Quinoa is a seed of the goosefoot plant. It is often described as a superfood and has become incredibly popular among the health-conscious for its ability to replace rice and grains as well as flours in baking because of its high fiber and protein content.
Even though quinoa is a seed, it is considered a pseudo-grain because it has similar qualities to that of grains, even though it is not in the grain family.
But what makes quinoa the better choice when it comes to quinoa vs. rice? Quinoa is packed with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals that rice can’t even blink an eye at.
What makes Quinoa so different from Rice?
Originally cultivated in the Andes mountains surrounding Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia. It gained attention in the early 2000s when it was first being marketed and shipped to the US.
It is cooked similarly to rice and can be served as a replacement for rice in most dishes as it has a similar bite and nutty flavor.
Quinoa is cultivated differently from rice. Rice is grown in a shallow field filled with water that is drained once the rice is removed. Quinoa is grown on a tall stalky plant that grows best in rocky soil, and the clusters are harvested from the top of the plant.
Once harvested, rice has to be processed and have the husk removed, and quinoa has to be soaked to have the bitter saponin, a substance evolved to help keep birds from eating the seeds off the plant, removed from the seed. This saponin is bitter in flavor and will discourage you from eating it too if you don’t wash it in cold water before you cook it.
A simple rinse in cold water till the water clear, similarly as you do to remove excess starch from your rice, will have your quinoa ready to steam up as the perfect accompanying dish.
What are the Nutritional Differences in Quinoa vs. Rice
Quinoa is a good source of fiber, protein, thiamin, iron, and vitamin B6. Quinoa’s unique balance of protein, minerals, fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants makes it an incredibly nutritious food.
Quinoa has almost double the protein of rice, and it has around 500 times more fiber per ounce in a single cup serving making this tiny seed a superfood powerhouse that outperforms rice on any nutritional level.
How is Cooking Quinoa Different than Rice
Quinoa and rice actually cook quite similarly. Both quinoa and rice can be steamed or boiled and only takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to cook it to a perfectly chewy consistency.
Rice and quinoa both triple in size when cooked, so if you need three cups of cooked quinoa or rice for your dish, you will only need one cup of uncooked rice or quinoa.
An amazing way to cook quinoa or rice is to first toast the “grain” in clarified butter. To do this, all you need to do is add clarified butter to the bottom of the pan that you will be steaming your rice in and apply medium heat until you can smell the fragrant nuttiness of the grain and see a bit of added color. Then you can simply add your water and continue on with your cooking.
Quinoa is the Healthiest Choice When it Comes to Grains
Quinoa’s similarities to rice make it an easy choice to add to your pantry and recipe repertoire and its health benefits are unsurpassed in the world of grains. You can find quinoa in just about any grocery store or market, making it as accessible as it is nutritious.
Why not grab a bag and start experimenting?