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172023 tn?1334672284

Grains, Chap2. COUSCOUS, the little grain that isn't!

Couscous.  

Funny word, even funnier to cook with.  Though it is adorable, technically....it isn't really a grain.  It's tiny pasta.  But it acts so much like a grain that I'm going to include it here, simply because I can.  So there.
If you're looking for an almost instant side dish that's different from the same old same old, look no furthur.  Couscous is worth a try.

Couscous is a staple of North African cuisine.  It is the husked and crushed, but unground, semolina of hard wheat, although the preparation of the same name can be made with barley, millet, sorghum, or corn. Semolina is the hard part of the grain of hard-wheat, which resists the grinding of the millstone.  The word "couscous" derives from the Arabic word kaskasa, to pound small.  (the couscous we have prepackaged here in the Western world involves no pounding whatsoever, so don't be put off by that little fact).
A versatile dish, couscous can be mixed with vegetables, legumes, meat, or fish, or it can be eaten with butter or fresh fruit.
Similar to rice, pasta, or bread, couscous is an inexpensive and highly nutritive product.  I'm not getting into how couscous is made, because its long and relatively uninteresting.  All you need to know is that here in the Western world, you can get it prepackaged, and it cooks almost instantly.  
And for sk123---there is something called Israeli couscous, which is a larger version of couscous.  

Look for a popular brand, called Near East.  They have prepackaged couscous in a variety of flavors.  I eat only whole wheat couscous, which is harder to find.  I use it under many foods that seem to beg for a nice grain side dish.  

Preparing couscous is a snap.   Its prepared using equal parts of couscous and boiling water or stock.  Bring say...1 cup of water or stock (I use any broth), add whatever spices you like (I shake in some dried parsley, some oregano, some crushed red pepper, and some garlic), bring it to a boil, dump in 1 cup of couscous, remove from heat, cover, and BINGO!  In about 5 minutes, fluff with a fork and your side dish is done.  Couscous is the time saver of side dishes.

I sometimes make a large container of couscous and chop up some steamed veggies, diced cooked chicken or fish, broccoli slaw, and mix it all together.  It keeps for several days in the frige.  Like quinoa, you can eat this plain, in a wrap, or in a salad for a quick lunch or snack.

I usually serve it under a main dish that has some moisture to it, like under a stew, or under a moist fish or meat dish.  Its easier than rice to prepare.  The body seems to process it more as a grain than as a pasta, which is a plus...keeps us full longer and hopefully won't get plastered directly onto your hips.

I'll put some couscous ideas under this thread, and add your own!  Try this little timesaver.  You'll be glad you did.  


5 Responses
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172023 tn?1334672284
Spinach and Onion Couscous

1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach
1 (10 ounce) package couscous
3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt (to taste)
fresh ground pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup chopped pecan, toasted

Directions
1-In a saucepan, cook and stir onion and garlic in hot oil until tender.
2-Add the broth and spinach; cook and stir frequently until the spinach thaws.
3-Bring mixture to a boil and stir occasionally.
4-Add in couscous; stir to combine.
5-Cover, remove pan from heat, and let stand 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
6-Add remaining ingredients; stir to combine.
7-Serve immediately.

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Balsamic Tomato Couscous

2 cups nonfat vegetable broth or nonfat chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 cups uncooked couscous
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
5 small tomatoes

Directions
1-In a medium pan, bring the broth to a boil.
2-When it is boiling add the basil and garlic and stir. Then add the couscous, cover the pan, and remove it from the heat. Let sit 5-10 minutes.
3-Chop the tomatoes.
4-In a small bowl mix the balsamic vinegar, the oil, and the pepper. Add the tomatoes.
5-When the couscous is ready add the tomato mixture and mix well.
6-Serve hot or cold.

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Red Lentil, Zucchini, and Couscous soup

1 large onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 medium carrots, grated
2 medium zucchini, grated
1 cup red lentil, rinsed and drained
6 cups vegetable broth or water
1 teaspoon salt, to taste (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/3 cup couscous

Directions

1-Grate carrots and zucchini, set aside.
2-Heat oil in a 5 quart soup pot; add onions and celery; saute on medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden.
3-If vegetables begin to stick, add a tbsp or two of water.
4-Add all ingredients except couscous to the pot, increase to high heat to bring to a boil.
5-Reduce heat and simmer partially covered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6-Add couscous and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
7-If soup is too thick, thin it with a little bit of water.
8-Adjust seasonings to taste.

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Breakfast Couscous

1/2 cup skim milk or 1% low-fat milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons maple syrup (sugar free if you want)
2 tablespoons raisins
1/4 (maybe a bit more) cup uncooked couscous
ground cinnamon

Directions
1-Heat milk, vanilla, maple syrup, and raisins in a saucepan over medium heat until hot and steamy. DO NOT BOIL!
2-Stir in couscous, cover, and remove from heat.
3-Let stand for 5 minutes.
4-Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve warm.

That should get ya'll started.  Get going!  Try couscous!

Helpful - 0
172023 tn?1334672284
Chicken Curry and Couscous

1+ cup broth or stock
1 cup couscous
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 lbs rotisserie-cooked chicken, remove and shred meat from a store-bought chicken
1 cup light coconut milk
1 pinch salt, to taste
1 pinch pepper, to taste
3 scallions, thinly sliced
Directions
1-In a small saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Turn off heat. Add couscous, stir once, then cover and let sit until the rest of the recipe is complete.
2-In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion, garlic, carrots and raisins and saute until onions are just tender, about 5 minutes.
3-Add curry powder and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add chicken and coconut milk and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper.
4-Transfer couscous to a large serving bowl and fluff with a fork. Add scallions and toss to combine. Spoon chicken curry over the center of the couscous.

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Israeli Couscous Salad

1 (8 7/8 ounce) package israeli couscous
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
2-3 green onions, sliced
10 black olives, sliced
6 ounces fat free feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped fine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions
1-Cook coucous according to package directions, drain and rinse in cool water.
2-Combine remaining ingredients and cover and chill till ready to eat.

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Salmon Fillets over Couscous

(note: House Seasoning is meant to be a large amount that you can store and use for other recipes.  Do NOT USE the entire amount on this dish!)

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 pieces salmon
1 lime
1 tablespoon butter or margarine

House Seasoning
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Couscous
2 1/4 cups water or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces couscous
1 cup diced tomato
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup green onion

Directions
1-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2-Add a drizzle of olive oil to glass pan and place the salmon. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the top of the salmon and sprinkle with the House Seasoning. Dot with small amounts of the butter or margarine. Cover with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve on a bed of couscous.

3- To make House Seasoning: Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

4-Couscous: Combine water or chicken stock,  and salt  in a saucepan, over medium heat and bring to a boil. Stir in couscous. Add diced tomatoes, crumbled feta, and green onions. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
5-Uncover, fluff with a fork.
Helpful - 0
193137 tn?1367880063
Thanks for including Israeli couscous...my favorite! I accidentally bought 2 pounds of couscous (my grocery store sells grains and spices in bulk and I didn't close the little gate in time that cuts off the downpour of couscous), so these recipes are very timely! I'm especially excited to try the salmon fillets, the israeli couscous salad, and the chicken curry. Thanks, peek!
Helpful - 0
548710 tn?1217973475
I am such a grain girl, and these recipes sound wonderful!!  Thanks once again for sharing these yummy recipes with us!
Helpful - 0
250155 tn?1485295939
it sounds like you make this just as easy as stove top...  except of course its healthy!  i'm always looking for ways to include spinach in my diet b/c quite frankly, i hate it!!!  so i think dh and i will try the spinach & onion recipe.  thanks!
Helpful - 0
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