These small pearls of pasta can be more than just a side dish
Couscous is a dish that’s appreciated worldwide. Many arguments are made for the true origins of couscous; however, it’s commonly associated with Moroccan and North African cuisine, according to Dari, the house of couscous. Regular couscous is made from semolina wheat that’s found in other pantry items like pasta and breakfast cereals. In the US we are most familiar with pre-cooked or instant couscous found at the grocery store. These steamed granules have a spongey texture after being cooked. Much like quinoa, couscous can be used as the main starch in a meal or as a complementary side dish.
Originally, the process of making couscous began with, “rubbing and rolling together large grains of hard wheat semolina with finer grains of semolina sprayed with salted water to raise the humidity of the semolina so the two sizes affix to each other to form couscous, the large grain serving as a kind of nucleus for the smaller grains,” according to cookbook author Clifford A. Wright.
Today, the most commonly practiced preparation is relatively simple with few ingredients needed. Purchasing an instant package of couscous from the store instructs you to bring one cup of water to a boil then stir in one cup of dry couscous. Cover the pot and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, until all the water is absorbed. To create the airy texture, fluff the couscous with a fork once it’s cooked. Adding a splash of olive oil and some cracked pepper gives the couscous some fresh flavor.
One cup of couscous contains 36 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of protein, 91 milligrams of potassium, and 35 milligrams of phosphorus, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database.
One of the great things about couscous is its ability to hold as much flavor as you want to add. You can also refrigerate the leftover couscous and toss it in a salad the next day.
My new favorite way to prepare couscous:
- Cook the couscous
- Throw in a splash of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a dash of cracked pepper.
- Then add half an avocado, chopped cucumbers, sliced cherry tomatoes, some diced red onion, crumbles of feta cheese, and a handful of arugula.
- Mix all of the ingredients together and serve chilled on a hot day!
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