Quinoa and rice are compared to one another a lot. They seem to be interchangeable. So, are they the same thing or is there a difference between the two?
The Short Answer:
No, quinoa and rice are two completely different foods.
The Long Answer:
Quinoa is a modern superfood. Health food enthusiasts have been talking about it for years, and with good reason.
The health benefits of quinoa are plentiful, and it can be used interchangeably with rice in most dishes. That doesn’t mean that it’s the same thing as rice, though. Far from it actually.
Rice is a grain, first and foremost. That’s the main defining characteristic of this staple food from all over the world. The two most popular types of rice are white and brown. White rice has few nutritional qualities, but brown rice is chock full of fiber, along with phosphorous, manganese, selenium, and magnesium.
Rice is super easy to digest, and brown rice helps to reduce blood pressure and control blood sugar. Both white and brown rice are low in fat and sodium and are free of cholesterol and trans fats.
As we’ve discussed in the past, quinoa is not a grain at all, but it can be used in place of one. As such, quinoa and rice are not even in similar food groups. Quinoa is the seed of the goosefoot plant, and it is more closely related to beets and spinach.
Because it can be cooked and eaten like a grain, it has been given the classification of pseudocereal.
Quinoa is a complete protein. It’s one of the few plant sources of complete protein, so that’s a huge deal. All nine of the essential amino acids that your body needs are contained within each little seed.
It’s also naturally gluten-free and high in fiber. In fact, one cup of quinoa contains five grams of dietary fiber, which is more than brown rice. It’s a great source of iron, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and zinc, while also containing calcium, potassium, and selenium.
Some studies are also indicating that quinoa has certain gastrointestinal qualities that can help protect against lesions.
So, while both rice and quinoa can be used interchangeably in most dishes, they are completely different foods with a wealth of varying health benefits.
Do you have quinoa on a regular basis? What is your favorite quinoa recipe? Have you ever substituted quinoa for rice? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know!