Is Quinoa a Seed or a Grain?

At least once a week, I get an email from someone saying something like “hey, isn’t quinoa a grain?” or “my doctor told me quinoa was a grain”.

Quinoa is the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant.

Its frequently called a grain because it is used and cooked like one, and is often called an “Ancient Grain” and a “Wholegrain”. These terms can make it confusing, but trust me folks, it is not a grain. It is a gluten free super-seed, Pseudo-cereal.

That being said, even though it is technically a seed, I have heard from a number of people who are grain free that quinoa does not agree with them either. However, for many, including my family, this super-seed has been a lifesaver, and I use it alot like rice or cous cous as well as the flour.

If you would like to read up on this including some articles about how Quinoa is not a grain, here are a few links for you:

Chetday.com article “All About Quinoa”

The World’s Healthiest Foods excellent discussion on Quinoa - this link gives a good breakdown of Quinoa’s nutritional profile.

CookThink.com yet another article clarifying that Quinoa is not a grain

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  • Pauline

    I knew Quinoa is a grain but not the term Pseudo-cereal; thank you for that. I am one of those people who reacted to quinoa, even certified organic; however, not the flakes. That being said, I was muscle tested and then had a removal done with an energy acupuncture machine and am no longer intolerant and can eat as much as I please. I am quite grateful for this as I love Quinoa and use it to replace bulgar in Tabouleh and rice in a pudding, add it to a soup, a salad, make a pilaf, etc.etc. I also love and use Amaranth, another seed; much better for you than grains.

    P.S.: I’m so happy to have found your site with all the wonderful grain-free recipes.

    Merci beaucoup !