Chickpeas (Cicer arietinum L.), commonly known as garbanzo beans, are an old world pulse (i.e., edible seeds). A pulse is an edible seed in the legume family and when it comes to our health as we move through menopause, chickpeas are a great source of plant-protein. One cup of chickpeas gives you around 39 grams of protein – that’s more than enough protein in one meal.
The origin of the chickpeas is thought to have been Levant and ancient Egypt [Wallace et al, 2016] which makes sense as the plant prefers temperate and semiarid regions. It’s no surprise that India is the world’s leading producer of chickpeas.
For those of you in menopause and post-menopause whereby your periods have ended, then there is another reason that you may want to consider adding chickpeas to your weekly menu. This is because they contain phyto-oestrogens. These are naturally occurring chemicals of plant origin that have the ability to cause oestrogenic and/or anti-estrogenic effects due to their structural similarities to the human hormone oestradiol.
If women are thinner or leaner, as Lyn is in the image below, then I do encourage oestrogenic foods in the diet and this is why I have two separate 12 week programmes, which differ depending if women are overweight or not.
If women are overweight or carrying a lot of belly-fat, then just ease back on the oestrogen-rich foods, especially animal foods. Fat cells also make their own oestrogens so for women who are overweight or obese, then this may mean that excess oestrogens are not only being stored but also produced in fat-cells (more on this later this month!).
As I travelled the world over the past 3 weeks, I wanted to ensure that I had enough plant protein during my day, so invariably I would look on various hotel menus for chickpeas, usually in the form of hummus and flatbreads but now that I’m home, this delicious chickpea recipe is back on the menu in my house. The family love it and I hope you do too.
Spiced Orange, Carrot, Chickpea Bake (modified from Ottolenghi’s Test Kitchen recipe)
Makes enough for 4 people
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 6 garlic cloves
- a handful of coriander
- 2 1/2 tbsp berbere spice
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 2 carrots
- 2 sweet potato
- 2 tins of chickpeas
- 2-3 oranges: 1 left whole and the rest juiced
- salt and pepper
- Slithered almonds
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees fan bake.
- Put the onion, garlic, coriander stalks, berbere spice, tomato paste, honey, 1 tbsp of vinegar, 4 tbsp olive oil and the salt and pepper into a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste.
- Put the blitzed onion mixture, carrots, chickpeas, sweet potato and orange juice and 150ml of water into a large baking dish. Toss everything together to combine.
- Cover the dish with tinfoil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the tin foil and return to the oven for 30 more minutes (stir through at halfway).
- Meanwhile, peel and segment the whole orange and then roughly chop the flesh. Put this into a medium bowl along with the chopped coriander leaves, the remaining 2 tbsp of vinegar, the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper. Mix to combine.
- When ready to serve, spoon the coriander salsa and slithered almonds all over the top.
Wallace TC, Murray R, Zelman KM. The Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Chickpeas and Hummus. Nutrients. 2016 Nov 29;8(12):766. doi: 10.3390/nu8120766.