heart disease. See here, here and here.
High in minerals and fibre
Almond meal is high in minerals such as copper and magnesium which promote good health. It is also high in fibre and contributes to a diet rich in prebiotics to feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut.
Low in carbs
It’s low in carbohydrates relative to wheat flour. Combined with the high fibre content, this makes it an ideal alternative for people looking to lose weight or to introduce more paleo foods into their diet.
Helps control blood sugar
Unlike wheat flour, almond meal has a low glycemic index. This means it does not cause big blood sugar spikes after eating. This is very useful for people with diabetes (or prediabetes) who are looking to control their blood sugar response.
Our almond meal natural or almond meal blanched can be sourced at our online store. Or you can visit our shop in Moonee Ponds, Melbourne. If you have any queries about almond meal, Australian almonds — or any of our products — contact us here.
At Graina, we stock a wide variety of spices, grains, muesli, teas and nuts and seeds. Your health and wellbeing is our priority and we guarantee that all products are 100 percent organic, where they are marked as being so.
Do you have a favourite almond meal recipe? Let us know here at our Facebook Page.