I always keep a box of this TJ Whole Wheat Couscous in my pantry as it’s incredibly fast and easy to make staple, quicker to make than for example rice or even pasta. It’s versatile, healthy, and tasty. Couscous (“koos-koos”) is a pasta-like grain made from wheat that is a staple in the North African cuisines of Algeria and Morocco. It’s even part of Sicilian cuisine!

Couscous is generally made out of semolina wheat. Trader Joe’s sells this whole grain version made from whole durum semolina. The box says PRODUCT OF FRANCE (yeah baby!) The French love couscous. I have lived in Paris where they have couscous restaurants almost like we have pizza places as there are so many people of Algerian and Morrocan origin.

One of the reasons I love couscous, is it its so fast and easy to make. It is ready in 5 minutes. Here’s the basic method: Put a cup of water in a pot. Bring it to a boil. Add Salt and Butter (or olive oil) Dump in a cup of this couscous (1-1 ratio). Turn off the fire, cover the pot, and let it sit for five minutes, then fluff it up with a fork. Thats it, done!

You can use couscous as a side dish, as you would rice or pasta. It really soaks up sauces or stews. Use it as a “bed” for your Main and add a bit of sauce on top. It’s a great base for a “protein bowl”. You can do other things as well with it like serve it as a salad or make a super healthy couscous tabouli salad hot or cold. A box of Trader Joe’s French imported Whole Wheat Instant Couscous sells for only $1.99 for 500 grams, (a bit over a pound). This is an excellent product to always keep on hand in your pantry and tryHere are some links related to peruse.


Moroccan Couscous (Recipe)

Heres a fairly easy recipe for a Moroccan-style Couscous. Trader Joe’s sells their packaged brand of a whole-wheat “instant” couscous which is quite good, and could not be easier to make. The term “couscous” refers both to the dry, uncooked semolina pellets, and to the ready-to-eat dish of light, fluffy cooked grains topped by the marga.  The marga is the vegetable laden stew portion of a “couscous”. Chickpeas are one of the main ingredients in the marga. If I can, I generally start with dried chickpeas which like most beans need to be soaked overnight, and then cooked for an hour or two. In a pinch, canned chickpeas can be used too, and Trader Joe’s sells both regular canned as well as organic canned chickpeas (garbanzos). Chickpeas are a legume which are very healthy, and very high in protein, high in fiber, and to me, mighty tasty, probably my favorite of all beans or legumes. Of course they are the major component in hummus, which TJ’s sells tons of too. BTW I have a feeling if you used Trader Joe’s Indian “Spiced Chickpeas” which come in a foil pouch they might work great in this dish and give you a good deal of lovely spices that would work perfectly with this dish. Try it, experiment!

Moroccan Couscous

3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, sliced
3-4 stalks celery, sliced thick
3-6 big carrots, sliced thick
Chickpeas, dried or canned (use either 1/2 lb. dried chickpeas, soaked and cooked 1.5 hrs -or-
1 can Trader Joe’s Chick Peas (garbanzos) rinsed, drained
1-2 med. potatoes, diced
1-2 turnips, or daikon, peeled, cubed
2 zucchini or yellow squash, sliced thick (add during last 10 mins to not overcook)
1 lg (28oz) can tomatoes with basil
Stock (chicken or vegetable, fill empty 28oz can)
Cilantro, chopped
Parsley, chopped
Asstd Morocan spices (tumeric, cumin, coriander, ras el hanout, red pepper, pepper), or you can use Curry Powder, which has most of these. About 1tbs; Salt, Pepper
(optional) Raisins

Saute garlic and onion in olive oil, for 3-5 minutes. Add the vegetables and saute for five minutes, stiring occasionally. Add the tomatoes (break up with fingers), the liquid (stock), and the chick peas. Add the spices and salt. Simmer the “marga” for 30-40 mins on low-med heat. Taste for seasonings. When done, add a handful raisins (even some dried cranberries). Garnish with cilantro.

Couscous: prepare according to directions. Fluff. To plate, put down a bed of couscous and create a “hole” in the center. Add the stew to the center. Serve with Harissa, or hot sauce, or Sriracha

ADDITIONS: Serve with your protein of choice (roast chicken, lamb, or merguez sausage, or shrimp or fish) A Mixed Grill makes a “couscous royale”. Keeping it Vegetarian is fine too of course (You could try SOY CHORIZO and see if that is good in this)

If you want to know a lot more, here is some detailed background about authentic couscous.

Couscous also makes a good side dish or a subsitute for rice or another grain. Its great in salad, room temperature or cold, so excellent for summertime (and as you only need to boil water and turn off the pot, does not heat up a kitchen.

I keep a box of CousCous in my pantry at all times. One of the handiest things you can have.