What is couscous (cous cous), benefits, how to cook it and recipes

The couscous, or couscous, consists of a traditional berber dish, which comes from the words seksū or kseksū, which means "redondito" or "bien redondo", a name that is an excellent and wonderful indicative of the main characteristics of this delicious food: its shape.

On its origin and history we must go back to an anonymous writing that dates from the XIII century, titled Kitāb al-taṭbīj fī l-Magrib wa-l-Andalus (Book of the kitchen in the Mágreb and Al-Ándalus), in which a recipe is mentioned to elaborate this popular dish, very appreciated in Al-Ándalus and among the Moorish population during the following centuries, as evidenced by different writings of the time.

What is couscous (cous cous) and what does it consist of?

Couscous consists of a traditional Berber dish that is made from hard wheat semolina, which after cooking has an average size of just one millimeter in diameter. It is traditionally made with semolina corresponding to the hard part of the milled wheat, but which has not been converted into flour.

These ground grains are cooked, during which process they tend to swell up to increase their diameter and acquire, therefore, their characteristic shape and appearance.

Its origin is mostly Moroccan. In fact, couscous is ultimately the basis of food for many peoples of North Africa. However, today it is possible to find it as an extremely common ingredient in other cuisines from other parts of the world.

The benefits of couscous

Taking into account the different nutritional qualities provided by couscous, we can also mention its most important properties:

  • Very energetic food: for its content in carbohydrates, especially starch, and vitamin B1 it becomes a food that provides energy, ideal for athletes and for those who require an extra contribution of energy (for example, for students).
  • Ideal for people with diabetes: Couscous is rich in complex carbohydrates, which pass into the blood slowly. Therefore it is a useful food in the diet of people with diabetes.
  • Helps prevent or treat constipation: either in case of mild constipation or without it has yet appeared, the truth is that it becomes an ideal food, thanks to its fiber content. It is useful and adequate to regulate intestinal transit in a completely natural way.
  • Rich in healthy fatty acids: it is an ideal food to take care of our cardiovascular system, thanks to its content of linoleic and oleic fatty acids.

As we see, it is a natural as well as healthy food, ideal to include in our daily diet, which also combines perfectly with vegetables and salads. Of course, remember that it is a food rich in gluten, not recommended for celiacs.

Nutritional properties of couscous

From a nutritional point of view, the truth is that Couscous is a very nutritious food, thanks to the fact that it contributes a large amount of carbohydrates, especially starch. Therefore, it is an ideal food to provide energy to our body, which passes into the blood slowly, gradually, so it becomes a very interesting food for people with diabetes and for athletes.

It also contributes proteins, especially in the form of gluten, hence is not a suitable food for people with celiac. Further, it is a very low fat food, while most of its fat content is in the form of linoleic essential fatty acid, in addition to oleic acid (healthy fats, as you surely know).

It provides interesting amounts of fiber, essential when it comes to preventing constipation and regulating intestinal transit.

He is very rich in Group B vitamins, among which we can mention vitamin B1 or thiamine, which in combination with carbohydrates make it a highly energetic food, given that the different enzymes involved in the assimilation of glucose need it. It also contains Vitamin E, a recognized natural antioxidant.

Among its mineral content we can mention the following: calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium.

How to cook couscous

To do it basic recipe for couscous you only need 1 cup of couscous, 2 and a half cups of water and a pinch of salt.

First put the couscous in a saucepan with a diffuser for 2 and a half cups of water, and bring to a boil. When the water reaches this point add the salt and pour in couscous, leaving to cook for 20 minutes.

After this time turn off the heat and let the couscous stand for 5 minutes. Then, with the help of a fork, separate the grains.Ready! You can accompany it with cooked vegetables or salad. Simply delicious

Trick!:If you add a spoonful of olive oil to the couscous, it will be much looser and will give it a delicious flavor.

Some delicious recipes with couscous

Couscous with pumpkin and carrot

This recipe for couscous is a wonderful and very light option, which can be eaten cold or hot depending on whether or not we are away from home. For example, it is an ideal option to take us to the countryside or to the beach, very nutritious and exquisite.


  • 1 carrot
  • 70 g of pumpkin
  • 70 gr of couscous semolina
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1/2 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Black pepper

How to make couscous with pumpkin and carrot:

  1. First we are going to put the oil in a saucepan or casserole, and while it is heated, finely chop the onion and garlic, and add them to the hot oil. Cover the casserole and let the contents burn over a low heat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, peel the carrot and cut it into cubes, add it to the casserole, cover it and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. It is very important that you constantly stir so that the vegetables do not stick. Then, once prepared, drain the vegetables well.
  2. Now is the time to cook the couscous. To do this, follow the steps that we have indicated in the previous process.
  3. Ready! Once cooked the couscous you just have to serve it, mix with the vegetables and sprinkle some black pepper on top.

Cold couscous salad

Do you plan to go to the pool or the beach and do not know what you are going to eat? There is no doubt that it is the best time to enjoy fresh and light dishes, such as the couscous salad that we propose on this occasion. Do you dare to prepare it ?.


  • 250 gr of couscous
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 handful of sweet corn
  • 1 glass of water
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • Optional: if you like them you can also accompany them with aubergines and leaves of mint or arugula.

How to make cold couscous salad:

First of all let's wash the tomatoes and the pepper well. Then cut them into small squares and put them in a large clean bowl. Season to taste and add a little lemon juice, mixing everything well. Reserve in the fridge while cooking the couscous.

Once the couscous is cooked, add it in bowls, include the fresh vegetables, the corn, and that's it! You can already enjoy it. This article is published for informational purposes only. You can not and should not replace the consultation with a Nutritionist. We advise you to consult your trusted Nutritionist. ThemesCereal Foods

Health benefits of couscous (November 2022)