Thursday, September 29, 2016

Spiced Tigernut Cookies (gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free)

Today I have a special recipe to share with you. This grain-free tigernut cookie recipe comes from a new book called The Autoimmune Fix, which I actually developed all of the recipes for! Dr. Tom O’Bryan wrote an incredible book on the current epidemic of autoimmune diseases. As a skilled functional medicine practitioner, he discusses the root causes of autoimmune disease, and in essence, all diseases. Dr. O’Bryan has spent the last few decades lecturing around the globe on how gluten contributes to disease, but now expands on that topic in his new book with the culprits and causes of autoimmunity: Genetics, exposure, and intestinal permeability.

You may be thinking, I'm fine and healthy. I don't have an autoimmune disease, though you may know someone with lupus, eczema, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, psoriasis, or celiac disease. But, did you know that you can have autoantibodies, or "messengers from the future" as Dr. Tom likes to call them, slowly degenerating part of your body without you even knowing it? And that this can go on for years and years with no symptoms or with only mild signs of autoimmunity, such as joint pain, weight gain, brain fog, gut imbalances, depression, mood disorders, and fatigue? Tom's book is essential for everyone to read because he explains, in his eloquent story-telling style, how this process happens and what you can do now to test for autoimmunity before the full-blown cascade of decline manifests in your body.  

It is estimated that there are 70 to 80 million people with autoimmunity right now in the United States. That's about 22% to 25% of our population. But only about 24 million of these people have been diagnosed. That's a whole lot of people walking around not feeling well and not knowing why! I encourage you to pick up a copy of The Autoimmune Fix to better understand, prevent, and treat both hidden autoimmunity and full-fledged autoimmune disease. 

Here is my recipe for spiced tigernut cookies, which can also be found in The Autoimmune Fix on page 276. Tigernuts are actually small tubers that are ground into a delicious flour, which is perfect for baking. Tigernut flour is high in prebiotic fibers that feed beneficial microbes in the gut. It's one thing to take a probiotic or eat fermented foods, and another to actually feed them everyday with fibers that we can't digest....but they can! Good bacteria in the gut will grow into healthy colonies with the right foods. These gut bacteria enjoy the fibers and resistant starches from tubers, root vegetables, legumes, plantains, and other plant foods, and then release, through their own digestion, short chain fatty acids (which then nourish the cells lining the gut), B vitamins, the amino acid tryptophan, and digestive enzymes to break down other parts of your meal! Beneficial gut microbes regulate immune cell function to help your immune system stay calm and not overreact (such as in autoimmunity). So each and everyday, remember you are not only nourishing your body with good foods, but also your microbial colonies that live in your gut. What have you eaten today to nourish your microbes? :)

Chewy Spice Cookies

This recipe uses an alternative baking flour called Tigernut Flour—it’s grain-free and nut-free, making it the perfect flour to use in gluten-free treats. Tigernut flour is made from small tubers that are high in resistant starch—a type of prebiotic fiber that feeds the beneficial bacteria in our guts. You can order Tigernut flour here on Amazon or through the Tigernut USA website.

8 pitted medjool dates (about ½ cup packed)
¼ cup virgin coconut oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup tigernut flour (packed)
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with unbleached parchment paper.

Place the dates, oil, egg, and vanilla into a food processor fitted with the standard “s” blade; process until the mixture is very smooth and pureed. Then add the remaining ingredients and process again to combine.

Drop cookie dough by the heaping tablespoon full onto the cookie sheet. You should have 10 to 12 cookies. Using wet hands, gently flatten each one.

Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the cookie sheet placing onto a plate to cool.

Yield: 10 to 12 cookies

More Autoimmune Recipes:
Nightshade-Free Salsa
Dairy-Free Sour Cream
Easy Roasted Delicata Squash
Masala Chicken and Vegetable Stew

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Hi Ali,
    Thanks for the recipe! I ordered the book for myself and another family member. I don't do well with dates. Are they an essential part of this recipe or are there some substitutions that might possibly work? Anything you would recommend experimenting with? Thanks so much for all your hard work!

    1. Hi there,

      I would suggest trying prunes in place of the dates. I have not tested this though, but have used prunes in many baking recipes successfully. Let me know if it works!

      ~Ali :)

  2. These cookies sound great; however, I cannot eat eggs. Can you suggest an egg substitute that might go well with this or other recipes? Thanks!

    1. Chia eggs work great in recipes calling for 1-2 eggs, especially cookie recipes. A chia egg consists of 1 tablespoon finely ground chia seeds whisked with 3 to 4 tablespoons hot water. AIP often uses 1 tablespoon of pastured gelatin powder in cookie recipes to replace eggs. I have not tested either in this recipe but have been meaning to lately!

      -Ali :)

  3. At $14.00+ a pound, tigernut flour is a bit too rich for my blood. I might try this with teff or a combination of other flours, though.

    1. I know, it is expensive. I feel blessed to have been sent samples from the company to try out. It is an amazing flour to work with, and if you use it sparingly, for special occasions, it can go a long way.

      ~Ali :)

  4. My whole family loved this recipe, thank you. I had just bought a bag of the flour and did not know what to do with it, and then your recipe popped up in my inbox! Next time I will make a double batch though.


    1. Hi Shawna,

      Thank you for the feedback! So happy to hear that your family enjoyed the recipe. :)


  5. We made these today and they are YUMMY! Do you think we could use the recipe to roll out and cut into gingerbread people for x-mas? I'm thinking decorated cookies with your sweet potato icing!

    1. Hi Alexa,

      Thanks for the sweet feedback! :)

      I had not thought about trying to make cut-out cookies with this recipe, but it might work! I would suggest refrigerating the dough after mixing it and then try rolling in between two pieces of parchment paper. It might work! If you try it please report back here in the comments.

      ~Ali :)


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)