Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah") is a grain used for thousands of years. It was particularly loved by the Incas, who found it hearty, healthy and easy to cultivate at high altitudes.
I just tried cooking red quinoa, one of the many varieties. It cooks quickly and is very beautiful once the light husks separate from the red seeds. I stir-fried some onions and garlic in a bit of oil, then added some okra, celery, and my treasure from the local Ethiopian restaurant, The Nile: red Ethiopian pepper. As the quinoa cooked, I added some tempeh and tofu to the veggies. Finally, I added some garam masala and turmeric. The result? Fantastic.
Here's some info about quinoa from The Int'l Center for Underutilized Crops
"Quinoa is a super nutritious food. It's not only packed with fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium and phosphorous, it is a complete protein. That means it contains all of the essential amino acids humans need. And quinoa is gluten-free, making it an ideal food for people with food allergies.
In Ecuador, quinoa is already adapted for cultivation at altitudes from 2,300 to 3,500 m, too high for maize yields to be commercially viable (upper limits for maize for subsistence, not commercial, cultivation being 2,800 to 3,000 m; yields of wheat and barley also decline notably above 3,000 m). Quinoa should therefore be viewed as a versatile cash crop which would extend the range of commercially arable hecterage in Ecuador. "