Quinoa “keen-wah” is actually a seed not a grain and it is gaining in popularity.

Quinoa plants have been cultivated at altitudes of well over 10,000 feet and have been considered a superfood for at least a few millennia — in fact, the Incas cherished it as a superfood of their own.

Eat one cup of quinoa (a single serving size), and you’ll consume:

• 220 calories

• 40 grams of carbohydrates

• 8 grams of protein

• 3.5 grams of fat (no saturated fat)

• A glycemic load (blood sugar spike) of only 18 out of 250

• 5 grams of fiber

• Quinoa is stocked with all eight essential amino acids.

Vegetarians would do well to incorporate quinoa into their diet often. It’s difficult for vegetarians to get all eight essential amino acids and an adequate source of protein from one food source. Usually, vegetarians and vegans need to combine foods like beans and rice to acquire all the essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

Those with gluten sensitivities or wheat allergies can rejoice in eating quinoa as it contains no gluten or wheat.

Quinoa cooks very easily: 2/3 cup quinoa to 1 1/3 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Leave covered another 10 minutes and then fluff with a fork.

Quinoa by itself tastes rather bland. Add some coconut or olive oil to add flavor and consistency. Add any spices or herbs you like and perhaps some crushed almonds or walnuts. In the last two minutes before it’s ready to serve, toss a handful of spinach and stir until the spinach withers a little bit but not too much.

Chocolate Quinoa Vi Cake

Here's another wonderful idea you can use quinoa for: Chocolate Quinoa Vi Cake!