A species of the goosefoot genus (Chenopodium quinoa), a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal, similar in some respects to buckwheat, rather than a true cereal, as it is not a member of the true grass family.
As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beetroots, spinach and tumbleweeds. As a member of the Amaranthaceae family, it is related to and resembles amaranth, which is also a pseudocereal. After harvest, the seeds must be processed to remove the coating containing the bitter-tasting saponins.
The seeds are in general cooked the same way as rice and can be used in a wide range of dishes. When cooked, the nutrient composition is comparable to common cereals, supplying a moderate amount of dietary fiber and minerals.