Great vegan side dish for your next Mexican themed meal. Try it instead of rice, you will not be disappointed. If you are not familiar with quinoa or have never cooked with it before, read on: A recently rediscovered ancient "grain" native to South America, quinoa was once called "the gold of the Incas," who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa's amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. when cooking with quinoa, be sure to rinse you quinoa 2-3 times under cold water, to remove the bitter coating.