Banana flour is sometimes called green banana flour and is a grain-free alternative flour. Its main benefits are that it contains no gluten but is full of resistant starch. Resistant starch is starch that your body cannot digest, which means that it passes through your gut without being digested. Resistant starches have several benefits including being important for the production of butyric acid and other short-chain fatty acids in the gut. You need short-chain fatty acids for brain and gut health. You can use the grain-free flours below as banana flour substitutes if you can’t find it in your local grocery store.
Your best bet: Plantain flour
Plantain flour comes from plantains; banana flour comes from bananas. It seems obvious but some websites do claim that plantain and banana flour are the same product, which is not true. Both plantains and bananas belong to the same family; which is what makes plantain flour such a good banana flour substitute; however, plantains are still an entirely different fruit. The most common plantain cultivars are larger and starchier than bananas.
Plantains are usually cooked because of their starch content whereas bananas can be eaten cooked or raw. Plantain flour is an excellent source of resistant starch. You can use raw plantain flour as a banana flour substitute in smoothies by adding a spoon or two.
A decent second choice: Potato starch
Potato starch is extracted from uncooked potatoes, which means that its composition is different from that of potato flour. Potato flour comes from whole potatoes that have been peeled and cooked and ground. It contains very little resistant starch because resistant starch breaks down when exposed to heat and potato flour is processed at high temperatures, unlike potato starch.
Like banana flour, potato starch is gluten-free and has many of the same benefits as banana flour when it comes to thickening dishes. While you won’t be able to use potato starch on its own as a grain-free flour for baking, you can use it in combination with other flours to replace wheat and other grain flours.
Potato starch is better for you if you consume it uncooked just like banana flour. Feel free to spoon some of it into a smoothie or other raw preparation.
In a pinch: Cassava flour
Cassava root comes from the peeled and sun-dried cassava tuber, which is sometimes referred to as yuca. It consists of the whole root unlike tapioca flour, which is extracted from the root and refined. Of the grain-free flours, cassava flour is often said to be the most like wheat flour in terms of how it functions in baked goods. You can use it as a 1:1 substitute in most recipes that require wheat flour, except for in yeast bread recipes.
Cassava flour is another source of resistant starch similar to banana flour. You can use cassava flour in baked goods without having to add other flours. It works well as a thickening agent. Cassava flour’s downside is that unlike the other banana flour alternatives on this list, it is used only in cooked preparations.
Tigernuts are not nuts at all. They are small tubers similar to potatoes. Tigernut flour is popular among people who use the paleo diet and is known as a good source of resistant starch. Like banana flour, you can use raw tigernut flour to maximize your benefits from its resistant starch.