Does Couscous Have Gluten? (And GF Couscous)

Today, we’re going to be answering the question: does couscous have gluten? And looking at gluten-free couscous brands you may like to try when following a gluten-free diet. Couscous is a North African dish traditionally and is absolutely delicious. But can you enjoy it in a gluten-free lifestyle? Let’s take a look.

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein you will find present in cereal grains. The cereal grains you’ll need to avoid when following a gluten-free diet are wheat, rye, barley, and oats (unless certified GF oats). Wheat is often used in foods such as pizza, pasta, and bread. It’s inexpensive compared to other grains and is great for giving food elasticity.

As cereal grains are present in so many everyday foods, it can be overwhelming when you first receive your diagnosis. It may take some adjusting, but it’s actually easier to live a gluten-free lifestyle than you may think. And many people advocate that the gluten-free diet is healthier than most and comes with many benefits!

What Is Couscous?

Couscous looks very much like rice. However, it’s technically pasta! Couscous is durum wheat semolina that has been made into granules or small spheres. You’ll find couscous in Northern African cuisine such as Moroccan and Tunisian food.

Couscous is a great alternative to noodles and rice and is quick and easy to use. It’s a food you’ll often see in someone’s pantry as it’s so convenient. You can add couscous to salads, or use them in meals such as stews, stocks, and broth. Its taste is earthy, nutty – and utterly delicious!

Is Couscous Gluten-Free?

Unfortunately, most couscous is not gluten-free. Couscous’ main ingredient is semolina. Semolina is a wheat product and wheat is definitely not a gluten-free food. Wheat (along with rye and barley) should be avoided at all times once you receive your diagnosis.

However, it’s not all bad news. There’s a range of alternatives to couscous that are completely gluten-free. Plus, some brands even make gluten-free couscous, if you’re looking for that authentic, nutty couscous taste.

Gluten-Free Couscous

If you live in the UK, many stores offer gluten-free couscous that’s relatively easy to find! It’s a little harder to source in the US, but definitely possible! Let’s take a look at the top gluten-free couscous brands.

Clearspring

Clearspring Organic Gluten-Free Instant Corn Couscous is available in the UK mainly, but you can find it on Amazon. It retails at around £2 a box. The only ingredient in Clearspring Couscous is organic corn. It’s certified gluten-free. This means that each product goes through rigorous testing to ensure its gluten-free status and meets strict guidelines set by the FDA.

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Not only is this couscous gluten-free, but organic, vegan, kosher, and non-GMO too! Plus, it’s ready in just 5 minutes.

Goldbaum’s

Goldbaum’s is a great gluten-free couscous if you’re in the US. The Goldbaum’s Israeli Style Couscous (GF) is around $4.79 a box and is certified gluten-free. This means that it’s as safe as can possibly be. The ingredients you’ll find in this couscous are:

  • Tapioca Starch
  • Potato Flakes
  • Potato Starch
  • Egg White
  • Emulsifier
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Spices (Turmeric, Paprika)

This option is perfect if you’re also intolerant to corn, as it’s completely corn-free.

UK Supermarkets

If you’re shopping in the UK, supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda regularly have gluten-free couscous available. This is easily accessible and made with maize (corn) semolina instead of durum wheat semolina. This will not be available in the US, but great news if you live in the UK!

While there may not be many gluten-free couscous available, we can only hope that in time, more become available. The gluten-free way of life is definitely becoming more popular – so let’s keep our fingers crossed for more gluten-free couscous options soon! Are you aware of any other gluten-free couscous brands available? If so, please feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Gluten-Free Alternatives To Couscous

If you’re finding gluten-free couscous too expensive or difficult to source, there are many alternatives you can try that are a good substitute for couscous. Let’s take a look at some of the best options available.

  • Cauliflower Rice. If you’re looking for a similar texture and shape to couscous, this is probably the closest option. It’s becoming far more easy to source and as it’s made from cauliflower, it’s extremely good for you. It’s a win/win really!

Roasted Cauliflower Rice

  • Quinoa. Another close alternative is quinoa – and one you’ll often see in grocery stores. It may be a slightly crunchier texture but the size is almost identical to couscous.
  • Sorghum. Sorghum is gluten-free and has the earthy, nutty flavor that couscous has. It’s slightly larger than couscous, but if you’re looking for that couscous taste – this is the option for you!
  • Millet. Millet is almost identical to sorghum, and of course, gluten-free!
  • Rice (Short Grain). While the taste isn’t the same, you can’t go wrong with rice! It may not be the perfect replacement, but it’s definitely the easiest to source and the cheapest alternative.
  • Buckwheat and Amaranth. These both work well if mixed with other grains such as rice and millet. Amaranth is tiny and buckwheat is larger than couscous – but both equally delicious.

Conclusion

I hope this article has helped to answer the question: does couscous have gluten? And helped you to become more familiar with the gluten-free options we have available and the range of alternatives you can use if you’re craving couscous.

Can you think of any other gluten-free alternatives to couscous? Or know of any other gluten-free couscous brands? If so, please feel free to share any suggestions below. You’ll likely be helping out someone else in the gluten-free community. Sharing is caring!

Read more about: Do Sesame Seeds Have Gluten? (And GF Recipe!)