6 Wheat-Free Grain Alternatives You Should Try

Wheat-Free Grains Add Variety to Your Diet

Look at any prepackaged wheat-free or gluten-free specialty food, and it's almost a guarantee you'll find rice, corn, or potatoes among the ingredients. These starches are some of the major dietary staples for patients with wheat allergies or celiac disease.

Lesser-known grains can add variety to your diet, and many are nutritional powerhouses. Here's an introduction to six less-common grains.


amaranth in a bowl
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Amaranth, a relative of pigweed, is often sold as flour and as a whole grain. It is nutritious because it's high in protein and fiber, making it an especially useful choice for vegetarians with food allergies.


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In America, most people eat buckwheat in the form of buckwheat pancakes or tabbouleh. This nutty-tasting grain is a relative of rhubarb and a staple of Eastern European cooking.

Buckwheat has a hearty flavor that works especially well with wintertime root vegetables and roasted meat dishes.

Whole-grain buckwheat groats are sold as kasha. Whole-grain buckwheat soba noodles are also available, but read labels carefully, as many soba noodles contain a mixture of buckwheat and wheat.

Buckwheat Recipes: Try buckwheat in Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes


millet in bowl
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Is millet gluten-free? The answer is, yes.

A staple food in much of Africa, you can use millet flour almost interchangeably with rice flour and it makes a good substitute for couscous in its whole state.

Millet has a mild, somewhat nutty taste, and has the best flavor when toasted in a dry skillet before cooking.

Millet Recipes: Try Hot Millet Breakfast Cereal


quinuoa in bowl with wooden shovel
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Quinoa is touted as a "super-grain" for good reason. This gluten-free wheat alternative is one of the most protein-rich grains and packed with vitamins and minerals.

Quinoa pasta is increasingly popular; you can also find whole-grain quinoa and quinoa flour.  

Rinse whole-grain quinoa several times before you cook it to remove a bitter coating called saponin that can make quinoa taste unappealing.


teff grain on white background
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In Ethiopia, teff is the main ingredient in a traditional, soft, sourdough flatbread called injera. You may be able to find the small seeds and flour at health food stores or grocery co-ops. Teff is slowly becoming more widely available in America, due in part to more diagnoses of celiac disease.

Wild Rice

wild rice in wooden spoon
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Wild rice may look similar to rice, but it's actually unrelated. It's a nice change of pace from "regular" rice dishes.

Wild rice takes longer to cook, so you can't use it in place of other types of white or brown rice in recipes without changing the cooking time and amount of liquid.

Wild rice flour, which lends an unusual color and pleasant nuttiness to baked goods, is also on the market.

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