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What Is Couscous Dessert?

By M. Chambers
Updated May 17, 2024
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Couscous dessert is a sweet dish that uses the traditional semolina wheat middlings as the main ingredient. Although couscous is normally used in savory dishes that incorporate vegetables and meats, this versatile North African dish also can be used as a sweetened dessert. The sweetened variation of couscous is eaten in many countries, and there are several ways of preparing it. Couscous dessert typically is served after a meal and is often accompanied by milk.

The semolina grains used in couscous are hearty wheat middlings that are made using durum wheat flour. Couscous is a very popular dish in many countries, and it is as versatile as rice or pasta. In addition, this dish can be eaten as a breakfast, lunch or dinner meal, depending on how it is prepared and what ingredients are used. Although the dessert or pudding form of couscous is not as popular as savory couscous dishes, it is a favored variant of the dish.

Ingredients that are commonly included in couscous dessert are sugar, pine nuts, pitted dates and milk. The dessert might also include other nuts, such as walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts. Fruit and honey also are frequently added to the dish, as well as raisins and mint. Pudding couscous is similar to tapioca or rice pudding and typically is very rich and creamy in flavor. Cinnamon and other spices can be added on top of the dessert if desired.

The dessert variation of couscous is normally served after a meal or during breakfast. Couscous served for breakfast might not be as sweet or sugary as a dessert would be, but it often still includes fruits, honey and nuts. This dish also can be prepared much like hot oatmeal is served, and milk or dry fruit can be added to the porridge. Both dessert and breakfast couscous dishes are typically served warm or hot. The pudding variation of this dish can be served cold, however.

Semolina grains that are used for couscous dessert are rich in fiber, protein and selenium. They also are relatively low in fat and sugar before other ingredients are added. When served with healthful fruits and only a small amount of sugar, couscous dessert can be a low-fat, healthy dish. Substituting sugar with honey can also make the dish slightly more healthy and less caloric. Adding nuts to the dish adds more protein and healthy fats, but dry fruits are often high in sugar, so using fresh fruits instead is more healthful.

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