Couscous is a tiny pasta used in North African cuisine, most often to make a stew-like dish that is also called couscous. Couscous pasta is made of semolina, which is coarsely ground durum wheat. Most couscous sold in this country has been precooked and then dried. All you have to do to "cook" the couscous is soak it in boiling water, thus rehydrating it. In this recipe, however, we are treating couscous in an unconventional way, by cooking it like rice for a risotto.

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1 1/2 cups couscous

1 large onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

3 1/3 cups water

1/2 cup sherry

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 teaspoon pepper


1. In a large skillet, heat the couscous over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.

2. In a large saucepan, combine the onion, garlic, and sugar with ⅓ cup of the water. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the onion is wilted, about 7 minutes. Stir in the couscous and sherry, and cook until the sherry has evaporated, about 1 minute.

3. In a measuring cup, stir together the remaining 3 cups water and salt. Add the water to the saucepan ½ cup at a time, allowing the couscous to absorb all the liquid before adding any more. Continue cooking and adding liquid until all the liquid has been added and the couscous is creamy.

4. Stir in the pumpkin, Parmesan, and pepper, and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Makes 6 servings

Nutrition Facts

PER SERVING 226 calories, 2g total fat (1.1g saturated), 4mg cholesterol, 4g dietary fiber, 40g carbohydrate, 9g protein, 401mg sodium

Good source of: beta carotene

If you are carefully watching your sodium, be sure to read this before preparing this recipe: Sodium Intake and Salt in Recipes

From The Johns Hopkins Cookbook Library: Recipes for a Healthy Heart, edited by Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D. and Lora Brown Wilder, Sc.D., M.S., R.D.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 20 Oct 2011

Last Modified: 24 Mar 2015