Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is the seed of a plant commonly grown in the Andes mountains of South America and is the main staple of many South American countries.  It cooks just like rice and can be used easily as a healthier substitute for rice or couscous.  It is also eaten as a breakfast food with honey, milk and almods.  It has a very pleasant, nutty flavor and nice chewy texture.


Quinoa is high in protein (12%-18%) and has a complete set of amino acids unlike most other grains.  This makes quinoa especially good for vegans and vegetarians that don’t get protein from animal products.  Quinoa is also high in fiber, phosphorous, magnesium and iron.  It also has no gluten.

Quinoa is also very low on the glycemic index with a value of 35.  Foods with a low glycemic index are great for diabetics and anyone watching his/her weight.  By comparison brown rice has a glycemic index of 50, white rice 85, and corn syrup 115 (which goes into many commercially processed foods).

There is a very complete article of quinoa at Wikipedia.

Cook quinoa just like you cook rice except use 2 cups water for every cup of quinoa.  If you search online you will find many recipes that use quinoa.  Quinoa also comes ground as a flour that can be used in recipes calling for rice, oat, or other flours that contain no gluten.

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