Ask Holly: How Do You Pronounce Quinoa

And what is it? I feel like I’ve seen this food everywhere lately (even in pasta) and I’m too embarrassed to ask anyone what it is, especially since I dont know how to say it. Thanks!

-Jenna L


Hi Jenna-

I’m so glad you asked. Quinoa is one of my family’s favorite foods.

Quinoa is pronounced “keen-wah.” It is a nutritional powerhouse originally cultivated by the Incas more than 5,000 years ago; they referred to it as the “mother of all grains.” It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a great source of protein for vegetarians. Quinoa is also high in magnesium, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, riboflavin and zinc.

While quinoa is widely considered a grain, it’s actually the seed of a plant related to chard and spinach. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain and has a similar effect as other whole grains in helping to stabilize blood sugar.

For best results, rinse quinoa before you cook it to remove the waxy saponin coating which can have a bitter taste. When cooked, it has a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture. Try it in soups, salads, as a breakfast porridge or as its own side dish.

For quinoa, and whole grains in general, digestion begins in the mouth through chewing and exposure to saliva. For optimal nutrition and assimilation, it is vital to chew your grains well. Make it a habit to chew each bite 20 times or more. You’ll be surprised how this simple practice can help your digestion.

Now it’s time to try this glorious new (to you) food!

Quinoa Pilaf

1 cup quinoa
2 1/4 cups water or stock
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley pinch of salt


  1. Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer until water runs clear.
  2. Boil the water and add quinoa and salt, cover and reduce heat.
  3. After 15 minutes add cranberries and walnuts to top; do not stir.
  4. Cook 5 minutes more, until all the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Remove from heat, add parsley and fluff with fork, cover and let sit for 3-5 minutes and Enjoy!

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