Sweet and Savory Couscous Recipe

Couscous is one of my favorite side dishes and this sweet and savory couscous recipe is one that I make regularly.  Loaded with dried fruit and nuts, it is a healthy side dish for just about any entree.   

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Sweet and Savory Couscous Recipe with Almonds and Golden Raisins

Is Couscous a Whole Food?

Is couscous processed? Well, yes and no.  If you are following a whole food lifestyle, eating couscous may not fit your definition of whole food.  Couscous is a wheat based product. It is not actually a whole food, however, it is pretty close. The way it is processed removes some of the wheat berry and some of the nutrition but it is better than plain flour.   Consider it a really, really tiny pasta. 

Is couscous a good or bad carb?  It is really higher in carbohydrates than you probably want if you are watching your blood sugar.  However, I consider it a fairly simple, natural, and easy to make side dish when I am in a hurry. 

Is Couscous Served Hot or Cold?

I prefer serving this savory couscous recipe hot, however, there are people who prefer cold couscous recipes.   Check out this quick and easy Moroccan couscous salad that’s great for a lunchbox or to serve with cold chicken.

Couscous in a clay bowl and wooden spoon, food ingredient

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Is couscous healthy to eat?

Is couscous healthy?  Well, if you are counting calories, it is lower in calories than rice per serving. One cup of prepared couscous has 176 calories, compared to 216 calories in brown rice. It also contains 2 grams of fiber per cup and 6 grams of protein. Of course, you don’t get the variety of nutrients from it that you would from rice.   

There is more to couscous health benefits than calories and micro nutrients.  Couscous is high in selenium which may help lower cancer risks and boost your immune system.  It is also a good source of plant based protein. 

More Healthy Grain Recipes

pot on a stove

How to Cook Couscous

How do you cook couscous?  The basic idea is incredibly easy.  For each cup of dry couscous you use, add 1½ cups of boiling liquid to it.  Here is a very simple formula for cooking couscous:

  1. Boil liquid (water or stock). For each cup of dry couscous, use 1½ cups of  liquid.
  2. Add salt if desired and a TBSP or so of oil or butter.  
  3. Pour 1 cup couscous into the boiling liquid, stir once with a spoon, cover with a lid, and remove from heat. Let sit 5 minutes or so without peaking
  4. Fluff with a fork and eat!

If you want to cook it with dried fruit and nuts, simmer the add ins over medium low heat in butter or oil for a few minutes until they are fragrant. 

Then add the liquid, bring it to a boil, and add dry couscous.  This sweet and savory couscous recipe uses golden raisins and almonds but you could vary those depending on taste.  Walnuts are healthy and dried cranberries are a great treat for the fall.

How long is couscous good for?

Dried couscous should be stored in an air tight container in your pantry and is honestly good for a couple of years.  (Yes, for dried grains I tend to ignore my one year in the pantry rule). Once cooked, it will keep at room temperature for a few hours or in the fridge for three days. If the couscous has been mixed with other ingredients they might shorten its fridge life. I find that this savory couscous lasts for several days without problems. 

Can You Make Savory Couscous with Pearl Couscous?

What is pearl couscous?  Basically, it is a much larger ‘ball’ of pasta than your tiny little traditional couscous it.  Pearl couscous is also called Israeli couscous.The pasta granules are much larger – about the size of small pearls. It is also toasted, rather than dried, after the granules are formed. You simmer this on the stove more like rice to help it absorb the liquid better and it doesn’t cook quite as quickly as traditional couscous. 

Sweet and Savory Couscous Recipe with Raisins and Nuts. A healthy side dish in less than 15 minutes

Sweet and Savory Couscous

This sweet and savory couscous with raisins and nuts is easy to make and FAST.  Remember, the ratio of couscous to liquid is about 1 cup dried couscous to 1 1/2 cups liquid.  Try adding different dried fruits and nuts to your couscous recipe for different flavors.  If you want an even more savory couscous, add dried herbs while the stock is simmering. 


Yield: 2 cups

Sweet and Savory Couscous Recipe

wooden bowl with Couscous with dried fruits and nuts

This sweet and savory couscous recipe is easy and delicious.  Loaded with dried fruit and nuts, it is a healthy side dish for just about any entree.  

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes


  • 1 cup dried couscous
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic (minced
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds


1. Melt butter or add olive oil in pot over medium heat.

2. Add minced garlic, raisins, and nuts

3. Saute 2-3 minutes

4. Add chicken stock and bring to a gentle boil

5. Add couscous, remove from heat, cover, and let sit 5 minutes

6. Fluff with fork and serve

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1/2 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 256Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 178mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 3gSugar: 9gProtein: 7g

Nutrition information is not always accurate

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