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What To Cook When You Can’t Get Pork Shoulder? Try These 5 Alternatives

Chicken has long been known as a healthier alternative for red meat, but what can substitute chicken and even better than this poultry meat?

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Quinoa might be the answer.

In this article, we are going to compare quinoa and chicken so that you can have a better understanding of these ingredients as well as choose the one that is both nutritious and delicious.

Let’s check it out!

What is quinoa?

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Quinoa might be a strange term for many people, but it has been more popular in cooking recently.

Quinoa is a grain-like seed from the Chenopodium quinoa plant, which is mostly found in the Andean region of South America, such as Peru and Bolivia.

Now, this plant is also widely grown in different parts of the world, including the United States, Canada, India, Italy, and Sweden.

Quinoa is an excellent source of protein, fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper, phosphorus, and manganese.

In general, quinoa seeds are three to four times richer in nutrients than brown rice.

However, one thing to keep in mind is that quinoa is a complete vegan protein, not a carbohydrate.

The most common way to cook quinoa is by boiling it in water until the liquid evaporates all, just like you cook rice.

It can be cooked in vegetable or meat stock instead of water to make the dish more flavorful.

By cooking this way, quinoa is a great replacement for regular grains like rice or wheat because it is gluten-free and much more nutritious.

Quinoa can also be used to make flour, soups, or beer.

It has a grain-like taste, mildly sweet, nutty, and earthy.

What is chicken?

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Chicken is one of the most popular kinds of meat that is consumed anywhere in the world.

Chicken refers to the meat that comes from the poultry.

The texture, taste, and nutrient value might vary depending on the chicken breed, but not significantly different.

Chicken is considered white meat, which is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol.

Therefore, it is a great substitute for red meat like pork and beef.

It is also a rich source of protein, amino acids, B-vitamins, phosphorus, folate, selenium, potassium, and niacin.

Not only being favored because of its nutritional content but chicken is also reputed for being versatile meat.

It can be sold in whole chicken which is perfect for baking or roasting, or in individual cuts like chicken breast, wing, thigh, or drumstick, which are usually grilled or breaded then deep-fried.

Chicken has a mildly sweet taste.

White meat chicken like chicken breast is milder, while dark meat chicken like the chicken leg is more flavorful and a bit fattier.

What are the differences between quinoa vs chicken?

It is obvious that quinoa and chicken are two different things, but how different are they?

Let’s figure it out in the comparison table below:

 ComparisonQuinoa Chicken
Where it comes fromA seed from the Chenopodium quinoa plantMeat from any breed of chicken
TypeGluten-free vegan proteinWhite meat
Nutritional contentRicher in iron, vitamin B9, fiber, magnesiumRicher in protein, vitamin B12, selenium, higher in fat
TextureFirm when raw, tender and grain-like when cookedSoft and moist
FlavorNutty, earthy, milder than riceMildly sweet, meaty
Common useBoiled like rice, make soups, beer, or flourBaked, roasted, grilled, deep-fried, sauteed, boiled, steamed, broiled,…
PopularityLess popular, mainly in South America, or the United States, Canada, Sweden, Italy, and IndiaMore popular, can be found in any part of the world

What are the similarities between quinoa vs chicken?

Despite many key differences between quinoa and chicken, these two ingredients also have some characteristics in common:

1.    Quinoa and chicken are protein

A misconception about quinoa is that it is a kind of carbohydrate like other grains.

In fact, quinoa is considered a protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids.

While quinoa is vegan protein, chicken is obviously a more common protein from meat, specifically poultry.

2.    Quinoa and chicken are beneficial to our health

Another similarity between quinoa and chicken is that they are both nutritious.

Quinoa and chicken are rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals that benefit our health in many ways.

3.    Quinoa and chicken can be cooked deliciously in numerous ways

One more thing in common between quinoa and chicken is their versatility.

Quinoa and chicken can be cooked in different ways and the resulting dishes always taste good.

Therefore, if you have on hand some quinoa seeds and a cut of chicken, you can create numerous delicious dishes from these ingredients.

Which one is better?

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In conclusion, quinoa and chicken have many potential health benefits that make them great to be added to our daily meals.

They taste great and are versatile, so you can comfortably use your creativity to make countless dishes from quinoa or chicken.

They are worth trying!

Emily W.

Emily Wong is an Asian-American food writer the founder of With nearly 8 years of experience, she has a passion for making cooking accessible to everyone and sharing her personal experiences with food. Emily's vision for is to create a community of food lovers who are passionate about cooking, eating, and sharing their experiences with others. Read my story
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