Quinoa technically is not a grain, but rather a seed from a large plant related to the spinach or chard family. What makes it such a standout is the fact that it is one of the few plant proteins that provide all the essential amino acids, including lysine, necessary for a complete protein; ideal for the vegetarian diet. It is also gluten free, making Quinoa a nutritious option for sufferers of Celiac disease, and is not a commonly allergenic food.
Quinoa ranks highest among all grains in potassium, which is associated with reducing blood pressure. It's high in iron and most B vitamins, and is a good source of copper, zinc, magnesium and manganese.
Quinoa's tiny grains are ready to eat in just 15 minutes, and can be used in a variety of dishes, much like rice. To prepare, rinse well, bring one part quinoa and two parts water to a boil, cover and simmer until the grains turn translucent and their little white "tails" (the crunchy germ) pop out. Fluff with a fork and serve. Uncooked quinoa stored in the refrigerator will last much longer than in the pantry (about 6 months).