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5 Fantastic Gluten Free Grains to Add to Your Healthy Diet, without Rice

Updated: Feb 6

Rice may seem like the obvious choice when looking for gluten-free grains. After all, it's easy to find at the grocery store and fits nicely into most budgets. But before loading up your cart with bag after bag, it's worth looking a little closer.

While delicious in stir fries and rice bowls, rice has a dark side. Studies show that rice grown in the U.S. contains concerning levels of inorganic arsenic, a highly toxic form of this heavy metal. And with its sky-high spot on the glycemic index, rice can cause unwanted blood sugar spikes. Not exactly the nutritional rock star we want on our plates day after day.

The good news? With so many naturally gluten-free whole grains available, you have options. Experiment with quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and teff. Discover just how tasty and versatile these nutrition-packed grains can be, without the hidden health hazards. Your body and taste buds will thank you.

Brown pottery bowl on a red and white striped kitchen towel. Bowl is filled with cooked rice.

Many of the processed gluten free foods you find on the grocery store shelves have rice flour, rice syrup, rice bran oil, and/or rice milk. There are brands that offer alternatives to rice filled products like Simple Mills that uses nuts and nut flours.

So, you may ask, what are some gluten free grains that are not rice? Would you believe there are several? And guess what? They are healthier, tastier, and with online shopping, most of them are not hard to find. Below is a list of 5 options to replace rice and there are several more out there.


Amaranth has a nutty-taste, and is actually a seed which originates from South America. It is a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, copper, iron, vitamin C, phosphorus, selenium, manganese, and magnesium. It’s also a source of complete protein, as it contains all the essential amino acids, that the body can’t make on its own.

Amaranth can be cooked as a cereal, sprouted, toasted, and even popped like popcorn.

To cook, add 1 part amaranth seeds to 3 parts boiling water. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Serve cooked amaranth with milk or a milk alternative, your favorite fruit, chopped nuts and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey for breakfast. Use amaranth to thicken soups and stews. Mix cooked amaranth into muffin and pancake batters.

Buckwheat Groats

Buckwheat is not a type of wheat, despite the 'wheat' in its name. Buckwheat isn't a grain, but the seed of a fruit that is related to rhubarb and sorrel. Buckwheat is a good source of protein, manganese, fibre, phosphorus, B vitamins, magnesium, and zinc.

You can find buckwheat groats either unroasted or roasted. Roasted buckwheat has an earthy, nutty taste, unroasted buckwheat has a soft, subtle flavor.

To cook, add 1 part buckwheat groats to 2 parts water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, about 12 minutes.

Enjoy cooked buckwheat as porridge topped with your favorite fruit and nuts. Use buckwheat instead of brown rice in stuffed peppers and as a base for marinated meats.


Millet is about the size of a mustard seed, and was first farmed 10,000 years ago, predating rice and wheat in parts of Asia, India and Africa. This pale yellow grain is a good source of B vitamins, iron, vitamin A, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and essential amino acids.

To cook, add 1 part millet grains to 2.5 parts boiling water or broth (vegetable, chicken, or beef). Cover, return to a boil, then simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. For a nuttier flavour, toast millet grains in a dry skillet before cooking.

Millet’s mild flavour makes it versatile. Serve it as a hot breakfast cereal or as a side dish instead of rice. It also makes some amazing pasta!


Quinoa is in the amaranth family and it is rich in protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, manganese, copper, iron, magnesium, and zinc.

To cook, add 1 part quinoa to 2 parts boiling water, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Quinoa should always be rinsed before cooking.


Teff is a type of millet, it is a staple food in Ethiopia where it’s made into a sourdough flatbread. This tiny grain is very high in resistant starch, a type of fibre that helps control blood sugar and body weight and maintains digestive health. It is also a good source of B vitamins, copper, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc.

To cook, add 1/2 cup teff grains to 1.5 to 2 cups of boiling water. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Teff grains, which come in red, brown or white, range in flavor from mild and nutty, to sweet and molasses-like. Cooked teff can add texture to burgers and meatloaf. The grain can be a great breakfast option to replace oatmeal or porridge. This covers just 5 of over 70 different baking ingredients that are naturally gluten free including flours, binding agents, and more. Interested in learning more? Click HERE to sign up for a informational baking class!

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