Quinoa is the seed of a plant known scientifically as Chenopodium quinoa.
It is higher in nutrients than most grains and often marketed as a "superfood".
Although quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is prepared and consumed like a cereal grain, it’s categorized as a pseudocereal, as it doesn’t grow on grass like wheat, oats, and rice.
Quinoa has a crunchy texture and nutty flavor. It’s also gluten-free and can thus be enjoyed by people who are sensitive to gluten or wheat.
Quinoa seeds are flat, oval, and usually pale yellow, though the color can range from pink to black. Its taste can vary from bitter to sweet.
It’s usually boiled and added to salads, used to thicken soups, or eaten as a side dish or breakfast porridge.
The seeds can also be sprouted, ground, and used as flour or popped like popcorn. Quinoa is an excellent food for babies.
The United Nations declared 2013 “The International Year of Quinoa” due to the seeds’ potential to contribute to food security worldwide.
Though quinoa technically isn't a grain, it’s still considered a whole-grain food.
Cooked quinoa consists of 71.6% water, 21.3% carbohydrates, 4.4% protein, and 1.92% fat.
One cup (185 grams) of cooked quinoa contains 222 calories.
The nutrition facts for 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of cooked quinoa are:
Protein: 4.4 grams
Carbs: 21.3 grams
Sugar: 0.9 grams
Fiber: 2.8 grams
Fat: 1.9 grams