Spicy Sweet Potato Black Bean Israeli Couscous Salad

[Serves 4]

For the Vinaigrette:

1/2 c rice vinegar

1/2 to 1 chipotle pepper packed in adobo sauce, finely chopped (up it to 1 1/2 to 2, if you dare) 

1 T adobo sauce from the canned chipotle peppers

2 t mild-flavored honey

2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

3/4 c mild olive oil or canola oil

salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For the Salad:

1 c + 2 T chicken or vegetable stock

4 medium or 2 large sweet potato (about 1 1/2 lb), peeled and diced into 1/2" cubes

4 T extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 t finely minced garlic

1 1/2 c Israeli couscous (also called pearl couscous)

1/2 c canned black beans, rinsed well and drained

4 scallions, white and green parts, chopped

1/2 c chopped cilantro

smoked paprika, for dusting

Heat oven to 400° F.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, chipotle, adobo sauce, honey and garlic, then slowly add the olive (or canola) oil and whisk until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring broth and 3/4 c water to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover to keep warm.

Put sweet potatoes on a large baking sheet, drizzle with 2 T oil, toss to coat and spread out in a single layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast, turning occasionally, until potatoes begin to brown on corners and are just tender inside, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven; keep on pan until ready to toss with couscous.

Heat the remaining 2 T olive oil over medium-high heat, add the couscous and toast, stirring often, until lightly golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the warmed broth-water mixture and salt, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until couscous is tender, 9 to 10 minutes.

Drain the cooked couscous well, and place in a large serving bowl. Just before serving, toss with a bit of the vinaigrette. Add the roasted sweet potatoes, black beans, scallions, cilantro and another generous splash of the vinaigrette; gently toss again. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary, adding more vinaigrette if too dry. Be careful not to overmix.

Serve warm or at room temperature, generously dusting the top of each serving with smoked paprika.

Inspired by a similar salad from Sendik's