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Couscous vs Quinoa: Which One is Better?

Couscous vs quinoa, two powerful foods that can hold their own as part of any meal.
couscous vs quinoa

Couscous vs quinoa, two powerful foods that can hold their own as part of any meal.

These accompaniments to many foods couldn’t be more different in their make up.   

I actually like both these foods very much as a great alternative to rice.

Couscous originated in North Africa, while quinoa was harvested a world away in South America.

I remember fondly visiting a Morracan restaurant once while in Dubai.

It was the best Morrocan food I have had, with its lovely sweetness, and spice.

It is such a unique cuisine and along with it comes the very unique and delicious couscous.

Which works very well to soak up the stews of Morocco.

I believe the favorite of the two for me is the quinoa.

Not only is it a superfood, but it is very delicious, and I could eat a lot of it.

Amazingly my wife has a little known allergy to quinoa, which means we don’t eat much of it.

What is Couscous?

couscous vs quinoa

Couscous is durum wheat and is actually a type of pasta.

Traditionally hand rolled to form tiny balls, it is now machine made.

Eaten mostly in North Africa, it has made its way to the wider Arab world in a limited way.

Eaten in some areas of the Levant, those countries have their own version called moghrabieh.

Usually made of semolina flour it is a much bigger version of couscous.

A cup of cooked couscous serves a tasty bed for chicken, lamb or vegetables.

In that cup you will have six grams of protein, and hardly any grams of fat at all.

What is Quinoa?

couscous vs quinoa

Quinoa has been around for thousands of years as a big part of Andean culture and cuisine.

It is a superfood grown mainly in South America, and consumed all over the world.

The Spanish conquerors of South America forced the Incas to grow wheat in place of quinoa.

Thinking it superior to the Indian food the indiginous people consumed.

Today it is pricey and very much sought after given how healthy it is. 

Of course this has put a strain on the economy of some South American producers.

With its high overseas prices many farmers have switched to farming quinoa instead of other staples.

High in protein, with many grams of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, quinoa is gluten free and easy to prepare.

It contains the nine essential amino acids making it a complete protein, also with a low glycemic index.

What is not to like?

Couscous vs Quinoa

At the end of the day these are two very different foods, both used as alternatives to rice.

They are both very flavorful in their own way.

Obviously couscous is processed, whereas quinoa is a whole grain.

Both can have intolerances associated with them so they are not for everyone.

Given that, I would highly recommend both these foods as a delicious addition to many dishes.

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Hello! I'm Chef Tariq.

I’m a food, travel & lifestyle blogger who is passionate about creating recipes from my Arab American background. I love to travel and share my experiences and top tips along the way.

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Hello! I’m Chef Tariq.

I’m a food, travel & lifestyle blogger who is passionate about creating recipes from my Arab American background. I love to travel and share my experiences and top tips along the way.

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