Quinoa ("Qin-wah") is originated in the Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. It was important to the diet of anciet Andean civilizations. The small round grains look similar to millet but are pale brown in colour. The taste of Quinoa is mild. Its texture is firm and slightly chewy. When cooked, the grains sweeten and become translucent, ringed with white.
The nutrient composition is very good compared with common cereals. Quinoa seeds contain essential amino acids like lysine. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus. It is also high in magnesium, calcium, and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and therefore it is easy to digest. For these reasons, quinoa is called superfoods, and is also being considered a possible crop in NASA's long-duration human occupied spaceflights.
Quinoa seeds are in general cooked the same way as rice and can be used in a wide range of dishes. Quinoa leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but the commercial availability of quinoa greens is limited.