Amaranth flour is a popular gluten-free flour that is packed with nutrients and which also gives a mild malted flavor to baked goods. Despite being trendy, you may have trouble finding it in some places. If you need an amaranth flour substitute, here are some options:
Your best bet: Quinoa flour
Quinoa is another seed from Latin America that is often used as a grain. Like amaranth, it is native to the Andes mountains. The fact that it contains all of the essential amino acids and is a complete protein is one of the properties that sets amaranth flour apart from most other alternative flours. Quinoa is also a complete protein.
In recent years, quinoa has garnered a reputation outside of its place of origin for being highly nutritious; some people have even dubbed it a superfood. Its reputation and popularity have made quinoa flour easier to find than amaranth flour in most places. In addition to being nutritionally similar, both flours are gluten-free so you should be able to use quinoa flour as a 1:1 amaranth flour substitute in gluten-free recipes. If you do need gluten, you will need to add wheat flour to quinoa flour just as you would to amaranth flour.
The downside of quinoa flour as an amaranth flour substitute is its taste. Quinoa flour has a somewhat different taste to that of amaranth flour. Quinoa has a grassy flavor with a bitter edge in comparison to amaranth flour’s earthy nuttiness. If you are grinding the quinoa seeds yourself, you can toast them first to tone down the bitterness and increase the nutty notes in the flavor profile.
A decent second choice: Sorghum flour
Unlike amaranth, sorghum originated in Africa and is a true grain but the two still have many things in common. Sorghum is a nutritional powerhouse just like amaranth. It has many of the same nutrients as amaranth including calcium, magnesium and iron. It also has high levels of protein, antioxidants and a lot of fiber. Sorghum flour contains no gluten and can stand in for most other gluten-free flours including amaranth flour. Its high protein content keeps baked goods from being as crumbly as those made with other gluten-free flours. It has a mild nutty flavor similar to that of wheat.
While it is not a complete protein since it lacks the amino acid lysine, sorghum can give you much of the protein that you need each day.
In a pinch: Barley flour
Barley is a grain, not a seed like amaranth. Aside from that, barley flour shares many important similarities with amaranth flour. For example, barley flour does have a malt flavor that is similar to that of amaranth flour as well as a hint of nuttiness. It contains many of the same nutrients found in amaranth flour and is richer in most of them. It is a particularly good source of dietary fiber. You can use barley flour in many of the same recipes that require amaranth flour. Barley is not gluten-free like amaranth,
Barley flour is relatively easy to find when compared to other alternative flours. It is also inexpensive.
Barley flour is a low-gluten flour, not a gluten-free one. As a result, you may be able to use it as an amaranth flour substitute in some recipes without adding wheat flour for elasticity. You should also avoid it if you are gluten intolerant.
All-purpose flour contains gluten, so it won’t be an option if what you want is a gluten-free flour but it is versatile and easy to find. Its mild flavor also works well in most recipes for baked goods.