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The 5 Best Substitutes for Couscous

Do you love Mediterranean food but have no idea what couscous is? Do you always shy away from this particular ingredient when browsing recipes?

Couscous originates from North Africa, specifically Morocco, and it is a staple in their cuisine.

Moroccan couscous is traditionally served with vegetables and meat, but there are endless possibilities when it comes to recipes.

You can cook couscous in broth, use it as a salad base, or even bake with it.

The five best substitutes for couscous are short-grain rice, quinoa, sorghum, millet, and cooked rice.

Quinoa is a great choice if you’re looking for a healthier option.

It’s high in protein and fiber and has a nutty flavor that goes well with most dishes.

If you’re looking for something cheaper or more readily available, rice is always a good option.

It doesn’t have the same flavor as couscous, but it’s a versatile grain that can be used in many different dishes.

What is Couscous?

what is couscous

Couscous is a small, round grain that is popular in North African cuisine.

It is usually made from semolina flour, which is a type of wheat flour.

The semolina is mixed with water and salt and then allowed to sit for a period of time.

This allows the grains to swell and become tender.

Once cooked, couscous has a fluffy texture and a slightly nutty flavor.

It can be served plain or as a base for other dishes.

Couscous is commonly used in salads, stews, and casseroles.

It is also a popular side dish.

Because it is so versatile, couscous has become a staple in many households.

Whether you are looking for a quick and easy meal or something more substantial, couscous is an excellent option.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Couscous

For those who are gluten-free or avoiding wheat for other reasons, couscous is often off-limits.

But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on this delicious and versatile food.

There are plenty of substitutes for couscous that will let you enjoy all your favorite dishes without the wheat.

1 – Quinoa


Quinoa is a South American grain that has become increasingly popular recently.

It has a light, fluffy texture and a slightly nutty flavor.

It is also very versatile; it can be used in sweet or savory dishes, as a side dish, or as the main ingredient.

Quinoa is high in protein and fiber and is also a good source of iron and magnesium.

It is gluten-free, making it a good choice for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Quinoa is relatively easy to cook; it can be boiled like rice or baked or roasted.

It can also be served cold, making it a great choice for salads or grain bowls.

Whether you are looking for a healthy alternative to couscous or simply want to try something new, quinoa is definitely worth trying.

2 – Short-grain Rice

shortgrain rice

Short-grain rice is a type of rice that is characterized by its short, stubby kernels.

It is typically used in sushi, risotto, and paella.

Short-grain rice is higher in starch than other types of rice, which gives it a stickier texture.

It is also less likely to become mushy when cooked.

The high starch content also results in a sweeter taste.

For these reasons, short-grain rice is often considered the best type of rice for making sushi.

It is also popular for dishes that require a creamy or slightly sticky consistency, such as risotto and paella.

If you are looking for rice that has a sweet taste and a stickier texture, then short-grain rice is a perfect choice.

3 – Sorghum


Sorghum is a type of grass that is native to Africa and has been used for centuries as a food source.

It can be used in place of rice or wheat in many recipes and is a good source of dietary fiber.

The grain can be ground into flour or pearl, and the sweet juice can be extracted and used to make syrup.

Sorghum has a mild, nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture.

When cooked, sorghum has a fluffy, slightly sticky consistency that is similar to couscous.

The texture of sorghum also depends on how it is processed.

For example, whole grain sorghum has a chewy texture, while sorghum flour is more like traditional wheat flour.

No matter how it is used, sorghum is a versatile and delicious ingredient that can add flavor and interest to any dish.

4 – Millet


Millet is a grain with a nutty flavor and a slightly chewy texture.

When cooked, it retains its shape well and has a slightly sticky quality.

Millet is often used as an alternative to rice or other grains in pilafs and risottos.

It can also be eaten as a hot cereal or added to soups and stews.

Because of its mild flavor, millet pairs well with other ingredients, making it a versatile grain for use in many different dishes.

5 – Cooked Rice

cooked rice

Cooked rice is a staple of many cuisines around the world.

It can be steamed, boiled, stir-fried, or even baked.

No matter how it is prepared, cooked rice always has a soft, slightly chewy texture.

The flavor of cooked rice is relatively mild, although it can vary depending on the type of rice used.

For example, brown rice has a nuttier flavor than white rice.

Basmati rice has a delicate, slightly floral flavor, while jasmine rice has a light, sweet taste.

Regardless of the type of rice used, cooked rice is a versatile food that can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a larger dish.


In conclusion, there are a variety of substitutes for couscous that can be used in its place.

These substitutes include quinoa, short-grain rice, sorghum, millet, and cooked rice.

Each of these substitutes has its own unique flavor and texture that can add something special to your dish.

When choosing a substitute for couscous, it is important to consider the flavors of your other ingredients and the overall dish that you are trying to create.

With a little bit of experimentation, you can find the perfect substitute for couscous that will suit your taste buds and make your dish even more delicious.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Couscous

The 5 Best Substitutes for Couscous
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Quinoa
  • Short-grain Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Millet
  • Cooked Rice


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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