How to Make Perfect Couscous on the Stove

Couscous is one of those foods that many people like, but find a little intimidating, or at least perplexing, to prepare.  And that’s too bad, because it couldn’t be easier.  If you can boil water, and add couscous, and cover it with a lid….whyyy, then you can make couscous.

What is Couscous?

Couscous is often lumped in with the grain family, but in fact it’s a pasta, a tiny pasta made of crushed semolina wheat.  There is also Israeli couscous (also called Mediterranean or Pearl couscous) which is fantastic, but here we’re focusing on the teeny tiny couscous most commonly available.

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The couscous we most often find is marketed as commercially made, and pre-steamed and dried.

And while couscous is a staple of North African and Middle Eastern cooking (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Israel and more), often served as a base for vegetables, you can think about it much the way you think of rice.  Simple but nicely nutty and cozy, perfect as a companion to almost everything, ideal for soaking up sauce.  Cooled couscous can star in grain salads, it can be added to soups and stews for body.  

How to Make Perfect Couscous on the Stove: Everything you need to know to prepare this easy and versatile side dish.

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Is Couscous Gluten-Free?

Couscous is not gluten-free! It is made from semolina wheat, so while it looks like a grain, it’s not, do not be fooled into thinking it’s a gluten-free food.

Is Couscous Pasta?

While couscous is made from crushed durum wheat semolinas, it is only sort of a pasta, since the wheat isn’t milled like the wheat used in traditional Italian or Asian pastas. Also, it is parcooked, and needs to be steamed, not boiled, as most pastas do (if you box says to boil the pasta, ignore that!)

Is Couscous Healthy?

Couscous is healthier than traditional pasta, which contains more processed wheat. It’s also available in whose wheat versions, which add another layers of nutritional benefits. Brown rice has more nutrients than couscous, but whole wheat couscous has nice fiber, and some good vitamins and minerals within.

How to Make Perfect Couscous on the Stove

How to How to Cook Couscous on the Stove:

Heat the water in a small pot over high heat until it boils.  

Add the olive oil and salt.

How to Make Perfect Couscous on the Stove

Stir in the couscous, and cover.  

How to Make Perfect Couscous on the Stove

Turn off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed.  Use a fork to fluff the couscous.  Don’t let the couscous sit for more than 20 minutes without fluffing it or it might clump up.  You can fluff it and then recover it in the pot to keep it warm.

How to Make Perfect Couscous on the Stove

What to Serve with Couscous:

Other How to Cook Simple Side Dish Recipes:

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How to Make Perfect Couscous on the Stove

Everything you need to know to prepare this easy and versatile side dish.
Yield: 4 People
Prep Time 2 minutes
Resting Times 10 minutes
Total Time 12 minutes

Ingredients

Directions

  • Heat the water in a small pot over high heat until it boils. Add the olive oil and salt, stir in the couscous, and cover. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed. Use a fork to fluff the couscous. Don’t let the couscous sit for more than 20 minutes without fluffing it or it might clump up. You can fluff it and then recover it in the pot to keep it warm.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 299mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

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