Quinoa is an annual herbaceous plant native to the Andean region of South America, where it has been the main crop for millennia. Quinoa is currently grown in several countries around the world, including the United States, Canada, Italy, Sweden, and India, but most of it is still grown in Peru and Bolivia. It is believed that this ancient species was independently domesticated over the entire range of its range about 3000-5000 years ago. Along with corn and potatoes, quinoa was a staple for the Pre-Columbian Incas, Aymara, and Quechua.
Compared to traditional cereals, quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, making it one of the few plant sources of complete protein. Seeds also contain a lot of fiber and oil and are a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper, vitamin E and a number of antioxidants. The seeds have a slightly nutty flavor and are similar in texture to brown rice.