Quinoa has become one of my favorite foods ever since I tried it randomly because of the hype. And it's become so popular for good reason. It's delicious and so healthy. My favorite way to use it is as a substitute for rice in casseroles or fried rice. 

But what is quinoa? Where does it come from? How can you use it in your everyday life?

Let's find out!

What is quinoa?

couscous, quinoa, groats, millet, corn, buckwheat, porridge, cereal, wheat
Christin Urso

First of all, it is pronounced keen-wha. Now that that's straightened out, let's learn a bit about the history of this super food. Quinoa originated thousands of years ago in the Andes Mountains in South America. Fun fact: they are the longest continental mountain range in the world!

Most people think that quinoa is a grain; however, it is actually a seed. It comes from the same type of plant that spinach and chard are produced from. 

There are hundreds of different types of quinoa. The most popular are white, red and black, but you can also find orange, pink and purple. Basically, if the rainbow has it, there is a type of quinoa that color.

Ya learn something new everyday!

Why should you try it?

amaranth, cereal, quinoa
Christin Urso

The biggest reason to try quinoa is that it is super good for you. Quinoa is a complete protein. This means that it contains all nine essential amino acids that come from food. Basically, your body needs these to survive and quinoa has all of them. Plus, this yummy food has more protein than any other grain or seed. It's nutritive value is through the roof! 

Quinoa is naturally gluten-free so no restrictions for those with gluten intolerance. It does not leave you feeling bloated or tired. Instead, it energizes you and keeps you full. 

It is also a good source of calcium, vitamin B and iron. Plus, it's super easy to digest so it doesn't sit in your stomach like a rock.

Besides being extra healthy, quinoa is delicious. It isn't hard to make and it can be paired with any flavor you want. Do you really need any more reasons to try it?

How do you make it?

Alexandra Hayes

Quinoa is pretty simple to make and it's very similar to rice.

#SpoonTip: Unless your quinoa is pre-washed, be sure to rinse your quinoa first.

Heat the quinoa in water on the stove until boiling. Once it starts boiling, turn down the temperature and cover the saucepan. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes (or until the quinoa has absorbed all the water). Fluff with a fork and you're done!

Need some ideas for quinoa recipes? Look no further. Quinoa is a great substitute for rice. So try it in fried rice. It can also be a healthy addition to your favorite salad. Use it as a protein in a fresh dish. This apple quinoa salad is a great idea.

Quinoa is a great base for any dish. Check out this recipe for lemon quinoa and peas. Choose your ingredients and use your creativity. Feeling adventurous? Try quinoa for breakfast. Start your day the right way!

rice, pineapple, corn
Kyndra McKenzie

Bottom line: quinoa is healthy, great tasting and easy to make. It can be easily substituted for foods you already eat. You can cook it for any meal of the day. Need I say more?