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Quinoa, a vegetarian source of protein, is an Andean import whose popularity has grown from a niche ingredient to a mainstay in many kitchens. Besides having many nutritional benefits, it’s also low in pesticides. “People may use pesticides, but quinoa doesn’t need them, since it has a coating that contains bitter-tasting saponins, making the crop nearly impermeable to pests,” says Carolyn Dimitri, an associate professor of food studies at New York University, in New York City. Most quinoa packagers remove the coating, but it’s worthwhile to give it another rinse before cooking to be sure.

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