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Gluten-Free Couscous Substitutes: Have You Tried Them?

Know about the gluten free couscous alternatives.

By Aditya SwarupPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
Gluten-Free Food Alternatives

An element in salads and soups with grains as the base as well as a base for stews, couscous is a meal made of microscopic pasta spheres. So are they gluten-free? The answer is NO.

Even though it is extremely delicious, these spaghetti balls contain gluten. Today in this article, we will explain what couscous is, how to make it, and give you some substitutes you can use to make anything from salads and soups to full-course meals.

Is couscous gluten-free?

We have already answered this, but we need to keep reminding ourselves that couscous contains gluten. Almost all commercially produced pasta, including couscous, is derived mostly from durum semolina. Hard durum wheat is used to make the high-gluten flour known as semolina.

Durum has a staggering 27% extractable wet gluten, or around 3% more than regular wheat.

Durum wheat is not recommended for those who suffer from gluten-related conditions such as celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and wheat allergies because it contains high gluten concentration. Traditional couscous is not gluten-free, no matter if they resemble rice or other gluten-free grains. It is made from semolina, a durum wheat particle.

There is gluten free couscous mentioned in several restaurant menus, which may cause a lot of confusion among people.

If you are allergic to gluten or have celiac disease, be aware of this and enquire about any claims made by eateries that their couscous is gluten-free. It can be even more confusing because some restaurants and eateries will market alternatives to couscous, with a similar taste and texture, as couscous itself. 

Be cautious

When placing an order for something gluten-free, always be cautious. To confirm that something, which was naturally gluten-free hasn't been rendered no longer being so, check the label or ask the eatery.

Cross-contamination doesn't occur at products' manufacturing facilities, but it might still occur during your meal being prepared in a restaurant. It's crucial to check your rice meal for gluten if you have celiac disease or any serious gluten sensitivity. Instead, search for gluten-free alternatives.

Is Israeli couscous gluten-free?

Israeli couscous is not a gluten-free food, much like Moroccan couscous is.

Many people are curious as to what makes Israeli couscous different from conventional couscous (especially those who have never had it before).

Israeli couscous is larger and more uniform in shape than conventional couscous, even though both are produced using water and semolina flour. The texture of the Israeli variant is also softer and chewier.

Israeli couscous is sometimes known as pearl couscous because of its size. Couscous, a dish consisting of small pasta spheres, is a component in salads and soups with grains as the substrate and a base for stews.

What are the gluten-free alternatives to couscous?

Here is a list of gluten free couscous alternatives: 


Although quinoa is technically a seed rather than a grain, it contains a complete protein!

Although it's a little bit smaller than couscous, it has a comparable texture and flavor, making it an acceptable substitute.

Due to Quinoa's widespread availability, this alternative is also quite handy.


Delicious and naturally gluten-free, fonio is a high-protein grain.

We wholeheartedly suggest it if you haven't already! It has an outstanding nutritional profile and is a little bit nutty.

Brown rice

Another excellent alternative to couscous is brown rice. For it to resemble couscous in texture, you will need to break it up and crush it a little.

The other option is to choose short-grain brown rice, which will give you a higher chance of obtaining the desired couscous replacement without the need to prepare the rice.

Once more, Spice Zen is a great gluten-free rice option. There is a wonderful selection of different kinds of rice at Spice Zen. They are all delicious and gluten-free.


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