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Quinoa vs Pinto Beans: How Are They Different?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between quinoa and pinto beans, foods from the grains and legumes food groups. Read on to learn more about the quinoa vs pinto beans comparison.
Michael Whaley, Health Writer

Written by Michael Whaley, Health Writer. Updated on February 7, 2023.

Although quinoa and pinto beans belong to different food groups, while quinoa belong is a grain, and pinto beans belong to legumes food group, and it’s not that common to compare foods from different groups, people are often interested in these comparisons as well.

That’s why we decided to create an in-depth article that compares quinoa and pinto beans, their nutritional values, similarities, differences, macronutrients, and micronutrients – vitamins and minerals.

Generally speaking, foods from grains and legume food groups are both high in carbs and protein and valuable addition to a plant-based diet.

Now, let’s see how quinoa and pinto beans compare specifically.


Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is a grain-like crop grown for its edible seeds.

It is a good source of complete protein, providing all essential amino acids, and also rich in dietary fibers, vitamins, and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc.

Quinoa also contains antioxidants, flavonoids, and anti-inflammatory compounds, which have been linked to various health benefits, including improved blood sugar control, cardiovascular health, and weight management.

It is a versatile ingredient that can be cooked and eaten as a side dish, added to soups and stews, or ground into flour to make breads, pancakes, and other baked goods.

Quinoa is an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), and Vitamin E.

Pinto Beans

Pinto beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are a type of legume native to Central and South America.

They are a popular ingredient in many vegan and vegetarian dishes due to their high protein and fiber content, as well as their rich, nutty flavor.

Pinto beans are also a good source of several important nutrients, including potassium, iron, and B vitamins.

They can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes, such as pinto bean soup, chili, and salads.

In addition to being a nutritious food, pinto beans have been shown to have a number of potential health benefits.

They have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved blood sugar control, and may also help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

Pinto Beans are an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

They also contain a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) and some Vitamin C, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), and Vitamin K.

Quinoa vs Pinto Beans Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing quinoa vs pinto beans.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of quinoa and pinto beans and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

QuinoaPinto Beans
Energy368 kcal347 kcal
Carbs64.2 g62.6 g
Sugar1.45 g2.11 g
Fiber7 g15.5 g
Protein14.1 g21.4 g
Fat6.07 g1.23 g
Saturated Fat0.706 g0.235 g

Quinoa vs Pinto Beans Calories

Most calories in raw grains and legumes come from carbs. Peanuts are an exception here, but they are often considered a nut instead of a legume because of their nutritional profile.

Comparing pinto beans vs quinoa for weight loss, pinto beans are slightly lower in calories, with 347 calories per 100 grams, compared to 368 calories per 100 grams of quinoa.

However, both quinoa and pinto beans can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Quinoa vs Pinto Beans Protein

Legumes and most legume products, including quinoa and pinto beans, are important sources of plant-based protein.

Pinto Beans offer around 34% more protein than quinoa.

Pinto Beans have 21.4 grams of protein per 100 grams, while quinoa has 14.1 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Quinoa vs Pinto Beans Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in quinoa and pinto beans.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 2% higher in quinoa than in pinto beans. It have 64.2 grams per 100 grams, compared to 62.6 grams in pinto beans.

There’s less sugar in quinoa than in pinto beans, 33% precisely.

One handful of quinoa (28 grams) contains 0.4 grams of sugar, while the same amount of pinto beans contains 0.6 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in quinoa and pinto beans.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 4.3 grams of fiber per portion, pinto beans are a better source of fiber than quinoa which offer 2 grams per portion.

Quinoa vs Pinto Beans Fats

Like most other grains and legumes, with the exception of lupins and peanuts, quinoa and pinto beans are low in fat.

Fats in quinoa and pinto beans are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in quinoa and pinto beans:

  • Quinoa: 6.1 grams per 100 grams
  • Pinto Beans: 1.2 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, pinto beans are 71% lower in saturated fats.

Pinto Beans and quinoa contain 0.2 grams and 0.7 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Quinoa vs Pinto Beans Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of quinoa and pinto beans.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Quinoa has a higher amount of vitamin C, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid), vitamin B9 (Folate), and vitamin K.

However, pinto beans have a higher amount of vitamin A, vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and vitamin E.

Quinoa and pinto beans contain the same amount of vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins quinoa and pinto beans contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

QuinoaPinto Beans
Vitamin A14 IU0
Vitamin C06.3 mg
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.36 mg0.713 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.318 mg0.212 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)1.52 mg1.17 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)0.772 mg0.785 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.487 mg0.474 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)184 µg525 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E2.44 mg0.21 mg
Vitamin K05.6 µg

Quinoa vs Pinto Beans Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc or, iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the quinoa and pinto beans comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Quinoa is a better source of calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, potassium, selenium, and sodium than pinto beans.

On the other hand, pinto beans are a higher amount of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc.

Check out the table below to learn how quinoa and pinto beans compare when it comes to mineral content.

QuinoaPinto Beans
Calcium47 mg113 mg
Copper0.59 mg0.893 mg
Fluoride02.2 µg
Iron4.57 mg5.07 mg
Magnesium197 mg176 mg
Manganese2.03 mg1.15 mg
Phosphorus457 mg411 mg
Potassium563 mg1390 mg
Selenium8.5 µg27.9 µg
Sodium5 mg12 mg
Zinc3.1 mg2.28 mg

The Final Word

Quinoa and pinto beans are highly nutritious and a great addition to a plant-based diet.

Both quinoa and pinto beans are high in specific vitamins and minerals, and including them in your diet will give you the most benefits they offer.

Antioxidants found in grains and legumes can help to protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of certain diseases and the effects of aging.

Additionally, the fiber and other nutrients in these foods can support the health of the digestive system and may even help to prevent certain digestive cancers.

Legumes and grains are a versatile food that can be incorporated into any meal of the day, including breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They can be served hot or cold, making them a convenient and tasty addition to a variety of dishes.


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