What is quinoa?
Quinoa is a seed cultivated in Bolivia. Super high in protein. It's described as a grain but it is just barely. Cooks up like rice in roughly the same 2/1 water ratio except that it doesn't take as long. And it tastes really good.
It's not considered a grain because it's not a member of the grass family. In its natural state it is coated with saponins, which are bitter; most of the quinoa sold in North America has been processed to remove this coating, but it's still a good idea to give it a good rinse before cooking!
According to Maria Speck, author of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, quinoa is botanically part of the goosefoot family (like spinach and chard). It is gluten-free and contains all essential amino acids making it a complete protein. Quinoa comes in several different colors- red, black, ivory, and more. Wssmom is right to rinse the grains before cooking. I love quinoa because it's quick-cooking and has a nice nutty flavor.
It's "high protein" only relative to other grains, cooks quickly, and has a pleasing fluffy texture that absorbs sauces nicely. Just try it and see if you like it!