quinoa vs brown rice

Quinoa vs brown rice | How to make the right choice?

What distinguishes quinoa and brown rice is that in brown rice, only the husk is removed, therefore it retains fiber and germs that contain vital nutrients. Unlike brown rice, quinoa is the seed of the goosefoot plant. Both grains are prepared and eaten similarly to grains, so people often replace quinoa with rice in their diet. Quinoa vs brown rice, how do these foods go against each other?

Quinoa vs Brown rice

There’s been a huge debate going on in the health community – quinoa vs brown rice, which one is better for you? Let’s take a closer look at both.


Quinoa is a South American plant and is one of the oldest cereals in the world called “Inca gold”, which was cultivated in the Andes in the area of Peru, Chile and Bolivia almost more than 5,000 years ago.

The Incas considered it a deliberate source of strength and endurance for their warriors.

A legend from that time tells of how the Inca king sewed the first quinoa seeds every year, because this cereal was the basic food that his people ate. This plant Inke call  also called the “mother of cereals” 

Quinoa seeds are small balls, spherical in shape, about 1-3 mm in size and are usually yellow in color, but there are other species and they can be orange, pink, red, purple and black varieties. You can also use quinoa leaves for eating and they have a taste similar to spinach or chard, however, we can buy them in stores but also through the Amazon.

Brown rice

As it is well known rice is an ancient food. Rice is known to have been cultivated in China for the first time 6000 years ago, but archaeological discoveries have found a kind of primitive rice seed dating back as far as about 9000 years.

Throughout history, rice has been a staple product mainly in Asia. With the Arab travelers who brought rice to ancient Greece, and Alexander the Great brought it together with his army to India, however, he stopped there and did not transfer to other parts of the world. The Moors brought rice to Spain in the 8th century, but it was the Crusaders who were responsible for bringing rice to France. Rice was introduced to South America by Spanish conquistadors in the 17th century during their colonization.

Most of the world’s rice production is in Asia, where it is the number one food in their diet. Three largest exporters of rice are Thailand, Vietnam and China. 

What is brown rice? Brown rice contains all parts of the grain – including fibrous bran, nutritious germ, and carbohydrate-rich endosperm. 

There are two basic types of brown rice, the short grain and the long grain (basmati rice from India or Pakistan) .

What does brown rice taste like?

Tastes can not be discussed, best-tasting brown rice is mostly a matter of opinion, but some people prefer brown rice that comes from certain parts of the world over others because of its distinctive flavors. 

Types of Brown rice

Long-grain brown rice

Long grain brown rice has drier grain, even when it is cooked. It’s lighter than short-grain brown rice, so we can use him in almost any rice dish, it is ideal for vegan sushi and risottos.

Short-grain brown rice

Short-grain brown rice is slightly sticky because it has a higher level of amylopectin. It’s a little bit harder to chew than white short-grain rice. Most people choose this type of brown rice due to its sweetness.

What does quinoa taste like?

The taste and texture of quinoa is somewhat similar to brown rice mixed with oatmeal. It is creamy, fluttery, crunchy and a bit nutty, all in one. It’s adaptable and can be cooked in many ways. 

Before you start cooking it is very important to wash it, because quinoa has a saponin layer it makes him taste quite bitter. To remove that layer quinoa must be at least one time washed up and often and pearled to remove that bitterness.

One way to enhance the taste of Quinoa is to toast it for a little bit in a dry pan.

Types of quinoa 

White quinoa

This type of quinoa, which is most often used for several reasons, primarily has a light and fairly neutral taste, which is not dominant and will not overpower the other ingredients in the dish. Of all the colors, quinoa has the lightest texture and is softer than other types (colors) of quinoa. White quinoa cooks faster, needs less cooking water, and is also less crunchy than red and black quinoa.

Quinoa can be used as a staple ingredient, similar to rice and couscous.

Red quinoa

Compared to white, red quinoa is heavier in texture. Red quinoa  taste is often described as “nutty”. The fact that red quinoa has a heavier texture actually allows it to hold up very well when cooked. This heavier texture of red quinoa makes it a great cold salad ingredient! No less important is the fact that it retains its red color when cooking, so if you want more color in your dish, red quinoa can be the right choice.

Black quinoa 

Black quinoa is the least used type of quinoa, due to its relatively low demand and the hardest to find. The texture is very similar to red quinoa, but the taste can be described as “more earthy” while its taste is sweeter than white quinoa. Black quinoa varieties hold up well and maintain color after cooking. If you want to use black quinoa in salad you must cook it al-dente. That gives it a nice crunch.

Quinoa vs brown rice – which food has more nutrients

Quinoa is prepared and eaten similar to cereals, which is why people sometimes use quinoa in their diet instead of rice.

How does this food compare? Who is the winner in the duel of quinoa and brown rice?


grams per servingBrown RiceQuinoa
Protein1,83 g4,4g
Amino acidsLOWHIGH


Brown rice – 1,83 gr

Quinoa- 4,4 gr

Brown rice has small amounts of protein, somewhere around 1,8-1,9 gr per serving size when cooked. Quinoa, on the other hand, contains 4,4 grams in serving size.

Better result : Quinoa

Amino Acids

Brown rice–   does not contain threonine, and it contains relatively low levels of lysine

Quinoa– is a complete protein pack, with all nine essential amino acid

Because the human body can’t produce some amino acids, it must get them from other sources like food or supplements.

Quinoa is a great option for vegetarians, vegans, or if someone doesn’t want to take amino acids from the meat while maintaining a balanced diet.

Brown rice is not a complete protein. In fact, rice contains only a few amino acids, quinoa is a better choice.

Better result : Quinoa


Brown rice- 111

Quinoa- 120

They are inside a close range, but brown rice has some advantage in this contest.

Better result : Brown rice


Brown rice- 6,4

Quinoa- 3.8

If you eat enough fiber, you can completely prevent or significantly alleviate constipation, helping the egesta to move smoothly through the body. Dietary fiber helps to speed up regular bowel movements and reduces the time that egesta spends in our body.

Better result : Brown rice


Brown rice – 17.05gr

Quinoa – 21 gr

If you take care of your diet, carb count can be a one of key factors in weight loss. Carbohydrates are foods that get transformed into sugar, in our bodies during digestion. Sugar is a main source of fuel for our body and it is especially very important for our brain.

Better result : Quinoa


Brown rice and quinoa have high levels of different essential micronutrients. Brown rice has a big amount of phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, and selenium. Meanwhile, it has lower levels of copper, calcium, and zinc.

Quinoa has a high level of iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc, also contains high levels of calcium, potassium, and selenium.

General, quinoa has 3-4 times more nutrients than brown rice.

Better result : Quinoa


Both quinoa and brown rice are gluten-free, If you’re want to reduce flour out of your diet or if you problem  with foods that have in their composition  gluten, quinoa and brown rice are great choices 

Better result : equal

Brown rice and quinoa have good health benefits and they both are good sources of nutrition.

Can quinoa and brown rice be bad for you?

Quinoa has popped up as a healthy alternative to rice. It has already taken the place of rice in some recipes. If you love rice, that’s a good choice too, it’s not a bad decision.

Both of these cereals have good nutritional values and have health benefits.

What is easier to digest quinoa or brown rice ?

Brown rice and quinoa are easy to digest if you are healthy. Either or both can be inconvenient for people who have problems with dehydration, insufficient stomach acid production or some kind of carbohydrate sensitivity, but usually, the big amount of fiber in each makes these great options for easy digestion.

Quinoa and brown rice best recipes

Quinoa recipes

Quick and delicious quinoa soup with chicken and vegetables

Quinoa for breakfast – A three-ingredient recipe ready in 3 min

Brown rice recipes

How to cook properly quinoa and quinoa?

Cooking quinoa 

  • The first thing you need to do is to wash the quinoa, even though you bought the one on the box that says it has already been washed.
  • Put the quinoa in a strainer with a fine mesh, and mix with your hands until the milk water becomes clear.
  • The ratio of water and quinoa is 1/3 to one cup of quinoa there are two cups of water, add salt (if you are able to sea salt)
  • Then return the quinoa to a boil and cover the pot and cook over at low heat (20-25 minutes). It must look much brighter than from the beginning of cooking.
  • Drain through a fine mesh and use hot or cold as you wish.

Cooking brown rice

Brown rice is cooked in the same way as quinoa. Only the ratio of water is different by a ½ cup, as you’ll need one cup of brown rice and two cups of water.

We can cook quinoa and brown rice with

Quinoa vs Brown rice – conclusion

Both quinoa and brown are excellent in terms of nutrient composition, however looking at what they contain, it can be said that quinoa as a whole grain is a better choice, because it has a larger selection of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients.

If we compare it to rice, brown rice is still a better choice in terms of its health benefits than other types of processed rice, 

So whatever you choose, you won’t make a wrong choice.

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