At the eXtreme Hotel and Taino Farm, our focus is on living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. We all love eating delicious food but many of us don’t realize many of the tasty treats you find at a grocery store are detrimental to both your health and your environment. On the other hand, we know after the hundredth time that plain kale and olive oil salad can get pretty tiresome. So, we decided to put our wonderful produce from Taino Farm to use and create the Taino Farm and eXtreme Hotel’s Organic Cookbook. The collaborative project is designed to benefit not only the eXtreme staff, Taino farm workers and hotel guests, it can also be tweaked slightly (depending on what is local and available) to make healthy, amazing food wherever you are in the world. We chose recipes with three things in mind:

1. Are the ingredients grown locally and sustainably? Read about the importance of growing and buying local and organic food in my previous article.

2. Is it affordable and easy to make?

3. Are the ingredients nutritious and delicious?

I’ll be posting the recipes individually on the Taino Farm blog and the whole thing will be available at the end. Look out for a “GL” throughout the recipes to signify which ingredients are grown locally!

Eggplant and Sweet Potato Salad

A colorful and delicious salad for the Taino Farm and eXtreme Hotel's Organic Cookbook!

A colorful and delicious salad for the Taino Farm and eXtreme Hotel’s Organic Cookbook!

This salad is a nice break from traditional green salads.  All the vegetables in it can be grown locally in the north of the Dominican Republic, and are often in abundant supply.  Eggplants and sweet potatoes are great ground cover plants and thus are staples at our developing farm. It can be made in advance, and stores in the fridge quite well.  Just be sure to add the avocados and tomatoes right before serving.

Eggplants, sweet potatoes and tomatoes from Taino Farm as well as locally sourced garlic and cucumbers.

Eggplants, sweet potatoes and tomatoes from Taino Farm as well as locally sourced garlic and cucumbers.

Ingredients:

2 eggplants, purple or yellow GL (Or replace with squash or portabella mushrooms)

2 sweet potatoes GL

1-2 large avocados GL (Out of season or don’t grow locally? Try pureed and cooked asparagus or broccoli!)

4-6 tomatoes, yellow or red GL

1 whole cucumber, skinned and chopped GL

salt/pepper to taste

¼ onion finely chopped GL

2 cloves raw garlic, grated GL

a sprig or two of fresh tarragon GL

¼ olive oil (or coconut oil)

1.)  Slice eggplants into bite sized chunks, toss with about 1/8 cup olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and cook in the oven at about 375 for approximately half an hour, or until done.  Let cool.

2.)  Slice sweet potatoes into bite sized chunks and toss in 1/8 cup olive oil.  Bake at 375 until done, set aside to cool.

3.)  Slice tomatoes, cucumber & avocado into a large bowl.  Add the cooked vegetables, and the remaining ingredients.

Variations:  This salad can be made with any root vegetable (yucca, potato etc…) and with or without eggplant.  It is an example of a filling vegetarian side dish, utilizing local vegetables, that is both healthy and delicious.  The tarragon can be replaced with cilantro, or basil.  Also delicious with fresh lime juice served on top.

A giant bowl of locally sourced eggplant and sweet potato salad!

A giant bowl of locally sourced eggplant and sweet potato salad!

Note: Original recipes by Kelsey Rush. Post and photography by Lynsey Wyatt.