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What to do with couscous and quinoa

Seen these ingredients but not sure what to do with them? We help you expand your repertoire.

What are they?

Couscous is a grain product made from wheat flour. It's actually tiny round balls of dough, like pasta, which have been dried. It's a staple food in North Africa, Morocco and Algeria, and is fast becoming a favourite here, too. It has a mild flavour that works well with lots of other flavours.

Quinoa is a whole grain (pronounced 'keen wa') that is actually a seed. It's gluten-free and high in protein. It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavour and interesting texture.

Where do I get them?

Couscous is available in most supermarkets, usually in the same area where you find pasta and rice.

Quinoa is available in health food shops, organics shops and some supermarkets – ask around as they often keep it in different places! (We like the Ceres brand).

Both couscous and quinoa can be used as the base for salads or as a side dish. They are a good alternative carbohydrate when you're looking for a change from potato, rice or pasta.

  • Couscous: requires no cooking – just cover with an equal quantity of boiling water or stock in a bowl, cover and leave for 5 minutes, before fluffing with a fork.

  • Quinoa: takes about 40 minutes to cook. Add to boiling water or stock in a pot (for every cup of quinoa, use 1 2/3 cup of water), cover and simmer on a low heat for 18-20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes, before fluffing with a fork.

  • Try our Zesty couscous or quinoa salad with roasted pumpkin and cashews recipe.
First published: May 2007



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