The gluten-free diet is becoming increasingly popular, and with it, the question of what is and isn’t gluten-free. One of the most common questions is whether or not couscous is gluten-free. The answer is that, while couscous is made from wheat, it is usually gluten-free.
What Is Couscous?
Couscous is a small, round, granular pasta that is commonly used in North African and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is made from semolina, which is a coarsely ground wheat. Semolina is made from durum wheat, which is a type of wheat that is high in protein and gluten.
Is Couscous Gluten-Free?
The short answer is that, while couscous is made from wheat, it is usually gluten-free. The reason for this is that the wheat used to make couscous is specially processed to remove the gluten. This process is called “de-glutening” and it involves soaking the wheat in hot water and then drying it. This process breaks down the gluten proteins, making the couscous gluten-free.
Is There a Difference Between Plain and Instant Couscous?
Yes, there is a difference between plain and instant couscous. Plain couscous is made from semolina that has been de-glutened, while instant couscous is made from pre-cooked wheat flour. Instant couscous is not gluten-free, since the wheat flour used to make it still contains gluten.
Are There Any Gluten-Free Alternatives to Couscous?
Yes, there are several gluten-free alternatives to couscous, including quinoa, rice, buckwheat, and millet. Quinoa is a particularly popular gluten-free alternative to couscous, as it has a similar texture and is high in protein.
What Are the Benefits of Eating Gluten-Free Couscous?
Eating gluten-free couscous can have several health benefits. For people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it can be a safe and nutritious alternative to wheat-based couscous. It is also high in fiber and protein, and can be a good source of vitamins and minerals.
How Do You Prepare Gluten-Free Couscous?
Preparing gluten-free couscous is easy. All you need to do is bring a pot of water to a boil, add the couscous, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Once it is cooked, strain the couscous and fluff with a fork.
What Dishes Can You Make With Gluten-Free Couscous?
Gluten-free couscous can be used to make a variety of dishes, including salads, stews, and pilafs. It can also be used as a side dish or as a base for other dishes, such as vegetable curries.
Is Gluten-Free Couscous Available in Stores?
Yes, gluten-free couscous is available in most grocery stores. It is usually labelled as “gluten-free” and can be found in the health food or gluten-free aisles.
So, is couscous gluten-free? The answer is yes, as long as it is made from de-glutened wheat. If you are looking for a gluten-free alternative to couscous, quinoa is a great option. Gluten-free couscous is also widely available in stores, so it is easy to find and prepare.