What Is Quinoa?

Quinoa — pronounced "keen-wah" — is a tiny seed that, when cooked, has a rich, nutty flavor and a texture that's slightly crunchier than rice. Quinoa comes in several varieties, including white, red, and black. White quinoa (often labeled simply "quinoa") is the most common, and it's widely available in supermarkets.

Quinoa is often cooked and served like rice. In fact, it makes an excellent substitute for other grains, because it is one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein. Complete proteins contain all of the 9 amino acids that our bodies are incapable of producing on their own, so we must source them from the foods we eat.

Aside from being a great source of complete muscle-building protein, quinoa is gluten-free and full of other nutrients. Eating quinoa can help you get more iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, and fiber in your diet. Quinoa is also a good source of vitamin B12 and vitamin E.

Looking for a few delicious quinoa recipes to help you eat healthier? Click here.

Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal's Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.