What is Quinoa?

We’ve been eating this grain for quite some time at our house. It’s actually a very versatile food, a great source of protein, and a lovely way to stretch your food budget, if you’re trying to have one or two meatless nights a week.

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH), originally came from the Andes of South America, 3000-4000 years ago, where the Incas deemed the crop sacred. Although it looks like and is commonly eaten as a starchy grain, Quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables such as spinach and swiss chard.

The great thing about Quinoa is that it is full of essential amino acids, and holds about 8 grams of protein in a cooked half- cup. Many vegetarians and vegans make quinoa a staple in their diets because of it’s high protein count. It is also a great source of B vitamins. It’s wheat-free, gluten-free, and can be substituted for just about any other grain in recipes.
Uncooked Quinoa looks like this…

Quinoa needs to be rinsed until the water runs clear and then it can be cooked just like you would rice, 2:1, or for every 1 cup of quinoa you need 2 cups of water or broth. Quinoa kind of tastes like a cross between oatmeal and brown rice, but the consistency is similiar to couscous. It easily takes on the flavor of spices, sauces and other ingredients that are added to it. It can also be made into puddings for dessert or even as a hearty breakfast cereal.

Plain cooked quinoa looks like this…


For some great quinoa recipes click here.

  • Do you cook with quinoa? What’s your recipe?
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15 thoughts on “What is Quinoa?

  1. Green Afro Diva

    I like eating quinoa a lot mostly as a salad or as a dessert. At first, I thought it was the same as couscous because of its grainy texture but when I tried it, it had a nutty flavor to it. Try it with some golden raisins, cardamom, cinnamon, rose water and a little coconut milk.

  2. Tracey

    I had some today!…with navy beans, soy beans and green beans – yummy! my colleagues think I am a strange because I am vegetarian and eat things that they cannot pronounce! But it tastes so good and a good source of protein! i must try it as a dessert though, as Green Afro Diva (love that name) does… never thought of that…

  3. Michalene

    Gosh I saw this in the supermarket yesterday but wasn’t sure what to do with it. I’m going to get some tomorrow. 🙂

  4. Camille Bell

    I love Quinoa!!! I sautee some mushrooms and red onion in olive oil and add that to my already prepared Quinoa. I than mash up some avacado and white beans. Add sea salt and ground sage! DELICIOUS!!! I usually eat it straight out of the bowl but you can also get some large romaine lettuce pieces and make a lettuce wrap or you can also get some pita bread and stuff it with the Quinoa mixture

  5. lilia

    Thanks for the post. I’m hoping to include more of this grain into my diet… Hopefully, it can act as a great substitute for rice…

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