Gluten-Free Ancient Grains

Learn more about ancient gluten-free grains and how to use them in GF recipes

Amaranth, buckwheat, chia, millet, quinoa, sorghum, and teff are sometimes called "ancient grains" because each was an important food source for ancient civilizations. Learn more about these ancient grains, their nutritional attributes and how you can use them in gluten-free recipes.

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    Amaranth

    Amaranth

    Jen Grantham / Getty Images

    Amaranth is loaded with unique nutritional properties. Here are 10 reasons why you should add amaranth to your gluten-free recipes.

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    Buckwheat

    Nutritious Gluten-Free Buckwheat

    The Spruce / Teri Lee Gruss

    Buckwheat is the seed of a plant called "fagopyrum esculentum." It's related to rhubarb, not wheat, rye or barley and despite the confusing name, buckwheat is gluten-free. Buckwheat is a unique gluten-free food that tastes great and can really boost the nutritional value of gluten-free recipes.​

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    Chia

    Whole Chia Seeds

    The Spruce / Teri Lee Gruss

    The Aztecs, Mayans, and Native Americans valued chia seeds as a source of concentrated energy and nutrition. This tiny super-seed has survived the ages- and the Chia Pet™ craze to become a valuable ingredient for gluten-free cooks.

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    Millet and Teff

    Nutritious Gluten-Free Millet
    istockphoto

    Food anthropologists believe that millet was the first cereal plant domesticated by man. Teff is closely related to millet. It is such a small seed grain that most of the millet grown in the US is used as birdseed and animal feed but millet and teff are highly nutritious gluten-free whole grain and flour products.

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    Quinoa

    Nutritious Gluten-Free Quinoa Flour

    The Spruce / Teri Lee Gruss

    Quinoa (KEEN-wah) is higher in protein than most "cereal" grains. This means that quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids that we need for health. This tiny seed is a plant related to spinach, chard, and beets. It is native to South America and was a very important food source the ancient Inca civilization.

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    Sorghum

    Homemade Gluten-Free Flour Blend with Sorghum

    The Spruce / Teri Lee Gruss

    Sorghum is a cereal grain that originated in Africa about 5000 years ago where it continues to be an important food source today. It's sometimes called milo and in India it is known as jowar.