Quinoa might just be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It has eight amino acids and many other nutrients. It’s so nutritious that NASA has recommended it for space flights and the United Nations has suggested its use for feeding people in areas where food is scarce.


Fun Facts

  • Quinoa is a good source of protein, making it a great choice for vegetarians.
  • It’s also loaded with nutrients, such as folate, iron, magnesium and phosphorus. Quinoa is high in fiber.
  • This whole grain takes only 30 minutes to cook – a lot faster than many grains.
  • Quinoa is considered a whole grain, although it’s technically a seed.
  • Quinoa is naturally gluten free.
  • This healthy “grain” is the seed of a leafy plant related to beets and spinach.
  • There are over 200 kinds of quinoa, including red and black quinoa.
  • Quinoa is coated with a waxy substance that can make it taste bitter. Rinse it before you cook it to remove this coating.
  • Quinoa has a mild taste. It can be used for savory dishes, such as casseroles and stir-fries, and sweet dishes. Try it instead of oatmeal.
  • Make quinoa flour by grinding it in a food processor. Use this flour in baked goods along with regular flour.



  1. Scarce: rare or limited
  2. Vegetarian: one who doesn’t eat meat
  3. Savory: not sweet


Questions and Answers

Question: Where does quinoa come from?

Answer: Incas grew quinoa in Peru and other parts of South America over 8,000 years ago. The grain grows at high altitude and in drought conditions, making it a good choice for the Andes Mountains. Inca warriors ate balls made from fat and quinoa to give them energy.


Learn More

Visit Eating Well to learn how to cook quinoa.