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Couscous vs Pinto Beans: How Are They Different?

This article explains the key similarities and differences between couscous and pinto beans, foods from the grains and legumes food groups. Read on to learn more about the couscous vs pinto beans comparison.
Esther Bumpus, Health Writer

Written by Esther Bumpus, Health Writer. Updated on February 14, 2023.

Although couscous and pinto beans belong to different food groups, while couscous belong is a grain, and pinto beans belong to legumes food group, and it’s not that common to compare foods from different groups, people are often interested in these comparisons as well.

That’s why we decided to create an in-depth article that compares couscous and pinto beans, their nutritional values, similarities, differences, macronutrients, and micronutrients – vitamins and minerals.

Generally speaking, foods from grains and legume food groups are both high in carbs and protein and valuable addition to a plant-based diet.

Now, let’s see how couscous and pinto beans compare specifically.


Couscous (Couscous) is a type of pasta made from small, round granules of semolina, which is the coarsely ground endosperm of durum wheat.

It is a good source of carbohydrates and small amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals like iron and B vitamins, depending on the ingredients used in the dish’s preparation.

Couscous is a staple food in North Africa and the Middle East and is traditionally served as a side dish or as a base for stews and salads. It is also gluten-free and easy to digest.

Couscous can be enjoyed in various ways. It can be cooked in different sauces, with herbs and spices, and can also be used in salads and soups. It can also be paired with vegetables and lean protein sources such as legumes and in moderate portions.

Couscous is an excellent source of Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).

It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), and Vitamin B3 (Niacin) and some Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

Pinto Beans

Pinto beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are a type of legume native to Central and South America.

They are a popular ingredient in many vegan and vegetarian dishes due to their high protein and fiber content, as well as their rich, nutty flavor.

Pinto beans are also a good source of several important nutrients, including potassium, iron, and B vitamins.

They can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes, such as pinto bean soup, chili, and salads.

In addition to being a nutritious food, pinto beans have been shown to have a number of potential health benefits.

They have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved blood sugar control, and may also help to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

Pinto Beans are an excellent source of Vitamin B1 (Thiamine), Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), and Vitamin B9 (Folate).

They also contain a good amount of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), and Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) and some Vitamin C, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), and Vitamin K.

Couscous vs Pinto Beans Nutrition

Now that we’ve described the origin, taste, and usage of these foods, we can move to the most interesting part – comparing couscous vs pinto beans.

This comparison will start by comparing the caloric value of couscous and pinto beans and their macronutrients and then go more in-depth by analyzing their vitamin and mineral content.

CouscousPinto Beans
Energy376 kcal347 kcal
Carbs77.4 g62.6 g
Sugar0 g2.11 g
Fiber5 g15.5 g
Protein12.8 g21.4 g
Fat0.64 g1.23 g
Saturated Fat0.117 g0.235 g

Couscous vs Pinto Beans Calories

Most calories in raw grains and legumes come from carbs. Peanuts are an exception here, but they are often considered a nut instead of a legume because of their nutritional profile.

Comparing pinto beans vs couscous for weight loss, pinto beans are slightly lower in calories, with 347 calories per 100 grams, compared to 376 calories per 100 grams of couscous.

However, both couscous and pinto beans can and should be a part of a healthy diet, and neither one shouldn’t be avoided if you’re looking to lose weight.

Couscous vs Pinto Beans Protein

Legumes and most legume products, including couscous and pinto beans, are important sources of plant-based protein.

Pinto Beans offer around 40% more protein than couscous.

Pinto Beans have 21.4 grams of protein per 100 grams, while couscous has 12.8 grams of protein per 100 grams.

Couscous vs Pinto Beans Carbs

Counting carbs can be important for some people for different reasons, including blood sugar control, weight management, or athletic performance.

It’s also important for people on a keto diet, so let’s compare the carbs content in couscous and pinto beans.

The total amount of carbohydrates is around 19% higher in couscous than in pinto beans. It have 77.4 grams per 100 grams, compared to 62.6 grams in pinto beans.

There’s less sugar in couscous than in pinto beans, 100% precisely.

One handful of couscous (28 grams) contains 0 grams of sugar, while the same amount of pinto beans contains 0.6 grams.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the dietary fiber in couscous and pinto beans.

Dietary fiber keeps the digestive system healthy and helps with weight management by promoting a sense of fullness.

With 4.3 grams of fiber per portion, pinto beans are a better source of fiber than couscous which offer 1.4 grams per portion.

Couscous vs Pinto Beans Fats

Like most other grains and legumes, with the exception of lupins and peanuts, couscous and pinto beans are low in fat.

Fats in couscous and pinto beans are mostly healthy unsaturated fats. They are naturally cholesterol-free and trans-fat-free.

Total fat in couscous and pinto beans:

  • Couscous: 0.6 grams per 100 grams
  • Pinto Beans: 1.2 per 100 grams

Speaking of saturated fats, couscous is 50% lower in saturated fats.

Couscous and pinto beans contain 0.1 grams and 0.2 grams of saturated fat per 100 grams, respectively.

Couscous vs Pinto Beans Vitamins Content

This section will discuss the vitamin content of couscous and pinto beans.

Vitamins are micronutrients, meaning we need only a small amount. However, they are very important for many processes in our bodies.

Couscous has a higher amount of vitamin C, vitamin B1 (Thiamine), vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine), vitamin B9 (Folate), vitamin E, and vitamin K.

However, pinto beans have a higher amount of vitamin B3 (Niacin), and vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid).

Couscous and pinto beans contain the same amount of vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).

The following table shows the exact amount of vitamins couscous and pinto beans contain side by side, so you can easily compare them.

CouscousPinto Beans
Vitamin A00
Vitamin C06.3 mg
Vitamin D00
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0.163 mg0.713 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0.078 mg0.212 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)3.49 mg1.17 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)1.24 mg0.785 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyroxidine)0.11 mg0.474 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate)20 µg525 µg
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)00
Vitamin E00.21 mg
Vitamin K05.6 µg

Couscous vs Pinto Beans Minerals Content

Minerals are important for our body to function properly. We need only a small amount of minerals, so they are called micronutrients.

Some minerals, like iron, calcium, zinc or, iodine, are relatively hard to get on a plant-based diet, so it’s important to choose your foods thoughtfully. This part of the couscous and pinto beans comparison focuses on their mineral content.

Couscous is a better source of calcium, copper, fluoride, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc than pinto beans.

Check out the table below to learn how couscous and pinto beans compare when it comes to mineral content.

CouscousPinto Beans
Calcium24 mg113 mg
Copper0.247 mg0.893 mg
Fluoride02.2 µg
Iron1.08 mg5.07 mg
Magnesium44 mg176 mg
Manganese0.78 mg1.15 mg
Phosphorus170 mg411 mg
Potassium166 mg1390 mg
Selenium2.8 µg27.9 µg
Sodium10 mg12 mg
Zinc0.83 mg2.28 mg

The Final Word

Couscous and pinto beans are highly nutritious and a great addition to a plant-based diet.

Both couscous and pinto beans are high in specific vitamins and minerals, and including them in your diet will give you the most benefits they offer.

Antioxidants found in grains and legumes can help to protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of certain diseases and the effects of aging.

Additionally, the fiber and other nutrients in these foods can support the health of the digestive system and may even help to prevent certain digestive cancers.

Legumes and grains are a versatile food that can be incorporated into any meal of the day, including breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They can be served hot or cold, making them a convenient and tasty addition to a variety of dishes.


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