You've Been Pronouncing Quinoa Wrong This Entire Time

Quinoa seems to have gained popularity during the early 2010s, trendy for being gluten-free, a "complete protein," and a superfood, according to HuffPost. Although it is treated as a whole grain, quinoa is technically a seed, per the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Quinoa looks like the sesame seeds you find on your hamburger buns, but it can come in a multitude of colors.

With a vaguely nutty taste — a heartier version of rice, according to The Rachael Ray Show — quinoa is perfect for so many recipes and there are many things you can cook with quinoa. You can substitute it for rice or potatoes as a side dish, you can use it to make a healthy pizza crust, and you can toss it with berries if you're tired of oatmeal.

There's no question that quinoa is extremely versatile. There's just one problem: How on earth do you say 'quinoa?' If you've seen the Progressive commercial (whether on TV or on YouTube), you've already heard three incorrect ways to pronounce the name of this superfood.

The right way to pronounce quinoa

Like 'colonel' or 'scissors,' quinoa may appear harder to pronounce than it actually is. Though many of us are tempted to pronounce it 'keen-oh-ah,' quinoa is pronounced 'keen-wah,' says Better Homes and Gardens.

According to the Take Our Word For It blog, if quinoa's name comes to us from Spanish via Quechua (a language family of a South American people), why are we pronouncing it as if the name derives from French? Well, originally quinoa was spelled 'kinuwa,' and the 'u' sound was eventually dropped. This is how we get to the pronunciation 'keen-wah.' If you think all that is confusing, you should look at the earliest Spanish spelling: quinua ("keen-OOH-ah").

Regardless of how you want to say it — we know old habits die hard — quinoa is here to stay. It's been around for thousands of years, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and will probably be around for a few thousand more. So in that case, you'd better start gathering your quinoa recipes, whether it be Spanish rice, healthy chocolate bites, or the protein-rich mango salad. Get your quinoa and get cooking!