5 Couscous Recipes To Try If You're Cutting Back On Rice

Move over rice, there's a new kid on the block in the realm of healthy grains, and its name is couscous! Couscous is a versatile grain that originates from North Africa, particularly Morocco. It is made from crushed durum wheat semolina, giving it a unique texture and mild nutty flavour. While couscous is traditionally used in Moroccan cuisine, it can also be an excellent substitute for rice in various dishes from salads to biryani, adding a delightful twist to your meals. 

Couscous brings a plethora of benefits to the table when compared to rice, making it a fantastic choice for a healthy diet. Firstly, couscous takes the crown in terms of cooking time. While rice can sometimes test our patience, couscous cooks up in a flash, saving us precious minutes in the kitchen. Its speedy preparation is a boon for those seeking convenience without compromising on taste and texture.

Moreover, couscous outshines rice in the nutrient department. Packed with vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, selenium, and magnesium, it offers a nutritional boost that can contribute to overall health and vitality. Additionally, it boasts a higher fibre content than white rice, promoting a healthy digestive system and providing a satisfying feeling of fullness. Couscous also proves to be a versatile ingredient, effortlessly adapting to various dishes and allowing for culinary creativity. 

Lastly, for those with gluten sensitivities, couscous offers gluten-free options that ensure everyone can enjoy its delicate flavour and delightful texture. With its quick cooking time, nutritional prowess, adaptability, and gluten-free alternatives, couscous proves to be a champion grain that effortlessly outshines rice in the quest for a healthy and delicious diet.

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Here are five ideas for dishes where couscous can be used as a substitute for rice

Couscous Stir-Fry: Use couscous instead of rice in a stir-fry for a lighter and quicker meal. Sauté your favourite vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and snap peas, along with proteins like chicken, shrimp, or tofu. Cook the couscous separately, then add it to the stir-fry and mix well with soy sauce or any desired seasonings.

Couscous Stuffed Peppers: Instead of using rice to stuff bell peppers, try couscous for a delightful twist. Prepare the couscous according to the package instructions and let it cool. In the meantime, hollow out bell peppers and lightly roast them. Mix the cooled couscous with diced vegetables, herbs, and spices of your choice, then stuff the mixture into the peppers. Bake until the peppers are tender and the couscous is heated through.

Couscous Biryani: Biryani is a popular Indian rice dish, but you can give it a unique twist by using couscous instead. Cook the couscous separately, then sauté onions, garlic, ginger, and spices like cumin, coriander, and turmeric in a pan. Add cooked vegetables, such as peas, carrots, and potatoes, along with protein like chicken or paneer. Mix in the cooked couscous, garnish with fresh cilantro, and serve hot.

Couscous Upma: Upma is a popular South Indian breakfast dish made with semolina or rice. Replace rice with couscous to make a delicious couscous upma. Sauté mustard seeds, curry leaves, onions, and green chillies in oil. Add chopped vegetables like peas, carrots, and bell peppers. Mix in cooked couscous, season with salt and spices like turmeric and coriander, and cook until well combined.

Couscous Pongal: Pongal is a traditional South Indian dish made with rice and lentils. Give it a twist by using couscous instead. Cook the couscous with lentils until soft and mushy. In a separate pan, temper mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and black peppercorns. Add the cooked couscous and lentils to the pan, along with ghee or clarified butter. Mix well and serve hot.