Since making our vegan take on traditional Indian naan bread a while back, I’ve significantly decreased my consumption of gluten, so naan was off the table for a while. Moment of silence as we grieve.
The gluten-free alternatives I’d tried up to this point were admittedly lackluster. I missed the pillowy, stretchy naan bread infused with garlic alongside my beloved curries, so I got to work. And the results were incredible.
Friends, behold, gluten-free vegan naan made in 1 bowl, in 20 minutes, with simple ingredients! It’s the gluten-free naan of my dreams, pairs well with SO many dishes, and is freezer friendly! Let us show you how it’s done.
Origins of Naan
Naan is believed to date as far back as 1300 AD when it was mentioned in the notes of an Indo-Persian poet. Then, around 1526, it became popular among royals of the Mughal era in India. Because naan contained yeast (which was very expensive), it was reserved for royalty. (source)
How much times can change! Once yeast became more readily available, naan’s popularity spread throughout India and to other parts of the world.
Our gluten-free version is not authentic but is inspired by the concept and ingredients. You can find an authentic recipe here.
How to Make Gluten-Free Naan
Naan is traditionally made with all-purpose (wheat) flour, which is not gluten-free. But the gluten provides a stretchy element that can be tricky to replicate with gluten-free alternatives. But friends, we’ve done the trial and error so you don’t have to!
We’ve found that the key is to use a perfect combination of gluten-free flours that achieves the right taste and texture. You can read more about different gluten-free flours here.
For this recipe, we used coconut flour for its dense, wholesome texture then lightened it up with potato starch for fluffiness and arrowroot starch for a stretchy, pliable element.
You’ll mix the flours into a fluffy, foamy mixture with coconut yogurt, coconut milk, olive oil, baking powder, salt, and garlic.
Next, you’ll roll the dough into balls (about 3 tablespoons of dough each).
Use a rolling pin on a (gluten-free) floured surface to flatten the dough.
Though naan is traditionally made in a clay oven (called a tandoor), a cast-iron skillet works well for this recipe.
You’ll want to brown it on both sides and repeat with the rest of the batch.
And for quicker weeknight preparation, you can freeze the cooked naan and reheat in a skillet or in the microwave. So easy!
We hope you LOVE this recipe! It’s:
Enjoy this delicious naan as an appetizer, side, or snack! Pair with your favorite Indian-inspired dishes such as the ones below.
What to Eat with Naan
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Servings 6 (large // or 12 mini naan)
- 1/4 cup plain coconut yogurt (Culina is our favorite)
- 1/2 cup light coconut milk (canned), plus more as needed
- 1 tsp olive oil (if oil-free, omit and add more coconut milk as needed)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 small cloves garlic , minced or pressed
- 1/2 cup coconut flour (we haven’t tested almond flour, but it might work)
- 1/2 cup arrowroot starch (we haven’t tested other starches, but cornstarch might work)
- 1/2 cup potato starch (NOT flour // potato starch is pretty key here for fluffy texture, so I’d be hesitant to sub it out)
FOR SERVING optional
- Olive oil or melted vegan butter
- Crushed garlic
- Fresh parsley, minced
In a medium mixing bowl add coconut yogurt, coconut milk, olive oil, baking powder, sea salt, and garlic and whisk to combine. The mixture will likely fluff up and foam if your yogurt has active cultures (our favorite is Culina plain yogurt). This is normal and good!
Next add coconut flour, arrowroot starch, and potato starch and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. It should form a dough that is moist and malleable, doesn’t stick to your hands, and also doesn’t crack easily when rolled. Add more potato starch as needed if too sticky. Add more light coconut milk as needed if it’s too dry.
Generously sprinkle gluten-free flour on a clean surface and place 1 ball of dough (~3 Tbsp in size) in the center. Generously dust the top of the dough with GF flour. Use a rolling pin to roll into a thin oval shape, about 1/4 inch thick.
Heat a skillet (cast iron is best, or non-stick) over medium-high heat. Once hot, spray or drizzle with a little oil (such as avocado; optional if using a non-stick pan). Then use a spatula to carefully transfer the dough to the pan.
Cook for 3-4 minutes or until the underside is golden brown. Bubbles may form while it’s cooking — that’s normal and good. Flip carefully and cook for another 2-3 minutes (less if you prefer a more pillowy naan). Lower heat as needed to ensure it doesn’t burn. You’ll know it’s done when both sides are golden brown.
Repeat this process until all naan dough is used (~6 large or 12 mini naans as the original recipe is written).
Drizzle with a little olive oil and garnish with more minced garlic and/or some fresh parsley if desired (all optional). Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 2-3 days, though best when fresh. To freeze, place cooked, cooled naan in a freezer-safe container or bag (adding parchment paper between each naan will prevent sticking) and freeze for up to 1 month. To serve, either heat from frozen in a toaster oven, thaw overnight and then heat in a skillet, or microwave from frozen until warm. As with most bread, best when fresh.
This naan is perfect for serving with any Indian-inspired dish, such as Chana Masala, Tikka Masala, Vegan Palak “Paneer,” and more!
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated without optional ingredients.
Serving: 1 small naan Calories: 182 Carbohydrates: 32.2 g Protein: 1.8 g Fat: 5.5 g Saturated Fat: 4.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.13 g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.59 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 480 mg Potassium: 89 mg Fiber: 4 g Sugar: 0.8 g Vitamin A: 9.16 IU Vitamin C: 0.31 mg Calcium: 97.35 mg Iron: 0.51 mg