Learn how to cook couscous with perfect results every time with tips on how to give it extra flavor. This versatile dish is ready in just 10 minutes and perfect for use in soups, stews, salads, as a side, or even as a breakfast meal!
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A 10-Minute Simple Side!
It’s much faster than most other side dishes and because it’s so versatile it can be paired with all kinds of different proteins. In fact, many people enjoy it in ways that range from breakfast porridge to lunchtime salads and to bulk-up vegetarian dishes. I love it in this Mediterranean couscous salad!
You’re going to love just how easy and convenient it is to learn how to cook couscous. As with most pasta or grains, as a stand-alone ingredient, it can be pretty bland. So, I’m going to show you how to jazz it up with some added flavor!
What is Couscous?
It looks like a grain doesn’t it? Would you be shocked if I told you it’s actually a type of pasta? It’s made from little bits of durum wheat which is what traditional pasta is made from!
Originating in North Africa, couscous has now made its way into the homes of people all across the globe. It has become very popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes too.
The traditional North African way of cooking couscous is a longer process containing some extra steps. Here in North America, we use a more processed version (instant) which gives us a leg up on saving time!
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Chicken broth: This is the liquid I use to steam the couscous. I find it adds a ton of flavor, but you can use vegetable broth or water if preferred.
- Salted butter: Adds a buttery flavor but also helps to keep the couscous nice and fluffy.
- Salt: Don’t be afraid to add a little extra if needed, especially if you choose to use unsalted butter.
- Couscous: This tiny pasta is available in most grocery stores. It’ll most likely be in the pasta or rice, and grain section unless they have it in the “international” aisle.
- Chopped parsley: Fresh herbs are always a great way to liven it up!
- Lemon: An optional flavor addition to adding a bit of zip and zest to every bite.
Lemon and Herb Garlic Couscous
Heat 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan and saute the garlic until fragrant. Continue with the directions as listed and add 2-3 Tablespoons of lemon juice once it is done cooking. Do this just before fluffing. Finish with 2-3 Tablespoons of chopped parsley. Stir to combine.
Types of Couscous
Most, if not all couscous, comes from durum wheat, however, there are several varieties to choose from.
For instance, Moroccan couscous is the smallest type which means it cooks the fastest. Golden couscous is more widely used for breakfast because of how high in protein it is along with the nutty taste and fluffy texture.
Pearl couscous, aka Israeli couscous, is a bit larger and great in salads and dishes where you want the couscous to absorb all of the delicious surrounding flavors. Made from semolina flour, it comes in a traditional or whole wheat couscous variety.
A few more include tri-color and Lebanese couscous which is the largest type of couscous there is.
So, despite its simplicity, this humble ingredient sure does have a lot to offer!
How to Cook Couscous
- Bring the liquid to a boil. In a medium saucepan that has a tight-fitting lid to match, bring the broth, butter, and salt to a boil over medium heat.
- Add the couscous. Stir in the couscous. Cover tightly with the lid and remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Sit and steam. Allow it to sit and steam for 5 minutes. Leave it alone, do not take a peek.
- Fluff, flavor, and serve. Once the 5 minutes is up, open the lid and use a fork to fluff up the couscous and break up any lumps. To add extra flavor, stir in the parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
Couscous Serving Ideas
There are so many ways to use this couscous recipe. Here are just a few ways to include more of it in your life:
Technically yes. It looks like a grain and even acts like a grain, but it’s made from durum wheat which is what pasta is also made from.
No, it’s not as it’s made from wheat.
Stick to the 1:1 ratio for the best results. For every 1 cup of couscous, you’ll need 1 cup of liquid.
Keep leftovers stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Transfer it to a freezer-safe container if you want to freeze it. It will keep frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat it in the microwave.
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- 1 cup chicken broth , see notes
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter
- ½ teaspoon salt , more to taste
- 1 cup couscous
- finely chopped parsley , optional
- 1 lemon , optional
- In a medium saucepan, bring the broth, butter, and salt to a boil over medium heat.
- Stir in the couscous, cover tightly with a lid, and remove from heat.
- Steam 5 minutes. Using a fork, fluff the couscous and break up any clumps. Stir in parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice, if desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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