Allergy-Friendly & Gluten-Free Protein Powders

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Brown rice and pea protein powders lead the pack of allergen-safe options.

The protein powder industry is bulking up with dairy- and soy-free options. Food manufacturers are sourcing brown rice, hemp seed, chia seed, pumpkin seed, pea, cranberry and quinoa proteins to pump up their allergy-friendly shakes and snack foods. But for at-home use, two powders lead the pack of allergen-safe options.

Brown Rice Protein Powder

Brown rice is poised to eclipse soy as the most popular dairy-free protein powder. It offers a relatively neutral flavor profile with a slightly sandy consistency. Dense with protein, it ranges from 22 grams per ounce for whole grain powder to 25 grams per ounce for brown rice protein isolate.

These protein powders work best in smoothies and snacks. In cooked or baked recipes, I recommend only using it in very small quantities. Look for Growing Naturals Organic Pure Rice Protein Powder.

Pea Protein Powder

Smooth yet dense, this newer entry is gaining popularity for its milk flavor and incredible thickening capabilities. It creates very creamy smoothies and may even aid in binding for some recipes. Pea protein tends to be relatively high in iron and provides about 22 grams of protein per ounce. Look for Growing Naturals Original Raw Pea Protein Powder.

Protein powders have a natural home in smoothies and shakes, but can also be stirred into allergen-safe “yogurt” and pudding sprinkled atop cereal and oatmeal, baked into breakfast treats, mashed into homemade meatballs and veggie burgers, or used to make these easy protein balls:

Easy Protein Balls

In a small bowl, stir together:

1/4 cup (60 mL) unsweetened sunflower seed butter
1/4 cup (60 mL) allergen-safe, unsweetened protein powder
2 tablespoons honey or brown rice syrup

Roll the mixture into 12 balls, roughly 1 inch in diameter. Optionally toss in unsweetened shredded coconut, crushed cacao nibs or sprinkles, to coat. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Alisa Fleming is a contributing editor to Allergic Living and the author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance and Casein Free Living, and founder of