Reason: clarified topic in title (removed all caps)
I'd go with quinoa for the protein and iron. 1 cup cooked (1/4 cup dry) is around 160 calories. It's very mild and easy to cook too.
Quinoa rocks - the first time I ever had it was as an appetizer which was amazing, a quinoa cheese gratin (probably not good for loosing weight), and then as a quinoa salad with roasted red beets and fresh peas. I now make a lot of quinoa dishes for dinner, and usually get rave reviews from guest. And yes, it's good for you, although I suppose that whole wheat couscous is ok as well. Regular white couscous is just pasta, as lysistrata mentioned.
I can try to dig up some recipes if you don't find anything you like.
QUINOA!!!! it's not only whole grain but it's a complete protein. it's like eating rice and beans.
this is what wikipedia said:
In contemporary times this crop has come to be highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content (12%–18%) is very high. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete foodstuff. This means it takes less quinoa protein to meet one's needs than wheat protein. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered as a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights
I vote for the Quinoa as well, much better than the couscous for you and based on how you prepare it, it's very tasty.
I have a terrific whole grain cookbook that has a ton of recipes for all sorts of whole grains. It is called Whole Grains, Everyday, Everyway by Lorna Sass (not Doone!:) The book will turn you on to other whole grains and I'm telling you the recipes are all winners! The only thing is that if you are vegetarian or vegan you probably don't want to buy this book because there are quite a few recipes with meat.
I have eaten quinoa twice, and i must say it is an acquired taste. I have purchased it in a prepared dish, and cooked it from a raw state and both times i disliked it, greatly. I do however enjoy couscous, so i will vote for that....
I like both, although if both are offered on the menu I'd probably opt for quinoa over couscous. However, for my family I have to "doctor" them up because otherwise they'll complain they're too bland.
As for couscous, look for whole grain. The one problem with couscous is that it needs butter to fluff it up properly - or so I'm told. I haven't cooked a lot with it.
However, last night I made this dish - threw in some spinach too and cut out half the olive oil - it was delicious! I had leftovers this morning for breakfast. I woke up craving it:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recip e/0,,FOOD_9936_33171,00.html?rsrc =search
We had it with gazpacho - which was perfect combo.
One more bit of information, though: quinoa must be rinsed in cold water before cooking or it will taste bitter. As long as it is well rinsed, I think the flavor is pretty mild--a little nutty, but not at all offensive.
Whole wheat couscous is good, just not as complete nutritionally as the quinoa, so that is fine too. I usually cook it in broth, no butter, and have not had a problem with it 'fluffing up properly' at all.
EDIT to add: Quinoa is naturally coated with a 'soapy saponin residue' that has a bitter taste. An effective method is to run cold water over quinoa that has been placed in a fine-meshed strainer, gently rubbing the seeds together with your hands. To ensure that the saponins have been completely removed, taste a few seeds. If they still have a bitter taste, continue the rinsing process. (excerpt from http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=food spice&dbid=142)
Another one to try is buckwheat, or kasha. Mmmm. Nice nutty flavor.
Has anyone tried black Japonica? it is a whole grain rice and it looks great:)