Couscous is cheap, healthy and very easy to make. This recipe is a delicious, hassle-free main/side dish that can be made within 20 minutes. A great idea for hot summer day. This salad is packed full of fibre including sweet peppers, raisins, chickpeas and nuts – amazing flavours that all work really well together.
What is Couscous?
Couscous is a staple food that comes from North Africa. Couscous is a coarsely ground pasta made from semolina (durum wheat flour – the same flour that pasta is made with).
In a servings of whole wheat couscous (1/2 cup cooked) provides 78 kcal, 17 grams of carbohydrate, 3.3 grams of protein and 2.2 grams of fibre.
You can buy whole wheat couscous or white couscous. Couscous can be purchased in bulk or in boxes in the grocery store. If buying couscous in bulk, check that the bins are covered and that the store has a good turnover rate to ensure freshness. If you are buying packaged couscous, be sure to get whole wheat or whole grain. It is much higher in fibre and healthier.
Whole wheat couscous should be refrigerated to prevent the natural fats in the grain from turning rancid. It can also be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark, dry place where they will keep for up to 6 months.
Due to the size, couscous can be cooked simply by soaking in boiling water, while pasta takes longer to cook. Add boiling water in a one to one ratio, cover and let stand for 5-10 minutes while the grain absorb the liquid. Couscous doubles in volume when it’s prepared.
Go with whole wheat couscous as it has more nutritional value. However, the overall nutrition of your meal will depend on what you put on top of your couscous. Couscous does not have a lot of flavour on its own, but it works well as a base for vegetables or meat dishes. It also mixes beautifully into salads and can be flavoured with herbs like basil, mint, or even with fruit like raisins or apricots. It is a very neutral and nutritious.
- 1 cup whole wheat couscous
- ½ cup golden raisins
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup finely chopped sweet peppers
- ½ cup green onions (optional)
- ½ cup chopped almonds/walnuts or pistachio nuts
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water to boil, whisk together cinnamon, allspice and turmeric.
- Add the couscous and raisins in a slow steady stream, stirring constantly, and continue to boil, stirring for 1 minute.
- Cover the pot tightly, remove from the heat and let stand until absorbed, about 5 minutes.
- Fluff with fork. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and let cool.
- Mix chickpeas, red pepper, green onions, pistachios, red wine vinegar and mint. Add to couscous.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss with fork to combine.
- Make ahead - cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.