I love my grains, but I also love my non-grains. Being a Celiac and just a crazy foodie (one that loves potatoes and plantains like no other), I live for all the grain-free starches and carbohydrates out there. For dinner, I am 90% of the time having a non-grain starch. Growing up, I really only ever had potatoes and sweet potatoes as my non-grains, but once I started diving into my passion for cooking and finding every fun way to make gluten-free (allergy-free) living amazing, I began trying everything I could get my hands on.
I’d never turn down a potato. If I could live on them, I would. I consider myself a potato
snob connoisseur. It makes me so angry when people don’t know the difference between a Purple Sweet Potato and an Okinawan Sweet Potato. But I’m not here to talk only about potatoes today. I’ve compiled a list of all the best grain-free (gluten-free and paleo…so I’m not including beans here) starches and carbohydrates! There are so many, but they may just be my favorite category of food!
Grain-Free Starches and Carbohydrates
Starting with the obvious, but I’ll break this down a bit further. The varieties of potatoes you can have are:
Russet Potatoes (baking, frying, mashing, roasting)
Red Potatoes (roasting, mashing, soups, salads)
White Potatoes (mashing, steam/boil, frying, salads)
Yellow Potatoes (grilling, roasting, mashing, salads)
Purple/Blue Potatoes (roasting, grilling, salads, baking)
Fingerling Potatoes (frying, roasting, salads)
Petite Potatoes (frying, roasting, salads)
2. Sweet Potatoes
Yams are not very common actually which is a misconception when buying them. Yams are a starchy root while sweet potatoes have a sweet lighter texture with much thinner skin. Sweet potatoes are in the family of flowering vines while normal potatoes (talked about in #1) are related to tomatoes, pepper, and eggplants! <— knowledge!
Speckled Purple Sweet Potatoes – purple/magenta skin with speckled magenta flesh (boiled, frying, roasting)
Envy Sweet Potatoes – pale orange skin and flesh (roasting, baking, casseroles)
Beauregard Sweet Potatoes – rusty red skin with orange flesh (baking, roasting, mashing, frying)
Hannah Sweet Potatoes – tan skin with cream colored flesh (mashing)
Creamsicle Sweet Potatoes – cream-colored skin with bright orange flesh (frying, boiling)
Jewel Sweet Potatoes – copper skin with deep orange flesh (baking, roasting, casseroles)
Covington Sweet Potatoes – rose skin with orange flesh (baking, roasting, pies, sweet casseroles)
Nugget Sweet Potatoes – rose skin with orange flesh (roasting, baking, glazing)
Garnet Sweet Potatoes – red/purple skin with orange flesh (baking, roasting, pies)
Amish Bush Sweet Potatoes – rose skin with orange flesh (baking, roasting, mashing)
Korean Sweet Potatoes – purple skin with white flesh (baking, boiling, roasting)
O’Henry Sweet Potatoes – cream-colored skin and flesh (baking, roasting)
Willowleaf Sweet Potatoes – orange/red skin with orange flesh (baking, roasting)
Okinawan Sweet Potatoes – tan skin with purple/magenta flesh (baking, roasting, boiling, steaming, scalloped)
Purple Sweet Potatoes – light purple skin with light purple flesh (baking, roasting)
Stokes Purple Sweet Potatoes – dark purple skin and flesh (baking, roasting)
The glorious plantain! Eaten while still having green skin (not sweet and good for frying, roasting, or grilling) or eaten when the skin is yellow and the plantain is more ripe and sweet (perfect for baking or roasting, but also for mashing and blending for baking up sweets and breads!). These babies are delicious no matter when you cook them up! Just slices a knife down the skin, remove the peel and cut your plantain how you like!
There are tons of squashes and the Fall and Winter and squash season! From baking, roasting, soups, salads, pies, breads, and casseroles, the possibilities are truly endless!
Kambocha Squash (also a Red Kambocha variety)
Sweet Dumpling Squash
Blue Hubbard Squash
Red Kuri Squash
These are a really thick dark brown “bark-like” skin that must be peeled before use. Most commonly used for fries and baked. You need to boil the yucca root first before roasting!
Perfect for soups, purees, or baked and roasted! Light and “airy” with a very distinct flavor!
Pretty common for boiling, mashing, roasting, soups, and casseroles. Peeling is optional!
8. Celeriac Root (Celery Root)
This funny “ugly” looking root is surprisingly really tasty! It’s perfect for (peeling first) then boiling and mashing. A great swap for white potatoes! You can actually eat it raw in salads too or blended into a creamy soup!
9. Lotus Root
This pretty little thing is actually the steam of the lotus flower. It looks like a flower when you slice it and see the holes going around in a circle. Commonly used in Asian dishes, it is great for soups, fried, stir-fried, steamed, and boiled.
This yellow fleshed root with dark brown thick skin is much more starchy than a potato. It must be cooked (dangerous when raw) by either boiling, steaming, mashing. You can blend it then into veggie burgers, soups, or breads.
11. Honorable Mentions: Carrots and Beets
These guys are way more veggie to me, but they are a great addition to some baked non-grains! Slice and roast, boil and puree, they are still both great roots and sources of carbohydrates!
There are so many options that you can never be bored with non-grains! Healthy whole foods from nature, packing in lasting energy. The possibilities for utilizing them all are endless as well. You can never go wrong with roasting, but getting creative and making things like breads, pancakes, and noodles just take non-grains to a whole new level! Before I go, I can a side-by-side comparison of a Stokes Purple Sweet Potato and an Okinawan Sweet Potato. I just need to clear this up once and for all! The left is the Stokes and the right is the Okinawan.
Different…very different. The inside of a Stokes is dark deep purple. The inside of an Okinawan is purple with white flecks, kinda tye-dyed!
So tell me:
+ What is your favorite non-grain starch/carb? Sweet potatoes (all the varieties), but Stokes will always be my #1!
+ Have you ever been completely grain-free? No and I don’t plan on it!