Food spotlight: quinoa

Quinoa is one of my favourite grains. It is nutrient dense, gluten-free, cooks quickly, has a nice flavour and can be incorporated into many different dishes. 


Quinoa is an ancient whole grain high in protein, fibre and numerous vitamins and minerals. Below is a chart comparing the nutrient profiles of quinoa, brown rice and white rice (unenriched).

Nutrient             (per 1 cup, cooked) Quinoa Brown rice White rice
Amount %DV Amount %DV Amount %DV
Calories 222 ~ 216 ~ 205 ~
Carbohydrate 39 g ~ 45 g ~ 45 g ~
Protein 8 g ~ 5 g ~ 4 g ~
Fat 4 g ~ 2 g ~ 0 g ~
Fibre 5 g ~ 4 g ~ 1 g ~
Iron 2.8 mg 15% 0.8mg 5% 0.3 mg 2%
Calcium 31mg 3% 18.5 mg 2% 15.8 mg 2%
Zinc 2 mg 13% 1.2 mg 8% 0.8 mg 5%
Magnesium 118 mg 30% 84 mg 21% 19 mg 5%
Potassium 318 mg 9% 84 mg 2% 55 mg 2%
Phosphorus 281 mg 28% 162 mg 16% 68 mg 7%
Vitamin B6 0.2 mg 11% 0.3 mg 14% 0.1 mg 7%
Folate (B9) 78 mcg 19% 7.8 mcg 2% 4.7 mcg 1%
Thiamin (B1) 0.2 mg 13% 0.2 mg 13% 0.0 mg * 2%
Niacin (B3) 0.8 mg 4% 3 mg 15% 0.6 mg 3%

* Trace amounts, DV= daily value

How to cook it:

Rinse 1/2 cup of dry quinoa with cold water. Add the rinsed quinoa to 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook 15 minutes. The grains will look translucent when fully cooked. Serves 2.

How to use it:

Breakfast: Prepare quinoa as a hot cereal. Stir in a bit of cinnamon and brown sugar. Top with milk and fresh fruit.

Lunch/Dinner: Add cooked quinoa to a salad or soup, use it anywhere you would use rice (stir fry, side dish), or try quinoa salmon patties

Dessert: Make a quinoa pudding:

Quinoa apple cranberry pudding

Use quinoa to make cookies, as in this creative recipe:

Quinoa peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies

Where to find it:

Quinoa can be found at any natural food store, as well as some grocery and corner stores. However, at some places it can be quite expensive (so shop around). I found that the cheapest place to get it by far is at Costco: $10.49 for a 4 lb bag (which makes 41 servings) of organic quinoa. This works out to be $2.62/lb or $0.58/100g or $0.25/serving.

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About dinutrition

I hold a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition. As you can imagine, food is a pretty big part of my life. However, I also enjoy painting, muay thai (yes I can throw a punch), yoga, writing, and am a certified personal trainer.

Posted on February 19, 2012, in Food spotlights, Healthy eating and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Quinoa is great stuff. I really enjoy the texture and the fact that it’s something you can really easily impart flavor into.

  2. I love Quinoa. It is a fantastic grain that is very versitile. I have found that putting it in my bowl of chili is nice as well. Thank you for the information!

  3. Quinoa is simply amazing… I try to incorporate it in at least one meal a day! Thanks for highlighting it!

  4. I discovered “Cormilda” quinoa & corn meal porridge when looking for something else to eat. It’s really yummy. I’ll have to try the cookies, those look great and I can eat them!!

  1. Pingback: Quinoa mint chocolate chip cookies « DINUTRITION – Vancouver Personal Training and Nutrition

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