Couscous Recipes: Why You Should Eat This High Protein, Versatile Pasta-ish Food
05/16/2012 | 02:47 PM
Since its auspicious beginnings as a traditional Berber dish, couscous recipes have become ever more imaginative. Today, it is used in sweet and savory recipes, or served as an entre or appetizer.
Couscous is a traditional Berber dish, indigenous to Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. However, as this healthy dish has become more popular in the United States, cooks have diversified their recipes. Want to be imaginative? Try Chocolate Cream Couscous Cake, Moroccan Couscous, Couscous Salad, or Tilapia baked in Couscous. Unleash the chef in you and explore the amazing possibilities of this nutritional dish.
Couscous is one of the healthiest, grain-based foods that people can eat. Couscous is similar to pasta; it is made of semolina, although it can also be made with barley or corn. It is mostly carbohydrate, with zero percent fat. Traditionally a Berber dish, couscous gives your diet an exotic flavor. There is even a famous Moroccan chicken salad that includes couscous as the main ingredient. Cooking couscous has many imaginative variations; this is why many cooks love couscous – because its unique texture and flavor make it versatile. Couscous is usually cooked just like rice; and is best when steamed or boiled. Another great fact about couscous is that you can store it in your freezer for up to three months and it will retain its taste and freshness.
Couscous recipe is full of nutrients that your body needs. Couscous is rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, selenium, potassium, magnesium, folate among others. With all these nutrients, it will strengthen your bones, muscles, and immune system. Eating couscous can also help improve your blood circulation. When planning a nutritious meal plan, couscous is a perfect example of carbohydrate-rich food, providing 12 % of your RDA in a single cup.
- Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for our bodies. Coucous is also rich in fiber, which promotes a healthy digestive system.
- Calories: Like carbohydrates, calories are also a source of energy for our bodies. A normal person requires approximately 2,000 calories to perform actively in everyday activities and couscous dishes can give you 170 - 180 calories per serving.
- Sodium: Sodium helps in balancing positive and negative ions in body tissues and fluids. This helps in preventing strokes and is good in stimulating muscle contraction.
- Protein: Protein helps repair and build tissues in your body. Protein plays a very important role in replacing dead cells in your body. Aside from that, it helps boosts your immune system. There are approximately 6 g of protein a single cup sized serving of couscous.
- Choline: Another important nutrient found in couscous is choline. It makes important contributions to your metabolism, brain, liver, and nerve functions. 1 cup of couscous contains 5.2mg of choline. The RDA for males of choline is 550mg for adult males and 450mg for women.
- Folate: Folate helps in the production of your red blood cells and it helps in preventing stroke and heart disease.
- Calcium: Calcium is very important for your bones and teeth, and it prevents osteoporosis. It keeps your skin healthy and it helps in lowering your blood pressure. Calcium also helps prevent insomnia and heart disease.
- Magnesium: Magnesium helps maintain normal blood pressure and prevents cardiovascular disease. Magnesium is also beneficial in treating people with diabetes, migraines, and depression.
- Potassium: Potassium is very important because it helps reduce stress, anxiety, by helping to regulate normal blood pressure, and promoting healthy brain function. One serving of couscous provides 76 mg potassium.
- Selenium: Selenium is a good anti-oxidant for the body because it helps fight cancer and it is necessary for a strong immune system. A 1-cup serving of couscous provides 43 mcg of selenium, or 61 percent of the 70 mcg FDA daily value.
Couscous is almost entirely carbohydrate, and too much of these can lead to weight gain, or feelings of sluggishness. Many traditional recipes call for couscous to be covered in butter; however this is a saturated fat, so replace with margarine or olive oil for the healthier version.
Couscous is not suitable for those who have a wheat or gluten allergy. However, you can buy gluten-free couscous if you are allergic.
There are many couscous dishes to be found on the internet. Here are some of the famous couscous dishes that are delicious and healthy:
- Cajun-Spiced Salmon with Vegetable Couscous
- Couscous with Chicken, Almonds, and Squash
- Couscous with Merguez Sausage
- Moroccan Meatballs with Herb Couscous
- Summer Couscous Salad
- Harissa Couscous
- Spiced Tomato and Couscous Soup
- Moroccan Fish with Couscous
Among the above examples of couscous recipes, you will hopefully find one that tickles the taste buds and is perfect for all the family. All of these dishes will provide nutrients that help boost the immune system and promote an active and fit lifestyle. The cajun-spiced salmon with vegetable couscous is a very healthy and delicious dish; if an appetizer is desired, summer couscous salad can be served.
Couscous is primarily carbohydrate, but it also contains significant amounts of other essential vitamins and minerals. A wheat based product, couscous is highly versatile, and can be combined with Middle Eastern, Cajun, North African, or French flavours.