Wheat germ is a product of milling whole wheat. It is a nutritious and crunchy addition to baked foods that adds a nutty taste. However, if you need to substitute for it there are plenty of other options available.
You’ll often find wheat germ in the ingredients list for savory recipes such as meatloaf, meatballs, and casseroles. It’s also used in sweeter recipes like muffins or cakes. Wheat germ is versatile and its one ingredient that shouldn’t be missed on your grocery list.
Whole-wheat flour is ground from the endosperm of the entire wheat berry. It’s nutritious, crunchy and adds a nutty taste to baked goods.
But if you’re in need of substitutes for it, there are plenty of other options. You’ll often find whole-wheat flour in the ingredients list for savory recipes like meatloaf, meatballs, and casseroles.
It’s also used in sweeter recipes like muffins, cakes, cookies, and bread. It’s versatile ingredient that can be used in any recipe you have on hand or selected as your favorite substitutions ahead of time.
1. Oat Bran
Oat bran is delicious and nutritious. Oatmeal also comes from the inner part of the groat, as does wheat germ. When compared to flour or breadcrumbs, it provides a slight crunch that works well together in baking recipes.
It’s also rich in some powerful nutrients like iron and protein, plus other important nutrients such as calcium and impressive amounts of B vitamins. Plus, it’s gluten-free, so if you’re sensitive or allergic to the wheat protein it is a great option for those who need an alternative.
In the same way that oatmeal comes from the inner part of the oat groat, oat bran comes from the outer layer.
Oat bran has a nutty flavor similar to wheat germ and offers a minor texture that can be used in baking recipes. It’s also rich in fiber, iron, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and boasts other important nutrients such as calcium and B vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin and folate. It’s also gluten-free if you’re sensitive or allergic to wheat.
2. Rice Bran
Delicious gluten-free recipes are best for people who have dietary restrictions. That’s where rice bran can help! Rice bran has a light and crispy texture that makes it an ideal substitute for wheat germ in recipes.
It also offers a high amount of iron and B vitamins, per the USDA. With this in mind, you can add honey or agave sweetener to your recipe to make it browner looking.
The great thing about rice bran is that it imparts a light, crispy texture to your breads and cookies. It’s often used as a substitute for wheat germ, so you can enjoy those baked goods without wheat or gluten. Rice bran features high iron levels and B-vitamins. Make your recipes extra special by adding honey or agave sweetener.
3. Ground Flaxseeds (Flax Meal)
Flax meal has a similar nutritional value to wheat germ, yet it’s gluten-free. It’s richer in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, less sweet and more rich in calcium.
Ground flaxseeds make a super fine substitute for wheat germ– you might even find them to be less sweet than wheat germ. If you’re making cakes or other recipes that call for wheat germ, try adding a sweetener of your choice to balance out the taste. In baking recipes, use an equal amount of ground flax meal as you would of wheat germ.
Since flax meal has a dark color, nutty flavor, and similar texture to wheat germ, it’s an excellent substitute. Plus, it’s gluten-free.
Flaxmeal has more fiber, calcium and omega-3s than wheat germ but about the same amount of iron. It makes for a healthier alternative to wheat germ, nutritionally speaking. You may find flax meal to be much less sweet than wheat germ – which means you’re going to want to add something (like granulated sugar) for balance in baking recipes like cakes.
4. Ground Sunflower Seeds
Ground sunflower seeds are a low-carb, nutrient-rich alternative to ground flaxseeds – they add protein and fiber while adding some crunch and flavor.
Sunflower seeds should be ground before being used, as their mellower taste doesn’t come out quite as well otherwise. You can swap in equal amounts of these for wheat germ, but remember that the moisture will affect the bakery’s dough consistency considerably more.
Ground flaxseeds, ground sunflowers seeds, and wheat germ all have plenty of texture and protein, making them fantastic additions to baked goods.
They also make a fine substitute for another flour substitution if you have them on hand. Sunflower seeds are much lower in carbs than wheat germ per weight, but they still contain the same amount of protein.
They do have more fats though and might change the consistency of your recipe, like dough. Try using sunflower seeds in equal parts for your recipes for maximum sweetness. You can swap in ground sunflower seeds for half the amount called for in some recipes like pancakes or muffins.
5. Whole Wheat Flour and Honey
In recipes for baked bars, cookies and muffins, you can use whole wheat flour with 1/2 teaspoon of honey in place of all-purpose flour. Typically, the combination would be found in recipes for those items. Whole wheat flour is high in fiber and iron, just like wheat germ is.
Regardless, whole wheat flour doesn’t replace gluten-free flours, so if you’re allergic or sensitive to them, they should not be used.
If you need to replace a recipe that calls for one cup of flour, you can substitute in one cup of whole wheat flour with 1/2 teaspoon of honey–it’s a great substitute for recipes such as baked bars, cookies and muffins. Whole wheat flour also comes from wheat and it includes fiber and iron.
Whole wheat flour alone may lack the binding power of gluten but adding honey is what makes the difference–it also ups the sweetness. Alternately, these products are not gluten-free; so if you have or are sensitive to gluten or allergic to it, do not use them.