Brown Rice Versus Quinoa

Brown Rice Versus Quinoa

Quinoa or Brown Rice? That is the question when building your grain bowls at all those healthy cafes popping up around town. We know that both are good for us as they have a wide nutritional profile, are gluten-free, vegetarian friendly, low-carb, and add a healthy dose of fiber to keep your gut bugs happy and healthy. But which is the best one? Let’s break each of them down.

Brown Rice

Brown rice was one of the first grains to get popular within the health scene. Due to the way it’s prepared, the nutritional profile of brown rice is greater than that of its counterpart - white rice. Brown rice is a whole grain, meaning that it contains three parts of the grain kernel: the outer, fiber-filled layer called the bran, the nutrient-rich core called the germ, and the starchy middle layer called the endosperm.

Compared to white rice, which is a refined grain and is stripped of the majority of the fiber and nutrients. Due to the preparation process of refined grains, whole grains were brought to the forefront of the health scene with brown rice as the winner. 


Quinoa (pronounced like KEEN-wa) has been a staple food in Central America for centuries. The seeds of this nutrient dense pseudocereal, meaning it's not a grass plant, and has been eaten for nearly 6,000 years. Now quinoa has been quickly becoming more popular in the health scene over the last several years and showing to be a competitor among the old crowd favorite brown rice.

Quinoa has quickly become popular for its versatility, as it adapts to whatever flavors it is cooked with, along with it’s impressive nutritional profile. Impressive enough to replace brown rice in your diet? Perhaps; let's do a comparison. 

Brown Rice Versus Quinoa?

When compared cup for cup, the calorie count of these two grains are fairly similar. If we start to take a look at the fiber (the gut bugs favorite!) this is where we start to see the difference.

Brown rice has 14 percent of your daily fiber intake per 1 cup while quinoa comes in ringing a  whopping 21 percent. Fiber-wise, no brainer. 

People often don't associate grains as a source of protein, but they are! A cup of brown rice has 5 grams of protein. To get a complete amino acid profile required for human health, just add some beans. Why do you think beans and rice is so popular around the world? But quinoa wins this one again, with more than 50 percent protein, coming in with 8.1 grams per cup. Quinoa is one of the few plant sources that's a complete protein, meaning that it contains all of the needed protein-forming amino acids.

Both of these foods are important sources of thiamine (vitamin B1), iron, and zinc, which is needed by the body for nervous system and muscle function and electrolyte balance.


Both grains have their benefits. In terms of health, brown rice is still the best choice for rice, but with its impressive fiber and protein, among other benefits, quinoa wins this round.

Guttin’ Down on Some Grains

The prep for each of these foods is pretty similar: just add the grain and water to a pot and cook. You will want to sprout them beforehand to make them easier to digest. You do this by soaking them the night before and then draining the water before cooking. You’ll want to use a ratio of 1 cup grain with 2 cups of liquids. 

If you skip the sprouting step, you’re going to want to rinse the quinoa before cooking. Quinoa has a coating called saponin, which can make the grain taste bitter.

Buckledown With Some Brown Rice Recipes

Needing something that is lower in calories, keeps your blood sugar levels stable, and is easy to throw together? Check out this gut-loving buddha bowl here

Quick And Easy With Some Quinoa 

You may only be using this superfood for your savory dishes, but it is so versatile that you can use it for a sweet breakfast bowl. Check out this recipe here



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