Seven Things You Need to Know About Quinoa

1. How to pronounce it—keen wah.

2. It’s not a grain, but the seed of a plant that’s related to beets.

3. Most of the world’s quinoa is grown on the altiplano, a windswept 14,000-foot Andean plateau spanning parts of Peru and Bolivia. 

4. On some of the smaller quinoa farms, llamas are pastured on the fallow fields, a practice which helps stablize the soil. 

5. Quinoa belongs to an elite group of plant foods that qualify as a complete protein—meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids.

6. The seeds have a natural coating called saponin, which keeps them fresh but can give them a bitter, soapy taste. Give them a quick rinse before cooking and you’re good to go.

7. It turns mushy if overcooked, so set a timer and don’t over do it.