Couscous Salad
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Mediterranean-Style Couscous Salad

5.0 from 2 votes

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Embark on a culinary journey with this healthy and vibrant Mediterranean-Style Couscous Salad. Perfect for a light lunch or as a side dish, this recipe is not only delicious but also packed with nutrients.

Couscous, a staple in North African cuisine, is a wonderful source of carbohydrates and pairs beautifully with a variety of vegetables and herbs. This dish is also versatile, allowing you to add or substitute ingredients based on your preferences or dietary needs.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

  • Calories: 250
  • Protein: 8g
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Fiber: 6g
  • Fat: 4g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 300mg

Ingredients List:

  • 1 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Optional: 1/4 cup olives, sliced

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Couscous: In a large bowl, add the whole wheat couscous. Pour the boiling water over the couscous, cover the bowl with a lid or a plate, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork.
  2. Chop the Vegetables: While the couscous is sitting, dice the cucumber, bell pepper, and red onion. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Chop the parsley and mint.
  3. Combine Ingredients: Add the chopped vegetables, parsley, mint, and optional ingredients (if using) such as feta cheese and olives to the couscous.
  4. Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour this dressing over the couscous salad and mix well to combine.
  5. Let it Marinate: Let the salad sit for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. You can also refrigerate it for 1-2 hours for an enhanced taste.
  6. Final Touch: Give the salad a final stir and adjust seasoning if necessary before serving.

Mediterranean-Style Couscous Salad

Recipe by Dr. Hailee
5.0 from 2 votes
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Total time

20

minutes

This healthy and vibrant Mediterranean-Style Couscous Salad is perfect for a light lunch or as a side dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup 1 whole wheat couscous

  • 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 boiling water

  • 1 1 cucumber, diced

  • 1 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 red onion, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 fresh mint, chopped

  • 1 1 lemon, juiced

  • 2 tablespoons 2 extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Optional: 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

  • Optional: 1/4 cup olives, sliced

Directions

  • Prepare the Couscous: In a large bowl, add the whole wheat couscous. Pour the boiling water over the couscous, cover the bowl with a lid or a plate, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Fluff the couscous with a fork.
  • Chop the Vegetables: While the couscous is sitting, dice the cucumber, bell pepper, and red onion. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Chop the parsley and mint.
  • Combine Ingredients: Add the chopped vegetables, parsley, mint, and optional ingredients (if using) such as feta cheese and olives to the couscous.
  • Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour this dressing over the couscous salad and mix well to combine.
  • Let it Marinate: Let the salad sit for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. You can also refrigerate it for 1-2 hours for an enhanced taste.
  • Final Touch: Give the salad a final stir and adjust seasoning if necessary before serving.

Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size: 1g
  • Total number of serves: 4
  • Calories: 250kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Protein: 9g
  • Fat: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 300mg
  • Fiber: 8g

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Makes Couscous So Healthy?

Couscous, often associated with North African cuisines, is a healthy food option for several reasons:

  • Whole Grains: Traditional couscous is made from semolina wheat and provides the benefits of whole grains (especially if you choose whole wheat couscous). Whole grains are important for digestive health and are a good source of fiber, which helps in maintaining a healthy gut and can aid in weight management.
  • Protein Content: Couscous contains a modest amount of protein, which is vital for building and repairing tissues, making enzymes and hormones, and maintaining muscle mass.
  • Low Fat: Couscous is naturally low in fat, making it a heart-healthy choice. This is particularly beneficial for those looking to manage their cholesterol levels or maintain a healthy weight.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: It is a good source of several essential vitamins and minerals. These include selenium, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage, and B vitamins, which are crucial for energy production and maintaining healthy brain function.
  • Quick Digestion and Low Glycemic Index: Couscous is relatively easy to digest and has a low glycemic index, especially if you opt for the whole wheat variety. This means it can be a good carbohydrate choice for people with diabetes or those trying to manage their blood sugar levels.
  • Versatility: One of the health benefits of couscous comes from how it is served. It often accompanies a variety of vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats, which can make for a balanced and nutritious meal.

However, it’s worth noting that couscous is a form of pasta and is high in carbohydrates. Portion control is important, especially for those who are monitoring their carbohydrate intake.

For those with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, couscous made from semolina wheat would not be a suitable choice due to its gluten content.

Is couscous more fattening than rice?

From my understanding, couscous and rice, particularly white rice, have similar calorie contents and are not particularly fattening in moderate portions. Couscous, which is made from semolina wheat, has slightly more protein and a marginally higher calorie count compared to white rice, but the difference is not significant enough to label it as more fattening.

Both are sources of carbohydrates and can be part of a balanced diet. The key is in the portion size and what you serve them with. Whole grain versions of both, like whole wheat couscous and brown rice, have more fiber and nutrients compared to their refined counterparts. They can be more filling and may help with better weight management.

Therefore, whether one is more fattening than the other can depend on the specific types of couscous and rice and the overall context of your diet.

Is couscous good for belly fat loss?

Couscous, particularly the whole grain variety, can be a part of a diet aimed at belly fat loss due to its fiber content, which can help you feel full and satisfied for longer periods. However, no single food alone is a magic solution for losing belly fat.

Weight loss, including the reduction of belly fat, generally occurs when you consume fewer calories than you burn. Including couscous as part of a balanced diet, rich in whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats, can contribute to overall weight loss if it helps you maintain a calorie deficit.

Additionally, whole grains like whole wheat couscous have a lower glycemic index compared to refined grains, which can aid in better blood sugar control and may help in managing weight.

So, while couscous itself isn’t specifically targeting belly fat, it can be a nutritious component of a balanced, calorie-controlled diet that supports weight loss goals.

Helpful Resources

The Wrap-Up:

This Mediterranean-Style Couscous Salad is a testament to the beauty of simple, fresh ingredients coming together to create a dish that’s both satisfying and healthy.

It’s perfect for picnics, potlucks, or as a nutritious addition to your meal prep routine. Enjoy it as is, or pair it with grilled chicken or fish for added protein. Bon appétit!

5.0 from 2 votes

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