Couscous: how healthy is it?

Couscous is a popular dish, especially in summer. It is extremely versatile – as part of a salad, as a savory accompaniment to meat or vegetables, but also as a sweet version with fruit or cinnamon, couscous scores points. But what exactly is couscous and how should you prepare it? Is couscous healthy and how many calories does it have? We answer these and other questions below and also present two delicious recipes with couscous.

What is couscous?

Couscous originated in North Africa. Especially in Morocco it is an integral part of the kitchen and is particularly popular there with the stew tagine.

Strictly speaking, couscous is a type of semolina. This is moistened with salted water and formed into balls, which are then crushed into small lumps. These are then boiled (or steamed over boiling water) and dried – the couscous is ready.
As a rule, the semolina that is processed into couscous is made from durum wheat. But other types of grain, such as millet or  barley , can also be used.

A special form of couscous is the so-called pearl couscous. With this, the individual couscous lumps are spherical and slightly larger (about the size of a pea) than with “normal” couscous.

Nutritional Values: Is Couscous Healthy?

Couscous consists of grain and therefore has a high proportion of starch and fiber. As a result, couscous stimulates digestion, prevents  constipation  and at the same time keeps you full for a long time. Wholemeal couscous is particularly rich in fiber.

Unfortunately, since couscous is cooked, some healthy ingredients are lost during preparation.

However, 100 grams of cooked couscous also contain:

Potassium is needed in the body primarily for the transmission of electrical impulses to nerves and muscles and is therefore essential for their function. Magnesium and calcium are also important for bones and muscle function.

Phosphorus has a positive effect on the body’s acid-base balance and is used to build cell walls, bones and teeth. Vitamin E protects the cells from oxidative stress and vitamin B6 plays an important role in metabolic processes.

How many calories does couscous have?

Cooked couscous contains around 145 kilocalories (kcal) or 607 kilojoules per 100 grams. Therefore, couscous is not suitable for losing weight. If you want to watch your weight, you should avoid couscous or only combine it with light side dishes such as vegetables or chicken.

 Couscous is  also not the right food for a  low-carb diet : 100 grams of dried couscous contain around 70 grams of carbohydrates .

Is couscous gluten free?

Couscous is made from grain. Durum wheat is usually used for this. Couscous therefore contains gluten and is not recommended if you have an intolerance to the gluten protein.

An exception is couscous, which is made from millet. This cereal does not contain gluten.

Cooking couscous: sweet or savory

In North Africa, a special pot is traditionally used to prepare couscous: the so-called couscousière. This is a combination of cooking attachment and pot, in which the couscous can be steamed and side dishes such as vegetables, meat or fish can be cooked at the same time.

In Europe you can usually buy pre-cooked couscous. The preparation of couscous is then quite uncomplicated: Simply pour hot water over any amount of couscous. The ratio of couscous to water should be 1:1 – i.e. 50 grams of couscous are poured over 50 milliliters of water. Then you should let the couscous swell for a few minutes – until the semolina has absorbed the water. You calculate about 50 to 80 grams of couscous per person, depending on whether it is to form the main part of the dish or is more of a side dish.

Then you can season the couscous with  salt  and pepper or refine it with herbs. If you want, you can stir in some butter or olive oil for a more intense  taste  .

Couscous also tastes sweet: hot milk is often   used instead of water to pour over the balls. After swelling, simply season with a little sugar or  honey  . Fruit or cinnamon, for example, taste good with this.

Recipes with couscous

Couscous can be prepared in many ways. Whether as a salad, as an accompaniment to meat or vegetables, or as a dessert – the semolina can convince in many ways.
Below you will find a recipe for savory and one for sweet couscous.

Couscous salad with watermelon and cucumber

For the couscous salad you need the following ingredients (for four servings):

  • 120 Gramm Couscous
  • 2 When eating salad
  • 400 grams of Greek  yogurt
  • 4 small cloves of garlic
  • 800 grams  of watermelon
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt pepper
  • Mint leaves

Prepare the couscous according to package directions and allow to cool slightly. Then fluff it up with a fork and add salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice.

Roughly grate the peeled  cucumbers  . Mix the cucumber with the yogurt, the crushed mint leaves and the crushed garlic cloves.

Cut the watermelon into bite-sized cubes and mix with the remaining ingredients.

Sweet couscous with cinnamon and cherries

For the sweet couscous you need the following ingredients (for two servings):

  • 80 Gramm Couscous
  • 160 milliliters of water
  • 2 teaspoons agave syrup or honey
  • 2 pinches of cinnamon
  • 160 ml milk
  • 4 tablespoons low-fat quark
  • 300 g cherries (from the jar)

Boil the milk and water together with the agave syrup or honey and the cinnamon in a small saucepan. Then let the couscous swell in the still hot liquid. Stir in the low-fat quark and serve the sweet couscous still warm with cherries.

You should stone them beforehand. Alternatively, you can use jarred cherries that have already been pitted. However, these are often sweetened.

Can you freeze couscous?

Couscous freezes easily before or after swelling. The couscous should be well chilled before freezing. A freezer bag is suitable for freezing couscous, but other containers such as a lunch box are also suitable.

Stored dry and cool, couscous can be kept for about six months in a well-closed storage container before preparation. After that, the fat contained in the grain can become rancid. Cooked couscous will keep in the fridge for about two to three days. If it is mixed with other ingredients, such as feta or meat, the shelf life can be shortened.

buy couscous

You can now buy couscous almost everywhere – whether in the supermarket, online mail order, in the delicatessen or at the market. Couscous is often sold already seasoned or seasoned with herbs, for example in the form of couscous salad with feta.

Pearl couscous is often found commercially under the Arabic name “Moghrabieh”.

What is the difference between bulgur and couscous?

 The main difference between bulgur and couscous is how it is made. Bulgur is also mostly made from durum wheat. While with couscous the grain is first   ground into semolina and then wetted with salt water, with bulgur the mass of whole grains is soaked and then steamed. The grains are then crushed into different sizes.

Bulgur is prepared more gently and contains a little more vitamins than couscous. In addition, the taste is a little stronger than that of couscous.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *