When I'm creating a new recipe, I have a few criteria that I like to meet before I'm actually happy with it. It has to be seasonal, have beautiful color, tons of flavor and I want the recipe to showcase the beauty that is real food. I think this recipe hits all of those right on the nail! It turns out those criteria are your link to a healthy diet as well!
Speaking of color, isn't it strange how we begin to crave the very colors and flavors of the season? Right now I can't get enough orange and yellow. I'm craving pumpkins, butternut squash, yellow lentils, and of course SWEET POTATOES!
I had all intentions of posting a recipe about just sweet potatoes, because let's face it, sweet potatoes RULE! But as I was rummaging through the kitchen I just couldn't help myself. I found some gorgeous greens, crisp apples, and pretty little pearl couscous that kept calling me from my pantry! This was the result...
I like sweet and spicy combinations, so for me, sweet potatoes and chili powder go perfectly together. The potency of chili powder will vary greatly depending on the brand you use. Many chili powders are actually blends of other seasonings including oregano, paprika and garlic powder so experimenting with different types is a good idea (just look for varieties without added salt). Besides adding flavor to a dish, chili powder contains anti-inflammatory properties, minerals and vitamin C to help to boost immunity. If you don't like chili powder you can still make this recipe and I promise it will still be delicious!
Now about those potatoes. I've roasted sweet potatoes many times before but they never seem to come out the way I want them to. They're either under cooked or dried out like a prune. This time, I decided to cover them for the first half of the roasting process which allowed them to retain some of their moisture but also turn golden brown. Score! I roast a whole bunch of sweet potatoes at a time and use them all week long, in salads, mixed with black beans in fajitas, and as a quick snack.
The other star of this recipe is the pearl (Israeli) couscous. I absolutely adore it. They are tiny little bites of pasta made from toasted semolina flour that can be a tasty alternative to rice. I used tri-colored pearl couscous by Bob's Red Mill. But you could use any type of couscous you like including whole wheat.
Because I was using apples in this recipe, I thought an apple cider vinegar-based dressing would work nicely on this salad. And who doesn't like a little maple syrup with their sweet potatoes?! So, I added in a touch of maple syrup to the dressing along with a chopped shallot and some olive oil and whisked it all together. The beautiful thing about couscous is that it absorbs the flavors of the dressing like a sponge, so you get a pop of flavor in every bite.
I hope this salad satisfies your craving for those enticing fall colors and flavors! It certainly satisfied mine for now!
PS- Next week I'm talking about my school Wellness Committee, our fall garden and our plans to join in the nation-wide celebration of Food Day! Please check in for all the details on how you can spread the word about real food and and the importance of food education in your children's school or hometown!
Chili-Roasted Sweet Potato and Pearl Couscous Salad
- 2-3 sweet potatoes quartered lengthwise into wedges
- 1 cup pearl couscous
- 2-3 cups mixed greens
- 1 apple chopped
- handful of dried cranberries
- ½ shallot chopped
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- ⅓ cup olive oil + more for brushing
- crumbled goat cheese
- chili powder
- kosher salt
- Preheat oven 425 deg F.
- Cook pearl couscous according to package instructions.
- Arrange potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Sprinkle on chili powder (the more you add the spicier it will be), a dash of salt and brush or spray a small amount of oil on potatoes.
- Tent the baking sheet with aluminum foil and bake for 15 min.
- Remove foil and bake another 10-15 min until the potatoes are fork tender and lightly roasted but not mushy. (depending on the thickness of your sweet potato you will need to keep and eye on them and adjust cooking time accordingly)
- Arrange the greens on a platter with apples, cranberries and couscous.
- Combine the apple cider vinegar, shallot, maple syrup, and olive oil and whisk together.
- Add dressing to the salad and toss to combine.
- Top with sweet potato wedges and a bit of crumbled goat cheese.