Gluten Free Ideas · Gluten Free Products

White vs. Red vs. Black Quinoa – What’s the Difference?


I have often wondered if the nutritional content and taste of the white quinoa that I normally purchase differs from red or black quinoa.  I recently purchased the three varieties from Bulk Barn and compared the nutritional value (based on a 100g serving):


White Quinoa Red Quinoa Black Quinoa
Calories 380 370 355
Fat 6g 7.2g 3.3g
Protein 13g 14g 11g
Iron 90% 50% 20%


As you can see, the nutrional values are fairly similar.  Black quinoa has the lowest fat value and lowest iron value but there are no major differences between the three varieties.  The most important nutrional advantage of quionoa is that it is a complete protein – it contains all of the essential amino acids that our body can’t produce on its own.  This is why many vegetarians include this seed in their diet as animal protein is the major source of complete proteins.  Quinoa also contains anitoxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.  Compared to rice and couscous, quinoa is higher in fat but the type of fat is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat so it is worth it to consume this increase in fat!  Finally, quinoa is gluten free, which is why I love to use it in a lot of my recipes.

In terms of taste, the red and black varieties tend to have an earthier falvour.  Black quinoa also has a slightly sweeter taste versus white quinoa.  When cooked, white quinoa comes out fluffier and loses it’s shape a bit more than red or black quinoa.  As a result, both red and black quionoa tend to be a bit crunchier in texture.

Overall, all three varities of quinoa are a great choice and can be used in a variety of recipes including baking (quinoa flour and flakes), cereal (quinoa flakes), salads and side dishes.

Quinoa Flakes for Breakfast
Quinoa bowls – my personal lunch favourite! Click on the picture for more quinoa bowl recipes!

One thought on “White vs. Red vs. Black Quinoa – What’s the Difference?

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