Make Couscous a Staple

The most beloved and iconic dish of Morocco and North Africa is couscous, which has garnered fame in other parts of the world. Couscous is pasta-like because is durum wheat based. Durum wheat may date as far back as 6,000 BC, since earliest evidence of milling is from that period.

The origin of couscous has been disputed by many. While some claim that it is a Chinese invention like pasta, others state that it was a creation from East Africa. However, evidence has shown that couscous has been indulged in since at least the 9th century, judging by archaeological finds of cooking utensils used to make the foodstuff.

Couscous spread across North Africa in the 11th century during the Arabic-African Conflict. The economic growth of some nations and the arrival of wheat made the dish even more popular, to the extent where it could be found in Andalusia, Spain. By the 16th century, “Coscoton à la Moresque” debut in Provence, France.

South Americans also obtained a deep love for the dish due to many Portuguese immigrants (of Moroccan descent) arriving on the continent.

Today, couscous is prevalent in countless nations and used in a multiple of ways to enhance dishes whether Moroccan or not. Couscous was considered a cornerstone of cuisine in France which had colonized Morocco. Even today, it has been rated the second-best dish of all time by the French.

Couscous can be used a variety of ways and can whet your creative juices for hot or cold dishes. Enhance a salad or add it to your favorite chicken. You´ll understand why this couscous is a staple for so many.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Serves 8


  • 200 g couscous1 tbsp olive oil, plus 1/2 cup extra

  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

  • 1 tsp lime zest

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice

  • 1 cup grapes

  • 1 cup dried cranberries

  • 1 cup chickpeas

  • 1 cup black olives - sliced

  • 1 cup (not packed) fresh mint leaves, chopped

  • 3/4 cup shelled pistachios, toasted, coarsely chopped

  • 6 spring onions, thinly sliced

Directions for basic couscous:

  1. In a large heavy saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil over high heat.

  2. Stir in the couscous, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt.

  3. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the couscous is tender.

  4. Transfer to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.

  5. Cool to room temperature.

This one is a personal favorite salad recipe just in time for summer. However, you can eliminate and add whatever you decide. There's no right and wrong ingredients to add to couscous.

Directions of add-ons:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon and lime zest and juices.

  2. Slowly whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup oil to blend and emulsify.

  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

  4. Fold the grapes, cranberries, mint, pistachios, olives, chickpeas, spring onions, and vinaigrette into the couscous.

  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

  6. Serve at room temperature.

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