Couscous vs Quinoa: Which One is Better?

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 and nutritional make up.   

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

Couscous is of North African origin, while quinoa is harvested a world away in South America.

Found often in Morrocan dishes, couscous is a very unique, and delicious food.

It works very well in soaking up the hearty and delicious stews of Morocco.

Quinoa is a superfood mainly grown in Peru, Bolivia, and other parts of South America. 

It’s very delicious, with high levels of protein, and fits into a lot of different dishes, both hot and cold.

What is Couscous?

couscous vs quinoa

Couscous is made from semolina wheat flour, 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 Middle Eastern world in a limited way.

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

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

A cup of cooked couscous serves as 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 now 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, not knowing wheat’s inferiority.

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, with a low glycemic index.

What is not to like?

How to Cook Quinoa

Rinse the quinoa to remove the naturally occurring outer bitter film called saponin.

Place one cup of quinoa in a pan, and add two cups of water with ¼ teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil.

Cook covered over low heat until all the water has evaporated off; about 15 minutes.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork and enjoy.

How to Cook Couscous

Place one cup of couscous in a bowl, add ½ teaspoon salt, then cover with 1½ cups of boiling water.

Stir, cover and allow the water to be absorbed by the couscous; about 10 minutes.

Uncover and fluff the couscous with a fork.

Couscous vs Quinoa

couscous vs quinoa

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

Having options for your eaters on the dinner, or lunch table never goes to waste, providing everyone with something.

They are both very flavorful in their own way, and easy to make with boiling water.

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

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

I do highly recommend either of these foods as a delicious addition to many meals.

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