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Couscous is new to many of us, but it has been standard fare for families in Africa and the Middle East. It looks like a grain, but it's actually a pasta made from semolina flour, which is a product of durum wheat. It's sodium free and fat free. Though it has carbs, it makes a nice side dish, especially when combined with vegetables or fruit.

The first recipe is for basic couscous, which will show how easy it is to prepare, then more recipes follow to show many great variations.

Basic Couscous


  • 1 1/2 cups stock or water
  • Salt to season
  • 1 cup couscous

In saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil; stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Makes 3 cups, or 4 servings.

Dried Cherry Couscous


  • 10 ounce dry couscous
  • chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, diced or shredded
  • 2 red, green or yellow bell pepper--or mixture
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 pound dried cherries
  • salt and pepper to season

Prepare the couscous according to package directions but substitute chicken stock for the water. Sauté the carrots, peppers and green onions in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Toss lightly with the cooked couscous, dried cherries, salt and pepper. Serve with roast turkey or chicken. Serves 4.

Couscous with Herbs


  • 1 cup dry couscous
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red or green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. each fresh minced oregano and basil
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt, pepper, to taste
  • optional: 1/4 cup green olives, chopped

In a large casserole dish combine the couscous and water then cover and allow it to stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool until just warm. Mix remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. Serves 6.

Breakfast Couscous


  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup dry couscous
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple juice, frozen concentrate
  • 1 dash cinnamon

Combine all of the ingredients in a 1-qt. microwaveable casserole dish. Cover and microwave on high until liquid is absorbed and the couscous is tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 1 minute more.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Apple Couscous

From: Vegetarian Gourmet- Winter, 1995


  • 1 cup dry couscous
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup prunes, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dried apples
  • 1/4 cup, apple juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 4 each acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped, optional

Place couscous in a small mixing bowl. Set aside. Bring apple juice to a boil in a small saucepan and pour over the couscous. Cover and set aside until the juice is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Stir in the fruit, apple juice concentrate, cardamom and maple syrup. Set aside. Steam squash halves until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and place on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees. Fill squash halves with the couscous mixture and bake for 20 minutes. Top with pecans and serve. (Notes-you can bake the squash halves until just tender also.)


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