Quinoa pronounced 'keen-wa' is a gluten-free grain that is rich in essential amino acids, vitamin B2, E and A, & contains more iron than any other grain.
Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) was cultivated and eaten by pre-Incan cultures 6000 years ago. The Incas considered it magical because of its high nutritional value calling it 'Chisiya mama' - mother grain. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization observes that Quinoa is closer to the ideal protein balance than any other common grain. Quinoa is one of the only known grains that provide all the essential amino acids needed by the human body.
Apart from the colour, white, black and red quinoa varieties share the same nutritional profile but has slightly different uses due to texture.
What is the difference between Quinoa and Amaranth?
Nutritionally quinoa and amaranth are very similar; they are higher in protein than rice and contain all your essential amino acids unlike most grains. Both grains originated in South America; historically quinoa was grown by the Incas and the Aztecs grew amaranth. They both sprout a little tail once cooked and are gluten-free.
From a culinary perspective, quinoa is a much more versatile grain and can be used in any recipe calling for rice. It can also be used in soups, stews and salads and makes a great pilaf. Amaranth is a smaller grain and is usually used to thicken soups or casseroles. They can both be mixed with rice and served combined.
What is the difference between RED Quinoa, and WHITE Quinoa?
Apart from the colour, red and white quinoa are very similar and can be used in the same recipes. Red quinoa has a slightly more fibrous texture and is a little crunchier once cooked. It will take about the same time to cook both types of quinoa. This is the same with black quinoa.
All grains should be rinsed thoroughly under running water before cooking, and any dirt or foreign matter that has made its way to you from the farm should be removed.