Native to Peru, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH) is a dietary staple for many South Americans, but is virtually unheard of in the United States. Though it is usually thought of as a grain quinoa is actually the seed of a plant that is most closely related to the spinach, beet and chard family. Quinoa is slightly nutty in flavor and when cooked retains a bit of crunch. Apart from being tasty, it is a good source of protein and contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids.

This week we bring you a video featuring a savory quinoa recipe and one of Mark’s personal friends, Chef Oren. Enjoy!

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21 thoughts on “KEEN-WAH What?”

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  1. I truly enjoy quinoa!
    I don’t eat it much anymore. I read (and was told)
    that it is a heavily processed food. Without the processing it receives here, many people would not enjoy the taste. Any feedback would appreciated.


  2. Please understand that this is a sincere question — it looks like a handful of birdseed. What can they possibly be doing to it to be heavily processing it?

    I love quinoa tabouli and it would be interesting to find out what else it can be used for.

  3. I did not understand what is all that fuss about “good sourse of protein”?

    I looked up: 4.5grams of protein per half a cup and a lot of carbs – 23.4grams. I’m not impressed at all.
    Garbanzo beans have 7.3grams of protein per same amount.

  4. IronO.- You’re right. It doesn’t have a lot of protein but it is a complete protein. Yes, it is a little carby.

  5. I love quinoa too. Not the kind of usual taste we’re used to here, but it’s a nice change, and anyway pasta gets old very fast. Now if only my colleagues could stop teasing me about it smelling and tasting like horse food… -_-

  6. Dancinghawk,

    “In its natural state quinoa has a coating of bitter-tasting saponins, making it essentially unpalatable. Most quinoa sold commercially in North America has been processed to remove this coating.”

    Traditionally it was soaked in water, I believe now however, it’s a mechanical process which includes more ingredients then just water.
    Don’t be to discouraged, quinoa is most likely the top seed/grain you can consume. I just don’t do grains to much anymore.


  7. Love the quinoa. Yes, it’s higher carb than something like garbanzo, but it is still the best “grain” option, especially being a complete protein. The lentil and quinoa salad (I believe Mark mentions it somewhere in here as well) is a great source of protein. I just make it in the rice cooker, so it’s especially easy to prepare.

  8. Quinoa may also be used as an alternative to wheat (for those with wheat/gluten intolerances/celiac disease).

  9. I am allergic to wheat/gluten. Unfortunately, quinoa triggers a reaction for me.

  10. VIDEO DOES NOT WORK! Was really looking forward to seeing the recipe… anyway to re-upload the video or list the recipe? Have been looking for a great quinoa recipe to make as I try it for the 1st time..

    1. yes, it sprouts, though I have found it changes the taste for the worse.
      I prefer red and black quinoa for taste and they seem to lack the chemical on the white that requires soaking or upsets the gut.

  11. quinoa has COMPLETE protein. it is a staple in my diet i even use it in meatloaf for added nutrition.
    i disagree with the above posts.

  12. the big fuss about the protein is not actually about the protien – it is about the amino acids, which allows for the complete absorption of protein. many foods have lots of protein, but very very few (including beans) have enough amino acids for you to absorb the protein fully. that is why quinoa, millet, amaranth – these are considered “perfect proteins”.

  13. i still see a problem with the whole”perfect protein” label, being as plant proteins seem to not be tilized as effectively in the human body as animal proteins. therefor requiring a much higher quantity to reach any acceptable level. so, for the carb load you would recieve by trying to get enough plant proteins, it makes them only desirable on heavy training or sprinting days. also, would cooking your quinoa with an acid further reduce the glycemic load like what happens in the case of white rice (sushi rice cooked in rice vinegar) or would there be any appreciable ammount of resistant starch formed in the cooking and cooling of quinoa? as a strength athlete, i appreciate my safe starches. and finding one with a bit more protein would of course be helpful. any insight is greatly appreciated. thank you,
    mark B

    1. Great question, I’d love to know how to make quinoa work the best for my stomach. Does soaking it over night help? Do different colors or varieties matter?