Is Quinoa Kosher for Passover?

Is Quinoa Kosher for Passover?

In the great debate that won’t abate…

Over the past few days, both the OU and the Star-K have released their statements on quinoa for Passover 2013.

This year, the OU has crossed that threshold that they’ve been threatening to cross for the last few years – and declared that quinoa may be kitniyot and therefore may not be eaten by those of Ashkenazi descent who don’t eat kitniyot.

From the OU’s website:

The following may be Kitniyot and are therefore not used:

Update! Thanks to a reader, who just pointed out to me that quinoa has mysteriously disappeared from the OU’s Passover page. It was there at 9:30 this morning when I posted… and now it’s not there – just peanuts and amaranth.

Does that mean they are taking this under advisement?

I don’t know – I’ve emailed their Passover hotline and will update when I hear anything.

The Star-K, on the other hand, is still certifying quinoa – and therefore recommends that only quinoa with a reliable Kosher for Passover certification be used for Pesach.

Quinoa is Kosher L’Pesach and is not related to the five types of chometz grains, millet or rice. However, because there is a possibility that quinoa grows in proximity of chometz grains and processed in facilities that compromise its Kosher for Passover status, quinoa should only be accepted with a reliable Kosher for Passover supervision.

This article from the Star-K’s website lists the various brands of quinoa that will be certified for this Passover.

So, will you be eating quinoa this Pesach?

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons


  1. Yes I will. I recently moved over to a 100% vegan diet and quinoa is my best source of protein!

  2. Larry Lennhoff says

    I don’t especially care for Quinoa, but I think it is important to keep it allowable. So I’ll probably buy and eat some this Pesach.

  3. Jonathan Persons says

    How does Star-K classify peanuts and amaranth?

  4. Gah! I have never purchased in past years, was planning to this year bc I am vegan and GF. Now I’m not sure.

    • Did you see my most recent update to the post? Quinoa has mysteriously disappeared from that link at the OU. I’ve emailed them to find out what’s the story!

    • If you are vegan and GF, you may want to talk to your rabbi about a heter. I know somebody who got a heter to eat kitniyot because she was vegan, allergic to soy, and afraid she wouldn’t be able to get protein for a week without lentils and beans.

      We’re planning to buy the Star-K certified quinoa and call it a day. Enough with this shtuyot.

  5. Mimi Markofsky says

    My understanding from OU, Star-K and CRC is that it is only considered kitnyos when it is produced by a company that produces other products. Quinoa from the Quinoa Corporation may be used if purchased & checked prior to Pesach. Reason being, the other companies cover the quinoa with wheat to keep bugs and vermin from infesting the crops. They use the wheat they harvest for this purpose. Thus the quinoa is tainted and cannot be thought if as 100% non-kitnyos. I go through this every year and its like beating my head into a wall. Every hechsher points to another hechsher for guidance. The COR & MK from Canada, Star-K, Kof-K, look to the CRC for guidance. The CRC looks to Canada on this topic.

  6. I find KforP quinoa pricey, so i just don’t bother with it during Pesach.

    • The Nudnik says

      The Quinoa Corporation (Ancient Harvest) charges the same price for their regular and Kosher for Passover quinoa. When my wife purchased some Ancient Harvest locally, the price was the same as for their non Passover product. This IS more expensive than other brands, such as Trader Joe’s.

  7. I think in this discussion it’s important to distinguish between kitniyos and chametz. Kitnios are non-chametz vegetables or grain (like green beans and rice) that cannot be consumed by Ashkenazim during Pesach because they “resemble” wheat. I think the major problem with quinoa is that it is processed on the same machines as chametz grains, and that it is impossible (according to the OU) to separate the stray chametz grains out from the non-chametz quinoa. That’s a real halachic problem. I think only a minority of poskim think that quinoa is kitniyos (which is probably why it was removed from the kitniyos list).

    My personal take: it’s a week, big deal, so skip the quinoa. Quinoa only became KLP in the last few years; what did you do prior to that? If you’re vegan, ask a shayla. If you’re vegetarian but eat fish and eggs, get your protein from them.

  8. The reason it was classified as kitniyot by the OU may be because it was packaged at a facility that also packages other kitniyot products. Star-K certifies quinoa that is kept separate from chameytz and kitniyot. I heard R’ Heinemann himself, Rabbinic head of the Star-K, in a pre-Pesach class state unequivocally that quinoa is not chameytz and therefore permissible. He tested it himself to see there was any “chimutz” (rising) when mixed with water, and there was none. Of course everyone needs to consult with their own LOR to do what’s halachically right for them.

  9. I will do my best to find quinoa with a passover certification. If I can not, then I will buy and check regular quinoa (organic, packed in bolivia) this year I hope Sobeys on Clark in Thornhill will carry some.


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