Serving Sizes for Cooked vs. Uncooked Israeli Couscous

Use Israeli couscous in salads or as a bed for braised dishes.

Use Israeli couscous in salads or as a bed for braised dishes.

Israeli couscous is larger and has a nuttier taste compared to Moroccan couscous. Both are made from semolina flour -- the same ingredient that regular pasta is prepared from -- but Moroccan couscous is made by rubbing semolina dough into small beads, while the dough for Israeli couscous is fashioned into strands, cut and toasted. Use Israeli couscous in soups, stews, salads, as a base for roasted or braised meat, seafood or bean dishes or with vegetables, nuts, dried fruit and spices as a pilaf. For more fiber and B vitamins, look for whole-wheat Israeli couscous.

Cooked Israeli Couscous

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's ChooseMyPlate.gov, a single serving of a cooked grain is 1/2 cup. This includes grains like bulgur, oatmeal, rice and pasta as well as Israeli couscous. A 1/2-cup serving of cooked couscous is considered the grain equivalent of one slice of bread, five whole-wheat crackers, three cups of air-popped popcorn, one small flour or corn tortilla and 1 cup of ready-to-eat breakfast cereal.

Uncooked Israeli Couscous

The Sun Sentinel's Marlene Parrish says that 1 cup of uncooked Israeli couscous yields approximately 3 cups of cooked couscous. To get a 1/2-cup serving of cooked Israeli couscous, you'd need to measure out 1/6 cup of uncooked couscous. Since prepared couscous keeps well in the refrigerator and can be eaten chilled or quickly reheated, it may be simpler for you to cook a larger amount of couscous and remove serving-sized portions, as needed.

Recommended Intake

An adult woman over 19 years old should have six servings of grain products every day, says the USDA, with each serving being 1 ounce or the equivalent. She should aim not to drop below 3 ounces per day. Men need between 7 and 8 ounces of grain products daily. A 1/2-cup serving of cooked Israeli couscous supplies nearly 17 percent of a woman's recommended grain intake. By choosing whole-wheat couscous, you can fill another of the USDA's grain recommendations: that at least half of your daily grains should be whole, not refined.

Preparation

Parrish says that uncooked Israeli couscous should not be prepared in the same way as Moroccan couscous. She advises that you boil a pot of water, pour in the appropriate measurement of uncooked couscous, allow it to cook until al dente -- soft but with some firmness, not mushy -- for about 10 to 12 minutes and drain. If you're concerned about your sodium intake, avoid salting the water that you use to cook the couscous.

 

About the Author

Michelle Kerns writes for a variety of print and online publications and specializes in literature and science topics. She has served as a book columnist since 2008 and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Kerns studied English literature and neurology at UC Davis.

Photo Credits

  • Spike Mafford/Photodisc/Getty Images