Saturday, 7 May 2016

How to Replace Ingredients and Adapt Recipes For Grain Free Diets and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet GF SCD

Grain Free Vegetable Pot Pie

When embarking on a grain free diet, don't throw away your recipe books because it really is quite simple (with a little trial and error) to convert your favourite recipes and make many of them suitable for a grain free diet. When I first started cooking for the SCD, I was quite overwhelmed by it all but it didn't take me long to learn the "rules" and I've listed a few ways that we have converted our favourite recipes below.

Replacing Flour with Almond Flour in Cake and Pastry Recipes:

I always find it is easier to use scales when baking with almond flour. Almond flour contains naturally occurring oils so you need to allow for this if using it in place of regular flour. Since almond flour contains about 50% fat you would think that, theoretically, you should be able to get away without using any fat in a cake which normally requires equal quantities of flour to fat. However, I've found that the texture of an almond flour cake is vastly improved with the addition of a little fat, especially extra virgin olive oil, with the exception of muffins or cakes which contain fruit purées where it's possible to leave out the fat altogether.

For cakes, I have discovered that you will need to increase the weight of the wheat flour in the recipe by about 50% and reduce the amount of fat in the original recipe by about 50%. So, for example, try using 225/250 grams of almond flour instead of 150 grams wheat flour or 9 ounces almond flour instead of 6 ounces of wheat flour. You will also need to reduce the weight of the fat in the original recipe by 50% or even less. So when converting a cake that would normally contain 150 grams flour and 150 grams of butter, try using 225/250 grams almond flour and 75 grams of butter.

Also, you may find that the recipe is improved by adding an extra egg to the number required in the original cake recipe or by using large or extra large eggs instead of regular sized eggs. The other thing to remember is that since almond flour browns easily, you will need to lower the temperature of the oven by about 15 to 20 degrees C.

Its slightly different with pastry. The normal proportion of short crust pastry is half fat to flour but when using almond flour, a quarter the weight of fat to the weight of almond flour works well. You may be able to get away with even less fat. For example, instead of 250 grams wheat flour to 125 grams butter, you will need to use 360 grams of almond flour and 90 grams of butter. A
llowing for the fat content of the almonds, you will have increased the weight of the flour by 50% and also reduced the weight of the fat. Don't forget to reduce the oven temperature as above to prevent browning of the pastry.


Replacing Butter with Extra Virgin Olive Oil in Almond Flour Cakes :

Reduce the weight of the fat required in the recipe by 50%, as above, then further reduce the weight by one quarter.  As a guideline, a tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil weighs about 15 grams, so a quarter cup weighs 60 grams.


Replacing Sugar with Honey:

Normally you would use less volume of honey than sugar since 1 cup of sugar weighs about 200 grams and one cup of honey weighs about 350 grams. But honey actually tastes sweeter than sugar when baked in a cake so you need to allow for this too. I've found that for every 250 grams of almond flour in a cake recipe, I use ⅓ to ½ cup of honey. If you are using more than one cup of honey, reduce the amount of other liquids in the recipe by ¼ cup for every cup of honey used. Most importantly, lower the oven temperature by about 15 degrees C to prevent over-browning (if you have already reduced the temperature because you are using almond flour don't reduce it further).

Replacing Baking Powder with Bicarbonate of Soda:

Use a quarter of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda per teaspoon of baking powder and make sure the recipe contains an acidic ingredient such as honey, vinegar or lemon juice.

Replacing Molasses or Treacle:

Use date paste or dark honey.


Replacing Stock Cubes :

Make a large batch of simple home made stock, freeze it in containers and defrost overnight.


Replacing Flour in Sauces and Gravy :

My favourite way to thicken sauces and gravy is to blend in a complimentary vegetable. I make cheese sauce with cauliflower and to make a thick onion gravy, I add celery and carrots and blend the vegetables with the onions instead of straining them.


Replacing Grain in Veggie Burgers :

Use a little coconut flour, this absorbs the excess liquid. Add a teaspoon at a time until the excess moisture is absorbed.

Replacing Cream :

Dairy free: Use Coconut Cream or Cashew Cream (sweetened or unsweetened).
Lactose free: Use SCD yogurt cream.


Replacing Milk :

Use home made Coconut Milk, Cashew Milk or Almond Milk.


Replacing Soft Cheese :

Use Yogurt Cheese or a nut cheese.

Replacing Potatoes :

  • Use celeriac (celery root) or swede (rutabaga) in soups and stews.
  • Mashed or puréed cauliflower, butternut squash, swede or celeriac instead of mashed potatoes.
  • Roasted celeriac, carrots or butternut squash in place of roast potatoes.
  • Slices of Aubergine (eggplant) or cooked celeriac in place of sliced potatoes.
  • Beetroot and carrot crisps instead of potato crisps (chips).

Replacing Rice or Couscous :

Use cauliflower rice or celeriac rice.


Replacing Noodles and Spaghetti :


Replacing the Arrowroot in a Paleo Recipe to convert it to SCD:

Use an equal volume of cooked haricot (navy) beans and blend into the flour with a food processor.


I probably haven't covered everything but I think I've mentioned the replacements we use on a day to day basis. I hope you find them useful and please mention in the comments below if you have any great tips to share.


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4 comments:

  1. Thank you! I _was_ thinking I need to throw away recipes and cook books. Hopefully can try your adaptation ideas. My husband is vegan and I am SCD so really appreciate your site!

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    1. You are welcome Jen and thank you so much for your feedback. I will have a few more vegan SCD recipes to post this year. Please let me know how you get on with converting your recipes. I haven't yet made a "worthy of posting" vegan SCD muffin recipe but I will keep trying.

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  2. This is awesome!! I've never gotten around to doing the SCD diet, in particular since I did the low FODMAP diet previously and was on it for too long. I've struggled with starting anew since it's all gelatine, bone broths and utter veggie discouragement all around!

    These days I cheat with everything far too much (coffee, sugar, dairy, gluten), since my internal flora improved insanely well after introducing specific probiotics and fermented foods. My reflux/dyspepsia is still bad however... This has given me hope!

    Brilliant straightforward instructions and terribly helpful! I wish I had my own little cooking community like you seem to have if I'm not mistaken. Thank you :)

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    1. Hi Sophia

      Thank you, I'm so happy it's encouraged you. There are a few vegetarians as well as vegans on the SCD now. In fact there's a Facebook group called Vegetarian/Vegan Followers Of The Specific Carbohydrate Diet if you want to check it out.

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