Throughout the winter, there is always a pumpkin in my pantry. The rich orange colour brightens up meals and I know that after a day on my computer, the beta-carotene is helping my ageing eyes.
Beta-carotene is a carotenoid, which like carrots, the caratenoids in pumpkin create the orange colour. These carotenoids provide anti-inflammatory benefits to the body, especially to an ageing body that is moving through menopause.
For those of you who are at your computer or on your phones a lot, then please add these protective Pumpkin Cakes to your meals when you can. I mention this, because beta-carotene is the most suitable and important precursor for vitamin A and in the body, we need vitamin A for good vision and eye health as well as for a strong immune system, and for healthy skin and mucous membranes.
Taking big doses of vitamin A can be toxic, but your body only converts as much vitamin A from beta-carotene as it needs.
In addition to its rich stores of beta-carotene, oumpkin also contains generous amounts of fibre and plant-derived iron. This is particularly important for those of you who are still menstruating, as you need around 12-15mg of iron daily. If you have already moved into post-menopause, then your iron needs are reduced down to around 8mg daily.
Understanding how to change our diet to adjust to our menopause transition is an important aspect of the My Menopause Transformation 12 week programmes. There are certain nutrients that women need as they age, and beta-carotene is one of these. I hope you, or someone in your household can make these delicious Pumpkin and Chickpea Cakes sometime soon. Bon appetit!
Pumpkin and Chickpea Cakes
- 500g wedge pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and cut into 3cm slices
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to fry
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 tsp spice mix – or paprika or cumin
- 2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup roasted salted cashews
- 1/4 cup chopped coriander or parsley leaves
- Preheat oven to 180°C fan bake and line an oven tray with baking paper for easy clean-up. Spread out pumpkin on the tray, drizzle with 1 Tbsp of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender and starting to brown (about 30 minutes).
- While the pumpkin cooks, heat the remaining oil in a frypan and cook onion over a medium heat until softened (5-6 minutes). Add garlic, ginger and spice mix and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Transfer the roasted pumpkin to a food processor and whizz to a purée. Add onion mixture, chickpeas, cashews and coriander or parsley and pulse to break up chickpeas to a coarse mealy crumb – you want a little texture so don’t purée.
- Use lightly oiled hands to form 8-12 soft patties – I usually use about a third of a cup for each. Heat a little extra oil in a heavy based frypan and fry over a medium heat until golden (about 5 minutes each side).
- Serve with a side salad for dinner