The Sweet Nip of Autumn in the Air

The Sweet Nip of Autumn in the Air

by Maia Bedson

Autumn 2018, Living Well Magazine

We have had a stunning summer here in the Yarra Valley with long days of soft sunshine, a few scorching days (just to remind us of the languid opportunity the season presents), and nights that have made it a pleasure to be outdoors, listening to the sound of the owls and other nocturnal creatures on their evening forays.

However, lately there has been no mistaking the turning of the season with the blue skies and golden sunshine days evolving into clear, crisp evenings where some warmer clothing is required.  And the wombats have been coming out to munch on the grass earlier – a sure sign!

When considering a recipe for this magazine, I wondered what could combine some qualities and deliciousness of both seasons – baked sweet potato with a coleslaw and babaganoush filling came to mind.

Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are from the Convolvulaceae family and are quite distinct from white potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), which are from the (Solanaceae) nightshade family. In addition to looking different, they are also quite different in their nutrient profile.

Sweet potatoes are one of the highest sources of beta-carotene, which our body uses to make vitamin A. The addition of flaxseed or olive oil boosts absorption of their beta-carotene. They are also high in vitamin C, B-group vitamins and a host of other nutrients.  As well as containing many antioxidants, sweet potatoes are anti-inflammatory, high in fibre, and help to balance blood sugar levels with research showing they are helpful for people dealing with diabetes. And apart from all the science, they taste great and are satisfying!

As with all my recipes, feel free to experiment and adapt according to your tastes. For example the different combinations for the vegetable topping are numerous; if you are used to fermented foods, sauerkraut or kimchi make a wonderfully robust addition. And different herbs and spices can be added like chlli flakes, parsley, coriander, thyme, Vietnamese mint, pepper, grated turmeric or ginger. Balsamic vinegar or miso paste can add some extra ‘bite’.

Make your own masterpiece!

Baked Sweet Potato with Shredded Veggies & Babaganoush

TAHINI-FREE* Babaganoush

(can be made the day before)


  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 lemon – zest and juice
  • Pinch of salt (I like Murray River salt)
  • Olive oil

*The reason this recipe excludes tahini, is because we avoid processed nuts and seeds in the Gawler healing diet.


  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees
  2. Prick eggplant all over with a fork (leaving skin on)
  3. Place on a baking tray and into oven for 40 minutes
  4. Remove from oven and cool enough to handle
  5. Peel skin from the eggplant beginning from the stalk end, taking care to remove all the pieces of the skin
  6. Cut the flesh into pieces and place in a food processor, adding the crushed garlic, lemon zest and juice and salt
  7. While the food processor is running, pour a drizzle of olive oil through the chute – just enough to make the mix a dipping consistency although it may be a little runny at this stage
  8. Place in a glass storage container with lid and refrigerate for 1 hour (this is important as it will allow the flavours to deepen and also give a firmer texture)

Baked Sweet Potatoes


Small to medium size sweet potatoes – one per person (best to use ones that are narrower and longer than short and wide)


  1. Preheat oven to 220 degrees
  2. Scrub surface of potatoes under running water, pat dry, then prick all over with a fork (leaving skin on)
  3. Place potatoes on an oven tray and bake for 30-40 minutes, until a fork can easily be inserted

Shredded Veggies


Shred 2 cups of vegetables: cabbage, carrots, kale, celery, beetroot, zucchini (or any other combination you like)


  1. While the sweet potatoes are still hot, place on individual plates and slice in half lengthwise. Open both pieces so they are on the plate side-by-side.
  2. Drizzle some flaxseed (or olive) oil over the flesh of the potatoes, cover with shredded veggies and then spoon babaganoush down the centre of the shredded veggies.

Serve and enjoy.

Note: Left over babaganoush should be consumed within 3 days.

Maia Bedson
Therapist, Facilitator, The Gawler Cancer Foundation & Yarra Valley Living Centre
DipHol Couns, Grad DipCounsHS, Grad DipClinNut

Maia is a counsellor, meditation instructor, a practitioner of various forms of natural therapies who has worked in the area of energetic healing for over 20 years, and has worked at The Gawler Cancer Foundation since 2000. She has a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Nutrition as well as formal qualifications in plant-based nutrition, counselling and psychotherapy. Maia uses her various skills and the experience gained from her own healing to inspire and support others on their path to wholeness and has a particular interest in helping people to access their own inner wisdom.