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: article “All About Quinoa”

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