Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) is a nutrient-rich grain native to South America and eaten worldwide as a healthy food, sometimes even referred to as a "superfood". Like quinoa grains, quinoa greens (green leaves, sprouts, and microgreens) are also rich in nutrients and have health promoting properties such as being antimicrobial, anticancer, antidiabetic, antioxidant, antiobesity, and cardio-beneficial. Quinoa greens are gluten-free and provide an excellent source of protein, amino acids, essential minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. Quinoa greens represent a promising value-added vegetable that could resolve malnutrition problems and contribute to food and nutritional security. The greens can be grown year-round (in the field, high tunnel, and greenhouse) and have short growth durations. In addition, quinoa is salt-, drought-, and cold-tolerant and requires little fertilizer and water to grow. Nevertheless, consumption of quinoa greens as leafy vegetables is uncommon. To date, only a few researchers have investigated the nutritional properties, phytochemical composition, and human health benefits of quinoa greens. We undertook a comprehensive review of the literature on quinoa greens to explore their nutritional and functional significance to human health and to bring awareness to their use in human diets.
Keywords: bioactive components; greens; health benefits; leafy vegetable; microgreens; nutrients; quinoa; sprouts.