Paleo Flour and Other Sundry Substitutes

I really do love spaghetti squash with spaghetti sauce, but there days when I find myself wondering whether I am not just kidding myself with my assorted Paleo substitutes. Spaghetti squash vaguely resembles spaghetti, but with substitutes you can only go so far. Paleo pizza and paleo pancakes may be delicious, but don’t really taste much like the real thing. I find myself wondering if those of us eating these substitutes are similar to vegans who miss the taste of meat so much that we concoct strange non-food items like tofu pups, tofurkey, garden burgers and not dogs. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem fair that certain flavors and types of food that we’ve become accustomed to over the course of our non-Paleo lives should be reserved for grain eaters. And so I have been experimenting with various recipes. I’d love to make crackers or toast, pizza crust, and yes, pancakes. I wanted to post links to some of the recipes I’ve tried, and get your feedback as well. What has worked well for you and what hasn’t?

The recipes I’ve tried for pizza crust have included almond flour, almond butter and egg whites. The biggest problem I’ve had with the crust is that it is sticky and I can’t get it as spread out on the pan as I would like.  It does not really taste anything like pizza crust. I’d like to experiment with cashew or macadamia butter, which I hear is a bit less sticky. I’ve also heard good things about chebe bread crusts. This is a Brazilian invention made of manioc (tapioca) flour.

The best Paleo pancake recipe I’ve made is Scotty’s Quick Paleo Pancakes. They are yum and have eggs, apple sauce and nut butter. I am always looking for more, though, so if you’ve got any please post them in the comments.

As far as flour substitutes, the first Paleo breads I tried to make were with almond flour, and from Karen Robinson’s website, Guide for Self-Healing. Check out the recipes here. Some do have cheese and honey, so not entirely Paleo, but close enough for many people. The ones I have made came out pretty well, but the cookies don’t seem to heat evenly (even when using a convection oven) so it is hard to have them  not be a little burnt on the edges and a little gooey in the middle. I am still trying to perfect them. The bread, however, is delicious and I love being able to spread almond butter on something from time to time.

I have yet to experiment with coconut flour, but now that I’ve moved I  managed to find some at my nifty local grocery store! Here are some recipes from Mark’s Daily Apple. If you have experimented with it, please do share your experiences in the comments. Eventually, I hope to have a resource to all different types of Paleo “flours”–what they work best for and what they should not be used for–but I need your help!

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  1. I don’t recall whether or not you have ever experimented with acorn flour, but I recommend it. Living in the northeast, white oak acorns are my choice. I have scouted out a few good trees that usually produce and I gather the acorns at the end of September. It takes a couple of evenings cracking them open to get the meat and then another evening leeching, mashing, and drying. I dry it by lightly roasting it in a skillet which fills the house with a wonderful roasted nut scent. Then I grind it in a coffee grinder and store in glass containers in the freezer. The shelf life is several years. I especially like pancakes made with half-Ployes buckwheat flour and half-acorn flour, topped with maple syrup. Acorn flour is great in cookies, too. Not so good in bread since it doesn’t have gluten or whatever it is that makes it stick together.

  2. Wow, that is a great idea! When I was in the Southwest I could eat acorns straight off the tree–quercus arizonica doesn’t require leeching. I have played with mesquite flour a bit, but it doesn’t really rise… Thanks for the suggestion!

  3. Hi Yael,

    As far as paleo pizzas go… The best one I’ve found (and the only one I make anymore) is a recipe I found on MDA using coconut flour and flaxseed:

    I do a couple things differently than the video:
    1) I grease the pan with coconut oil before spreading the batter (it’s not really a pizza “dough”)
    2) I don’t flip it like it says in the instructions. I tried that the first time and just seemed to be an unnecessarily challenging step.

    We probably make this once a week.

  4. Wow, thanks! I will definitely try that!

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