Couscous, a small but mighty grain, has been a staple in North African cuisine for centuries. This versatile ingredient, known for its quick cooking time and fluffy texture, offers a glimpse into a rich culinary tradition while providing a healthy addition to the modern diet.

Nutrition Facts:

Serving Size: A 1-cup serving of cooked couscous (approximately 157 grams)

  • Calories: 176 kcal
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Fats: 0.25 g
  • Selenium: 43.2 mcg (61% of the DV)
  • Manganese: 0.2 mg (13% of the DV)

Though not a complete protein source, couscous is a good carbohydrate source that provides essential nutrients, including selenium.

Origin of Couscous:

Couscous is believed to have originated in North Africa, particularly in the Maghreb region, which includes modern-day Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. It has been a dietary staple since the 7th century AD, integral to traditional dishes and celebrations.

Where to Buy Couscous:

Couscous can be readily found in supermarkets worldwide, typically in the grain aisle or the international foods section. It is available in various forms, including whole wheat and refined, catering to diverse dietary preferences.

Foods Made With Couscous:

Couscous is celebrated for its adaptability in both savory and sweet dishes:

  • Tagines: Slow-cooked stews with meat, vegetables, and spices served over couscous.
  • Salads: Light and refreshing, often mixed with herbs, citrus, and vegetables.
  • Side Dishes: Flavored with spices or cooked in broth for added taste.

Flavor Profile:

Couscous has a mild, slightly nutty flavor, making it an excellent backdrop for stronger spices and ingredients used in North African and Mediterranean cooking.

Health Benefits:

  • Rich in Selenium: Supports thyroid function and acts as an antioxidant.
  • Good Energy Source: Provides carbohydrates for energy without being overly calorie-dense.
  • Dietary Fiber: Although not as high as whole grains, it contributes to digestive health.


Couscous offers a delightful exploration into North African cuisine, with nutritional benefits that complement its culinary versatility. Whether used in traditional dishes or as a base for creative culinary experiments, couscous stands out as a grain that brings cultures and tastes together on the dining table.