Quinoa is a nutritious food that has been around for thousands of years. Although often used as a substitute for grains, it is actually a seed. It has gained popularity in recent years, particularly for those following gluten-free or vegetarian diets.

Why Eat Quinoa?

  • It is a great source of protein. One cup of cooked quinoa contains about 220 calories and 8 grams of protein.
  • It contains adequate proportions of all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
  • Quinoa has a high potassium content compared to other grains, containing over 300 mg per 1 cup cooked.
  • It is cholesterol-free and low-fat.
  • It is a good source of fiber, which helps slow the rise of blood glucose and keeps you feeling fuller longer.
  • It is a good source of iron and magnesium.
  • It is gluten-free easy to digest, and cooks quickly.


Although there are many varieties of quinoa, these are commonly found in the United States:

  • White – this is the most common color, with a lighter taste and fluffier texture Red – this has a nuttier flavor than white quinoa, and it holds its shape better, making it ideal for adding to salads and baked goods
  • Black – it has an earthier flavor and is good to use in sweet recipes, like muffins
  • Tri-color — Keep your eyes open for this colorful blend of red, white, and black quinoa

How Do I Use It?

  • Quinoa can be cooked similar to rice and substituted for rice, pasta, or even cereal!
  • Quinoa makes a great addition to salads, adding color and textural contrast and a boost of plant-based protein.
  • Rinse quinoa first to remove its bitter coating, unless the package states it is pre-washed. However, you may still want to rinse pre-washed quinoa if you feel it has an off-flavor after cooking.
  • Toasting quinoa in a dry pan before cooking adds a great nutty flavor.

Did You Know?

Quinoa originated in South America and was viewed as the “mother grain” by the Incas.