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A Magical Little Grain Called Quinoa

Hey, we won’t judge you if you don’t know how to say it — it’s pronounced “KEEN-wah”, by the way — but you should probably know about this magical, little grain.

“Quinoa”, as it’s spelled, belongs to a family of grains called “ancient grains”, ancient because its composition has remained unchanged for a really, really long time and because it’s believed to have been first cultivated some five to seven thousand years ago somewhere in the Andes. Cool, huh? 

But what’s really important about this pseudocereal isn’t its long and storied history, but what it packs in nutrition. It’s often regarded as a superfood, mostly because it staves off everything  from heart disease to diabetes to cancer. It’s also chock-full of antioxidants and proteins, even when compared to most whole grains.

And so, if you’re a celiac-disease sufferer — and someone who has to go gluten-free — the grain can really improve your diet. In fact, studies from Columbia University have shown just that, proving that the intake of whole grains like quinoa increases nutrition by quite a bit. Especially in those gluten-free diets.

Still, we just don’t love quinoa because it’s good for you.

Quinoa is also ultra-versatile if you’re into cooking. And if you’re on this website, we kind of hope you are. From entrees to side dishes to salads to cookies — yes, cookies — you can put quinoa in just about anything.

Reader’s Digest has some great recommendations, including some interesting sounding edibles like ‘rosemary quinoa turkey meatballs’ and ‘shrimp and vegetable quinoa fried rice.’ But our personal favorite has to be a pancake recipe from the blog, Ambitious Kitchen, proving that blueberry chocolate chip pancakes can actually be kind-of-sort-of good for you.

Who knew?

So, next time you’re in the kitchen or getting a delicious, home-cooked meal delivered from a certain website — ahem — maybe check to see if there’s a little quinoa mixed in. We don’t think you’ll regret it.