Faba Beans: The Next Big Gluten-Free Food?

Faba beans could be the next superstar food of gluten-free groupies.

Let’s hear it for food technologists. A Finnish group of researchers may have unlocked the key to harnessing the power of an ancient protein crop to create the next potentially hot high-protein, gluten-free food source that gains superstar status: the faba bean.

This ancient bean (also known as the broad bean) has been mostly utilized for pig and cattle feed, but thanks to a bit of ingenuity, it can now be used as a food ingredient, specifically creating faba bean flour that can make protein-rich, gluten-free bread. Faba beans contain 25–30% protein (twice that of wheat grain), and they’re an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. While faba beans have been used to create gluten-free pasta, they have not been traditionally targeted for baking purposes until now. The technologists at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland were able to create a flour that mimics the sensory sensations—think taste, smell, feel—of other flours.

No word when we’ll see faba bean bread and pasta on our grocery shelves but don’t be surprised when you do.

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