Brown Rice vs. Quinoa

It’s the showdown of the grains! The traditional rice against the trendy (at least in North America) quinoa. Be a grain guru and find out who comes out on top!

Brown Rice (100g)
  VS Quinoa                     (100g)
South East Asia Origin Andean Region
Gluten free Allergens
Gluten free
$0.69 Cost $1.33
112 kcal Calories  120 kcal
23.51 g Carbohydrate
 21.30 g
0.35 g Sugars  n/a
1.9 g Fibre
 2.8 g
2.32 g Protein
 4.40 g
0.83 g Total Fat  1.92 g
10 mg Calcium
 17 mg
0.53 mg Iron
 1.49 mg

*For the cost we tried to make an even match by selecting an Organic Short Grain Brown Rice and Organic Quinoa. The prices are from, an online grocery ordering service.

No Baloney’s results? Rice and quinoa are nutritious sources of essential nutrients and we would recommend including both in your diet for some variety. Especially if you are trying to eat gluten free! Rice wins on cost (and you can certainly find a much cheaper rice than the one we used here), but we have to give the health win to quinoa, particularly if you are vegetarian or vegan.

Although both rice and quinoa provide some protein, quinoa is considered to be a complete protein (rare among plant foods), whereas rice is lacking in the essential amino acid lysine. The quinoa also provides twice as much protein as an equal amount of brown rice. Otherwise the two are quite similar with respect to micronutrients – quinoa contains slightly more iron and calcium though.

If selecting rice, be sure to select a whole grain variety such as brown rice rather than the overly-processed, white rice for the higher fibre content. Of course sometimes some sushi and sticky white rice is where it’s at! A little indulgence is okay. In all cases, you can increase the nutrient content of these grains by carefully choosing the  other foods in your meal. You can also bump up the protein of a quinoa or rice-based meal by including lean cuts of meat, tofu, nuts/seeds and legumes. Throw in some spinach, broccoli or kale for some veggie sources of calcium too.

We also encourage you to live on the grain *wild side* and try bulgur, amaranth, millet and teff.

*Nutrition information from the Canadian Nutrient File: “grains, rice, brown, medium-grain, cooked” and “grains, quinoa, cooked”


5 thoughts on “Brown Rice vs. Quinoa

  1. …till one day some random research will suggest that quinoa has some trace element we’re not supposed to ingest! Red wine is good… no, red wine is bad. Cheese is good… no cheese is bad. Eggs are good… no eggs are bad. The only good thing I know is moderation!

    • Well written, and I agree…whole, natural, high quality foods according to what your own body tells you.

    • You can quick quinoa a few different ways: 1). like rice in a 2:1 water to quinoa ratio; 2). boil and strain (cook ~ 15 min until tender and strain); OR our favourite method…

      We find the best results using a boil, strain and then steam method (taken from our Fennel and Tomato Quinoa recipe):

      1. Rinse quinoa in fine mesh sieve under cold water, allowing to drain well.

      2. Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling low-sodium broth, uncovered, until almost tender, about 8 – 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve).

      3. Cover quinoa with a clean kitchen towel, then cover loosely with a lid and steam over medium heat until tender and fluffy, about 10 minutes.

      4. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, another 5 minutes.

      We find the addition of a steaming step keeps the quinoa nice and fluffy! If you don’t have the time for this step, we also use the boil and drain often – just make sure you watch the clock as quinoa can get overcooked easily. Here are some other great tips from Eating Well:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s