Quinoa plant, quinoa in flower stage, harvested quinoa.
(photo credit: Wikipedia)
In modern times, quinoa has seen an increase in production, due to its' immense nutritional content. Quinoa is 12-18% protein and, unlike most grains, provides a balanced set of essential amino acids, making it an excellent food source. It's also a good source of fiber, magnesium, phosphorous and iron. Ask any vegetarian you know, and I'm sure they'll know the many benefits of this tiny seed.
To me, quinoa has a mild nutty flavor that you can enhance by lightly toasting the seeds prior to cooking. Use quinoa just like rice, couscous or any other grain, in soups, as a side dish, and even as a breakfast cereal.
Here is a recipe that I've enjoyed time and time again...very quick and easy to prepare. Most store packaged quinoa has been pre-rinsed (otherwise it can have a soapy-like, bitter tasting residue), but I always soak mine in water for at least 10 minutes and then rinse well.