Quinoa is popular for its many health benefits because of its use as a plant-based protein, fiber, antioxidant content, and gluten-free qualities. Some of these qualities stem from its classification as a pseudocereal. This means it is a whole grain that doesn't grow on grass. Because it is treated as a cereal grain you can grind it into flour and use it as a flour substitute in gluten-free dishes or as a rice substitute. It also has a natural mechanism to protect itself from pest damage with a natural outer coating of saponins. This is a bitter-tasting compound that can easily be rinsed away with water.