Quinoa: an ancient grain that is not actually a real grain

Confused by the title? Let’s see…

Quinoa originated in the Andes Mountains of South America and it was a staple of the Incan Empire, hence the calling of Quinoa as an ‘ancient grain’.


Quinoa Real grown near Uyuni on the Bolivian Altiplano (3653 m). Mt. Tunupa in the background.

While it is often prepared like a grain, it’s actually a member of the spinach, chard and beet family. Quinoa is the seed of the Chenopodium plant, a green leafy plant that sprouts numerous flowers. Therefore, the quinoa seed is a pseudo-cereal, as opposed to a grain. Pseudo-cereals are plants which produce seeds and fruits that are similar to grains and used in virtually the same way.

Nutritional profile

Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids in proper proportions, making it a complete protein source. It is high in iron, magnesium, and manganese, Manganese is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage and keeps the body from harmful free radicals.

Quinoa has twice the amount of protein and fibre that brown rice contains! Its high fibre content may help with:

  • increasing satiety,
  • weight management
  • maintaining bowel health, reducing the risk of developing haemorrhoids and some colon diseases. It may even reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
  • controlling blood sugar levels
  • lowering of blood cholesterol levels.

With fibre-rich meals, remember to drink plenty of water. Fibre works best when it absorbs water, making the stools soft and bulky.

Try it at home!

If you are trying to cook quinoa at home, don’t forget to rinse it before cooking to remove the saponins, a naturally occurring bitter compound that protects the seed from birds and insects.

Quinoa only takes 15 minutes to cook, and can be used in place of rice, in salads, soups, stews, cookies and stuffing. You will also find it as pasta or breakfast cereals.

Px Plate meals

In Px Plate, we use quinoa in our dishes – Asian Shiitake and Tofu Stew with Quinoa and Broccoli and in our Sea bass, Quinoa Salad & Oven Roasted Carrots. About 25% of the protein your body needs for your lunch, is fulfilled with the amount of quinoa in your meal. These dishes are available on Mondays and Wednesdays and on Tuesdays and Thursday respectively.

Want a taste of these yummy dishes? Order your Px Plate meal now at and try it out!



Read more:

Fibre – why we focus so much on it

Why we choose Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Cooking Methods we use to maximise the nutritional value of your meal

Weekly Feature: how Px Plate benefits my healthy lifestyle

Weekly Feature: “I lost a little weight after eating Px Plate meals”

Weekly Feature: “Px Plate is my guilt-free indulgence”