Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, malts and a lot of processed food. As you can see gluten occurs in an awful lot of foods so most people assume that it’s okay to eat a variety of tasty cakes and breads. Now to be clear, there are Celiacs who may wish to avoid gluten altogether . But as the majority of people are not Celiacs they feel they’re safe eating gluten. It’s very difficult to find a general consensus on whether or not you should include in your diet.
Couscous is not gluten free. Couscous comes from semolina, which is a granule of durum wheat and that is definitely not gluten free.
As a general rule, couscous is gluten free. However, it is possible that some brands of couscous contain wheat or barley and should not be made with those ingredients. In addition, some brands may contain hidden gluten when packaged in the U.S., so check the packaging for an ingredient list and make sure there are no hidden sources of gluten.
You can prepare couscous like any other grain
Couscous is a wheat product, but it’s made from semolina. Semolina is a refined flour made from durum wheat, and it’s a form of pasta.
There are two types of couscous: whole wheat and durum.
- Durum couscous is more refined than whole wheat couscous, which means it has fewer nutrients.
- Whole wheat couscous has more fiber and protein than durum, but both types have about the same amount of carbohydrates.
You can prepare couscous like any other grain. Cook it in water or broth until it’s tender, then fluff with a fork. You can also add herbs or other seasonings to give your dish more flavor.
Varieties of couscous
Couscous is a small grain that is prepared similarly to rice. It’s made from semolina, which is a type of flour that’s made from durum wheat.
There are several varieties of couscous. The most common types are:
- Traditional or whole wheat couscous
- Semolina-based pearled (or regular) couscous
- Durum semolina-based pearl couscous
Couscous originated in North Africa
Couscous is a North African and Middle Eastern dish made from semolina, a coarse flour made from durum wheat. It’s often served as a side dish in place of rice or pasta, but couscous can also be used as a main course.
Couscous is traditionally made by steaming small grains of semolina over boiling water, then breaking the cooked grains into pieces to make it more manageable. The couscous is then served with stewed meats or vegetables, but it can also be eaten plain.
Couscous originated in North Africa and has been prepared for centuries by Jewish communities living there. Today, couscous is popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa; it’s also gaining popularity elsewhere in the world.
Couscous using gluten-free ingredients
While couscous is often made from wheat, the tiny pasta can be made from other grains, like rice or quinoa. In fact, there are about 20 different types of couscous available today.
The main ingredient in couscous is semolina flour, which is a hard wheat flour that’s ground into a coarse meal. It can also be made with durum semolina flour, which is more finely ground than regular semolina. Most of the time, a combination of durum and common flours are used to make couscous.
People with Celiac disease or gluten intolerance should avoid couscous unless it’s made from certified gluten-free ingredients (like white rice).
You may have to modify some traditional recipes to make them gluten-free
Here’s a list of things you might have to do:
- You will probably have to modify some traditional recipes to make them gluten-free.
- You can’t use canned soup that contains wheat in it as a base for your casserole or lasagna filling, because the starch from the wheat flour is what thickens the soup and makes it creamy.
- You can’t use wheat flour in place of white rice in a recipe, because the starch from the wheat flour will make it gummy.
- You can’t substitute wheat flour for cornstarch or arrowroot powder in baking recipes, because they don’t work as well at binding ingredients together as do other starches or thickeners like xanthan gum (which is derived from corn).
How do I cook couscous?
Couscous is cooked by boiling until tender and then steaming or microwaving until fluffy.
- To get a soft texture, you can add milk or cream to the water before cooking or use boiling water instead of cold to prevent overcooking your grains.
- To steam couscous, pour about 1 cup of hot water into a saucepan and add 1/4 cup of dry couscous (uncooked) per person.
- Cover and cook on medium heat for 5–10 minutes or until tender (add more water if needed).
- Fluff with fork before serving warm or cold.
Couscous is a type of pasta that originated in North Africa, and is traditionally made and served by hand. It’s made from semolina flour and water. Couscous is safe for people with celiac disease, though it’s advised that those with severe gluten allergies consume the product following a specific washing protocol.