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Favorite Fall Foods (Part 2): Eggplant and Beets

In this second installment of my three-part “Favorite Fall Foods” series you’ll find two picks from a real triple threat expert, registered dietitian nutritionist, chef and cookbook author Jackie Newgent.

Read on to learn why Jackie loves eggplant and beets, two colorful and tasty fall foods. 


The start of football season and eggplant go together so well for me as the purple-skinned vegetable is the main ingredient in my favorite party dip, baba ghanoush. Of course, since I’m half Lebanese, the dip is always at the top of my list anyway! Eggplant is also something I love to toss onto the grill in lieu of burgers or steaks, too. As for the eggplant skin…I eat it; it contains the anthocyanin phytonutrient nasunin, which is a powerful antioxidant that can protect your cells.















Yield: 8 servings

Serving Size: 1/4 cup


1 (1 1/4-pound) eggplant, cut crosswise into 10 to 12 rounds

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons tahini

Juice of 1 small lemon (2 tablespoons) + optional lemon zest for garnish

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon harissa or a few drops hot pepper sauce

1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


1. Brush the eggplant rounds with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. In batches, place eggplant rounds into the grill pan, cover with a lid or heavy-duty aluminum foil, and grill until well charred and fully cooked through, about 7 minutes per side.

2. In a food processor, add the eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, salt, harissa, smoked paprika, cumin, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Pulse several times until combined, but not pureed.

3. Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with the parsley and, if using, lemon zest, and serve.

Nutrition Info Per Serving (1/4 cup): 90 calories, 7g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 6g total carbohydrate, 2g dietary fiber, 2g sugars, 1g protein

Source: Jackie Newgent, RDN, chef, nutritionist and award-winning author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook



There’s nothing more naturally beautiful than the gorgeous fuchsia hue that beets provide to cuisine. Whenever they’re in season, especially during fall, I frequently pick up organic beets from my farmers market and create “pink” dishes with them. (Pink has always been my favorite color!) That vivid color is from phytonutrients naturally found in beets, called betalains, which have anti-inflammatory properties!





Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups


2 medium fresh organic or local beets with leaves*

1/4 cup unsweetened jasmine green tea (or water), hot or cold

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon (1 1/2 tablespoons juice)

2 large garlic cloves

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

10 ounces dry whole grain linguine

2 ounces soft artisanal goat cheese, crumbled

1/4 cup fresh small basil leaves


1. Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 350°F. Wash, dry, and remove the leaves from the beets; thinly slice the leaves and chill until ready to use. Wrap the beets in recycled aluminum foil and roast in the oven until cooked through and tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, scrape off the beet skin using the dull side of a paring knife. Then chop the beets.

2. In a blender, add the chopped beets, tea, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, and salt. Blend until velvety smooth, at least 2 minutes. Set aside. (Hint: Be careful! This puree will stain anything you splatter it onto, including you!)

3. Bring a large saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Add salt to the water, if desired. Add the linguine and cook according to package directions. (Alternatively, try my lid-cooking technique to save energy: After stirring the linguine into the boiling water, cover with a lid, and turn off or remove from heat. Let cook without heat per the same timing suggested on the pasta package!)

4. While the pasta is cooking, pour the beet puree into a large sauté pan and bring just to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the beet greens, and cook while stirring until the greens are wilted, about 5 minutes.

5. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta to the beet sauce and gently toss with tongs to combine. Add desired amount of reserved cooking liquid (if any) and gently toss to combine.

6. Transfer to a large serving bowl and sprinkle with the goat cheese and basil. Sprinkle with additional lemon zest, if desired, and serve. (Hint: If you have them on hand, pan-toast some pine nuts and sprinkle them onto this pasta, too!)

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 360 calories, 9g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 5mg cholesterol, 580mg sodium, 60g total carbohydrate, 11g dietary fiber, 8g sugars, 15g protein

*Each beet weighed 6 1/2 ounces without leaves before roasting. After roasting and peeling, the total weight of the beets was 10 3/4 ounces. The amount of sliced beet leaves I used was 2 cups packed.

Source: Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, chef, nutritionist and award-winning author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook

To learn more about Jackie Newgent and all her amazing cookbooks, visit her website.

Here are some other great recipes using beets and eggplant from Food, Fitness & Fiction:

Shredded Beets with Crumbled Feta and Creamy Citrus Dressing

Mediterranean Vegetable Mix and Brussels Sprouts, Beets and Sweets

You Can’t Beet This Recipe, Honey!

Mia’s Whole Grain Pizza with Arugula, Eggplant and Carmelized Onion

You can also check out Part One of my Fall Food Finds series featuring sweet potatoes and cranberries here.



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About The Author

Elisa Zied is a nationally recognized and award-winning health and nutrition expert, author, speaker, and spokesperson. A trusted source of food, nutrition, and health information, Elisa has garnered millions of media impressions, lending her expertise and real-world perspective to dozens of TV shows, web sites, news organizations and magazines. She’s the author of four nutrition books. An avid walker, she loves motivating others to #moveitorloseit. A book lover, she recently earned a certificate in children’s literature from Stony Brook Southampton and is currently working on several young adult novels. You can find her previous Food, Fitness & Fiction posts here and connect with her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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