Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has come a long way. It was banished to the back of the health food store for decades only to be featured up front on national supermarket aisles the past few years. It’s high protein content and versatile texture have made quinoa a popular everyday grain. At the dinner table, it’s often substituted in place of former starchy favorites like pasta or white rice.

But quinoa isn’t a new fad. Sure, it has recently picked up popularity in the United States and Europe, but it has been cultivated and eaten in the Andes for more than 5,000 years. It was known as “the mother grain” and “the gold of the Incas”, a testament to the importance of this grain to the Andean cultures.

Today, it’s considered a superfood. It’s a complete protein source that’s also high in iron, magnesium and fiber, while also being extremely versatile and easy to cook with.

Some estimates state there are more than 120 varieties of quinoa available today, but black, white and red are the most common.

Here’s one recipe to help you add more quinoa to your diet.

Quinoa Facts:

  • Rinse: Most packages quinoa today have been pre-rinsed. This helps avoid a slightly bitter flavor. But just to be sure, give your quinoa a rinse before cooking.
  • Cooking: Put two cups of liquid (either water or broth) in the cooking pot for every 1 cup quinoa. Every 1 cup of quinoa will yield about 3 cups cooked.
  • Nutrition: A quarter cup contains: 160 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 27 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of protein.

Quinoa salad with cranberries

Serves about 4


  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 medium yellow squash, cut in half coins
  • 3 leaves kale, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • Balsamic glaze
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt (options)


  1. Preheat over to 400ºF.
  2. In a medium pan, add quinoa and two cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, secure lid, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper (optional).
  3. Place squash slices on baking sheet and lightly salt and brush with olive oil. Roast in oven for 20 minutes or until tender. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, add quinoa, squash, kale, cranberries and pecans. Fold until ingredients are well blended. Drizzle balsamic glaze over salad and sprinkle feta cheese on top.
  5. Enjoy!

If you like this, you’ll also love, Roasted Brussels Sprouts.




Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.