Couscous is a pasta made with semolina flour from durum wheat, mixed with water. Durum wheat is a hard wheat grown in arid regions such as the Middle East and Northern Africa. Semolina is the hard grain left after the milling of flour.
Couscous is mostly carbohydrate and is a medium food in terms of glycemic index (GI). GI refers to how fast carbohydrates are absorbed into the bloodstream. It does contain gluten and for that reason is not suitable for many people with a gluten intolerance or coeliac disease. So why then does it make it into the JAND diet?
Couscous is really easy to cook. It contains macronutrients and micronutrients, and is suitable for some people with a gluten sensitivity.
While couscous does contain gluten, and I’ve been a proponent of a gluten free diet for everyone (even those without an intolerance), I also believe it may be important to continue eating gluten sporadically if you are not intolerant. In fact, many people with a sensitivity (not an intolerance), can in fact eat couscous.
I’ve seen people who are not sensitive or intolerant to gluten become sensitive by eliminating it from their diet. It’s for this reason that I believe if you don’t have an intolerance, and want to continue being able to eat food containing gluten, that you continue to consume it in small quantities.
Couscous can be a good carbohydrate to consume as it also contains a good level of protein and fibre (two macronutrients that help you to feel fuller for longer), as well as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc.
Couscous is really easy to cook. Traditionally it is steamed on top of a pot containing meat and vegetables as part of a stew. However, in Western society it can be purchased from the shop, and in those cases, it has already been steamed. Therefore, all you need to do is pour hot water over it and let it sit.
How to Cook Couscous
For every part couscous, add 1.5 parts boiling water and let sit. That's it!
For example, boil a jug of water. Add 1 cup of couscous to a saucepan and pour 1.5 cups of boiling water over the top. Place lid on the saucepan and let sit for approximately 5 minutes, or until the couscous absorbs the water and becomes light and fluffy.
The best way to eat couscous is mixed in with a salad, in stews, or topped with roasted veggies and meat if you choose.
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