Fiber-rich foods are essential in a healthy diet. What are fibers, you ask? Fibers are the kind of carbohydrates that are hard to break down and are left somewhat undigested in your stomach. Thus, feeding the bacteria in the gut gives us many health benefits.
“Eat more protein, eat more fiber.” You must have heard these from your doctor. Today, I’ll be telling you one of the fiber-rich foods but mainly how you can substitute it.
Out of the many fiber-rich foods, guar beans hold a special place. Also known as cluster beans, it is the vital source of guar gum.
Guar gum is used as a thickening agent in cooking. Did you know they can successfully replace wheat flour in baking recipes? Surprised? So was I. That’s what pushed me to learn more about guar gum and its substitutes.
Wondering what they are? Some of the best guar gum substitutes are xanthan gum, all-purpose flour, agar agar powder, locust bean gum, and gelatin.
Let us delve a little bit into guar gum and then move on to its substitutes.
Quick Peek: Guar Gum
The following sections tell you more about guar gum, its flavor, texture, uses, and health benefits.
What Is Guar Gum?
Guar gum is a fiber sourced from guar beans (cluster beans). It is obtained after the guar seeds are dehusked, milled, and screened. It is also known by other names like; guarkernmehl, guaran, goma guar, gomme guar, and galactomannan. It is available as either coarse or fine ground powder.
Guar gum is often mistaken to be Xanthan gum. This happens because they are sometimes used interchangeably in many recipes. They serve the same function; thickening and stabilizing. Both are gluten-free as well!
Describing Guar Gum: Flavor and Texture
Guar gum has an earthy flavor with subtle hints of bitterness. Due to the same, its presence doesn’t interfere with the flavor of other ingredients in the recipe.
Guar gum has a slimy texture and can hydrate rapidly in cold water systems, rendering viscous solutions.
Uses Of Guar Gum
Guar gum is mainly used as a thickening agent in recipes. It also acts as a suspending agent in beverages. Guar gum can be used in dips, sauces, condiments, baking, and glazing. It is an efficient plasticizer and emulsifier!
Guar gum primarily binds and thickens the ingredients together. It also helps retain the moisture of the dish. With an amazing liquid viscosity, it can be used in cocktails as well.*Ooh*
Guar Gum on The Health Radar | Looking Through The Wellness Telescope
Guar gum is high in fiber, which boosts the digestive system. Consumption of guar gum can relieve the pain associated with constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome.
It can also help in lowering high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Some studies have also pointed out that guar gum is effective in weight loss and appetite control.
Why Should We Substitute Guar Gum?
If guar gum is amazing on every ground, why are we bothering about its substitutes? We have a few reasons to speak.
High consumption of guar gum can adversely affect people. Some of the symptoms include gas production, diarrhea, and loose stools. In rare cases, guar gum can trigger allergic reactions in some people.
If these are the reasons, you would very much want to relish the flavor of guar gum without actually consuming it. Or, you might be simply out of guar gum and need an alternative to save the day.
Well, without prolonging further, shall we get into the part where we discuss guar gum substitutes?
13 Best Guar Gum Substitutes
Now that we know what guar gum and its uses are let’s see the thirteen best substitutes for it. I have compiled all of them in a neat list below.
Xanthan gum is made with fermented corn sugar and is often used to replace guar gum as it is gluten-free. They are often used together or interchangeably, exhibiting similarity in their properties.
Xanthan gum thickens, stabilizes, binds, and emulsifies the ingredients in your mixture. This makes xanthan gum one of the closest substitutes for guar gum in dips, sauces, cakes, or desserts.
Let me tell you how you can make sugar free teriyaki sauce using xanthan gum. Here is the recipe for the sugar free teriyaki sauce.
The age-old all-purpose flour is the most versatile option to swap with guar gum. This white powdery ingredient is perfect for thickening and stabilizing your cakes and desserts. Most likable factor? It must already be readily available in your pantry!
All-purpose flour is the next best alternative for guar gum due to its easy availability and thickening properties.
Agar-agar powder comprises carbohydrates extracted from red algae. It is the vegan alternative to gelatin. That being said, it is also used to replace guar gum. It can be used in baking, gelling, and decorating food items.
Agar-agar powder is used as a laxative and thickening agent in soups and sauces. Due to the same, guar gum is replaced by agar-agar powder in baking, gelling, and decorating food items.
Use some agar agar to make delicious sweets. Here’s the recipe for choco milk jelly bar for you.
4. Locust Bean Gum
Locust bean gum is a type of gum obtained from the seeds of the carob trees that grow in the Mediterranean. Also known as carob gum, it is a natural thickener used in the food industry.
Locust bean gum is a white powder with a mildly sweet flavor with subtle hints of chocolaty taste. Don’t be misled by the name locust – locust bean gum is completely a vegan ingredient.
While guar gum works in cold food products, the application of locust bean gum as an alternative for guar gum will work only in hot food products.
Also, you may have to lessen the consistency since locust bean gum is thicker and more concentrated than guar gum.
Gelatin is one of the versatile ingredients in the world of cooking. It is a colorless, flavorless protein extracted from the collagen of animal parts. It is devoid of any particular taste or odor and takes on the flavor of whatever you are mixing it with.
Gelatin is a great thickening agent used in recipes to retain moisture and render a flexible structure to food products. While replacing guar gum, gelatin should be mixed with cold water and can be used dry in other recipes.
Want to make a delicious recipe using gelatin? Here’s the recipe for cranberry gelatin salad for you.
6. Psyllium Husk Powder
Psyllium husk powder is a type of fiber obtained from the husk of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. Though sweetened varieties of this powder are available, unsweetened or regular psyllium husk powder has a very mild flavor similar to oatmeal.
The husks, which are otherwise gritty, are ground to a fine powder with a smooth texture. Psyllium husk powder is a prominent ingredient in gluten-free baking because of its potential to bind the ingredients together. It also renders flexibility and elasticity.
Psyllium husk powder is a good substitute for guar gum in baking recipes since it acts as an excellent binder. However, it is not so fine as a replacement in sauces or other liquid recipes.
7. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are black seeds, high in nutritional content. These have to be crushed and soaked in water before use. Being flavorless, they won’t hamper the intended flavor of your recipe.
They render thickness and texture to cakes, bread, and desserts. Chia seeds render thickness and texture to cakes, bread, and desserts and hence are a good guar gum substitute.
8. Egg Whites
Egg whites refer to the clear, white liquids which surround eggs. They are low in calories but high in protein. They are also devoid of cholesterol and low in fat as well. In baking, egg whites are used to render an airier and lighter food products.
Egg whites are universal favorites when it comes to thickening, stabilizing, and flavoring your recipes. While they may work in tandem with chia seeds or psyllium husk, it might not be a good substitute in homemade bread as a standalone.
As an alternative for guar gum, egg whites can be used with chia seeds or psyllium husk and can ensure smooth texture to the ingredients in the recipe.
9. Flaxseed Flour
Did you know that flaxseed is called as functional food? It is rightly called so since flaxseed is rich in healthful fat, antioxidants, and fiber. It comes in both golden and brown varieties.
The flour of ground golden flaxseed has a mild nutty flavor while that of ground brown flaxseed has an earthy flavor. This healthy flour is used in recipes since it binds, thickens, and softens the ingredients, thus giving a good finish to your recipe.
When it comes to baking recipes, grounded flaxseed flour is a great alternative to guar gum due to the thickening and binding properties.
10. Tapioca Starch
Tapioca starch is a very popular gluten-free flour obtained from the roots of the cassava plant. It doesn’t have a distinctive flavor of its own but has rich starchy content.
What makes tapioca starch great is its ability to retain its structure without breaking down, making it a perfect thickening agent in ice cream recipes.
Tapioca starch works as a guar gum alternative due to its thickening and binding properties and ability to render a gel-like structure to the recipes.
11. Arrowroot Starch
Arrowroot starch is a white-colored powdery starch obtained from the plant Maranta arundinacea. It is gluten-free, grain-free, and a vegan ingredient rich in easily digestible fiber. It also goes by the names arrowroot powder or arrowroot flour.
Arrowroot starch is a popular thickening agent used to thicken soups, sauces, gravies, and doughs in bread and desserts. It has a smooth powdery texture with almost no flavor of its own.
Arrowroot starch is a fine substitute for guar gum, similar to tapioca starch, due to its thickening properties. You might add it with water to avoid lumps in your cooking.
Carrageenan is an edible seaweed extracted from Irish Moss, a type of red seaweed. It is used in the food industry to thicken, emulsify and preserve food products.
Carrageenan has no particular flavor to boast of its own. But do you know what’s remarkable about carrageenan? It is distinctively capable of forming various gel structures at room temperatures.
Carrageenan works as a thickening agent and thus is many substitutes for guar gum in baking recipes. The only downside is its less availability.
Pectin is a starch variety extracted from the cell walls of fruits and vegetables. Pectin is the major ingredient responsible for the structures of jellies and jams.
Pectin works as many substitutes for guar gum due to its ability to retain moisture and bind ingredients in your recipes.
If that were too much for you to remember, the following points would make things easier for you on guar gum and its substitutes.
Flavor: The best guar gum substitutes for flavor would be xanthan gum, agar agar powder, and locust bean gum.
Texture: In terms of texture, the best substitutes would be xanthan gum, all-purpose flour, tapioca starch, and arrowroot starch.
Guar gum is a healthy gluten-free ingredient that acts as a thickening and stabilizing agent. If you are out of those, you can easily get your hands on the aforementioned prominent substitutes to get the desired results.
Whether it did wonders to your recipes or not, let me know in the comments. Until then, happy eating!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
Can you use cornstarch instead of guar gum?
Cornstarch can be used instead of guar gum. For a teaspoon of guar gum, use 3/4th of cornstarch.
Can I thicken gravy with guar gum?
Guar gum can be used after mixing it with water as a thickening agent in recipes.
Is guar gum unhealthy?
Guar gum isn’t unhealthy per se. Excessive consumption of guar gum, however, can cause digestive distress.