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Heart Healthy Recipes, Issue #082 - Health Benefits of Couscous
March 29, 2024

Welcome to Heart Healthy Recipes' Newsletter

This month we are highlighting the health benefits of couscous, along with some recipes to help incorporate into a heart-healthy diet. Recipes included are two Mediterranean-style salads, one with pearl couscous and one with Lebanese couscous.

Benefits of Couscous

Couscous is an excellent source of fiber, which may help lower cholesterol, thus reducing incidents of heart problems. Experts consider the mineral-rich couscous to be one of the "superfoods" or super grains. Couscous is rich in fiber, high protein, and low in fat.

There are many varieties of couscous and couscous is an excellent alternative to white rice, if not able to consume rice, or for added variety instead of traditional pastas. Couscous, being higher in protein than white rice, may help with building more muscle as well. Couscous pairs well with vegetables, stew, specialty meats such as lamb and more.

Types of Couscous

Most couscous is made of heart-healthy wheat, though, there are different textures and sizes. Listed below are some of the varieties:

Moroccan Couscous: The smallest type of couscous that cooks quickly - usually in about 3 minutes. Simply boil water, take off the burner, add couscous, cover and steam (3 minutes). Lightly fluff with a fork and ready to serve.

Golden Couscous: This type of couscous is more coarsely ground durum wheat that has a slightly nutty flavor and hearty texture. One serving (⅓ cup or 60g) has 9 grams of protein and can be used as a tasty alternative to traditional pasta and white rice. Cooking time is approximately 5 minutes.

Pearl Couscous (Traditional): Also known as Israeli couscous is slightly larger than Moroccan and Golden Couscous. This couscous blends well with herbs, spices, along with liquids - absorbing and bringing out their unique flavors. The couscous is made from small, tiny toasted semolina or wheat flour. The whole wheat pearl Couscous version is also nutritious and heart-healthy. This variety cooks in approximately 15 minutes.

Tri-Color Pearl Couscous: Similar to traditional pearl couscous, this couscous can be utilized in menus to substitute and alternate with pasta in favorite dishes. The tri-color comes from heart-healthy spinach, along with tomatoes giving this couscous the festive colors of red and green. Also, cooks in approximately 15 minutes.

Lebanese Couscous: Also known as Moghrabieh couscous is made from semolina flour and formed into pea-sized balls offering a rich and nutty flavor. This is currently the largest couscous and requires a cooking time of about 8-10 minutes.

Mediterranean-Style Couscous Salad

Couscous made with “pearl” couscous for a tasty, spring-summer salad. Great for parties, picnics, and more.

Recipe Ingredients:

2 cups or 16 oz. pearl couscous, dry

2 cups cauliflower, roasted

2 cups spinach, chopped

1½ cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 teaspoon garlic

½ teaspoon sea salt, (optional)

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

1 bunch or 1 oz. of basil leaves

3 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

Recipe Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450°F.

In a large saucepan, bring three cups of water to a boil. Add couscous and cook for approximately 15 minutes. Drain and cool for about 15-20 minutes. Gently fluff couscous with a fork.

Chop cauliflower and roast on a baking sheet or similar for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Next, chop spinach and halve the tomatoes.

In a large serving bowl, add the couscous, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes, garlic, sea salt (optional), pepper, and cumin.

In blender or food processor add basil, lemon juice, and olive oil. Blend until smooth. Pour evenly over couscous mixture and mix well.

Makes 10 servings.

Lebanese-Style Couscous Salad

Festive, low sodium salad made with heart-healthy Lebanese couscous and flavored with veggies of cucumber, tomatoes, olives and more.

Recipe Ingredients:

2 cups of Lebanese couscous

1 small to medium cucumber, sliced or chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

½ cup olives

4 green onions, finely sliced

1 can (16 oz.) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 garlic, minced

3 tablespoons lemon juice

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon of black pepper

Recipe Instructions:

In a large saucepan, bring three cups of water to boil. Add couscous and cook for approximately 10 minutes. Drain and cool for about 15 minutes.

In a serving bowl, add couscous, cucumber, tomato, olives, onions, and chickpeas.

Next, in a small bowl, add minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, cumin, and black pepper. Drizzle the dressing over couscous mixture and serve.

Makes 12 serving.

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*Medical/Nutritional Disclaimer: Heart Healthy Recipes' Newsletter and website offers informational service only and the information contained in this newsletter is not intended as professional nutritional or medical advice. The content in this newsletter should not be used solely during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider regarding any course of medical treatment.
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