Many people who celebrate Halloween often let their carving pumpkins go to waste, throwing away those valuable seeds to make Jack O’ Lanterns. Little do they realize the delicious value of their seeds as a healthy snack. Pumpkin seeds have a satisfying crunch and can be flavored better than just about any other seed.
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And speaking of Halloween, instead of tons of sugar-laden candy, you can give your children a sweet and healthy snack they’ll fall in love with. Pumpkin seeds are just that good! You can flavor them to taste like nearly anything, chocolate! And let me tell you, chocolate-covered or cocoa-roasted pumpkin seeds are the legit best! I promise your kiddos will not complain one peep after trying one seed. Getting children into healthy eating habits can be a challenge, but with snacks like roasted pumpkin seeds, your job becomes that much easier.
Another great use for roasted pumpkin seeds is in your favorite salads. These crunchy, flavorful little pods can transform even the most boring salads into scrumptious meals. You can use less salad dressing and save on calories too! I like to keep a few in the car to snack on, and believe me, they come in handy when I hear Arby’s calling!
So this year, don’t let the deliciousness of pumpkin seeds go to waste! Follow this simple roasted pumpkin seeds recipe, and you’ll be munching on a tasty, nutritious snack in no time. Get creative with your seasonings and find the perfect combination that will tantalize your taste buds. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a delicious and healthy treat that you can enjoy all autumn long. So grab your pumpkin, and let’s get roasting!
How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Stop! Don’t throw those raw pumpkin seeds away! Instead, create a healthy and delicious snack that’s ready to eat after just a few simple steps that add the flavor of your choice along with an amazing texture in every single bite. You see, fresh pumpkin seeds are made up of two parts, the pepita (kernel), which has an olive green color, and the outer cream-white colored shell. Both parts are edible, which means you can’t go wrong by roasting the entire raw pumpkin seed to a golden brown while deriving all of its numerous nutritional benefits.
Step 1: Extracting the Seeds
Now prepare to get your hands very messy while preparing your outrageously delicious shelled pumpkin seeds. But trust me, it’s totally worth it! Just follow these easy instructions to help your pumpkin be all that it can be. First, get yourself a large ice cream scoop or spoon to remove the inner stringy fibers and pulp (or, as my kids like to call it, pumpkin guts), and of course, those yummy raw seeds from the pumpkin. Depending on its size, your pumpkin may yield quite a few or not very many seeds. I found success using a 3-pound pie pumpkin in this recipe, and I used the pulp to make pumpkin puree as well for an amazing pumpkin pie. Now that you have your seeds let’s get this pumpkin party started!
Step 2: Rinse and Dry Your Seeds
Next, clean pumpkin seeds by putting them in a colander, then give them a good wash to remove any leftover pumpkin pulp. Don’t be concerned if you have a bit of pumpkin flesh still sticking on them — that’s completely okay! Once you’ve finished washing, dry your seed off as much as you can using a cloth or paper towel. This step is super important because any additional moisture will produce steam which will require that your seeds cook longer.
Step 3: The Seasoning
In this step, you’ll toss your seeds inside a bowl with salt, olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper. Of course, you can use any seasoning you like, but this is my personal favorite mix. Sometimes I might add a dash of cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, or jalapeno salt if I’m in the mood for a little spice. Ensure that you separate your seeds evenly on top of a cookie sheet that’s lightly greased to have even roasted seeds.
Step 4: Roasting
Preheat your oven to 350°F, then roast your seeds for around 12-15 minutes. You will want to toss them about every five minutes to get even browning. After the seeds start to give off a deliciously nutty aroma and achieve maximum golden brownness, it’s time to collect your perfect roasted pumpkin seeds!
The Many Benefits of Roasting Your Pumpkin Seeds
It’s Easy: While you’re scooping out your carving pumpkin and removing the seeds, you can begin preheating the oven to save time, and you have easy roasted pumpkin seeds that are ready in just minutes.
Flavors: I think I can safely assume you have a pantry stocked full of yummy seasonings you can use to create some very tasty and unique snacks. You can use seasonings like garlic salt and chili powder. Or try cumin or curry powder for a more umami flavor. If you like sweet and crunchy treats, try using maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, or pumpkin spice. Also, you can use other oils other than olive oil, such as coconut oil, vegetable oil, or melted butter. There’s no limit to the diverse fresh pumpkin seed recipes you can find and create! Other great ideas include dried oregano, Italian toss, barbecue toss, onion powder, and smoked paprika.
They’re Nutritious: While you can take the time to peel them, there are several nutritional benefits to derive from eating whole pumpkin seeds. The shells are a great source of fiber and zinc and have nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, iron, and magnesium. According to the nutrition facts from the USDA National Nutrient Database 28 grams or 1 ounce of raw pumpkin seeds contain:
- Protein: 5.3 grams
- Fat (most unsaturated): 5.5 grams
- Carbohydrates: 15 grams
- Total dietary fiber: 5 grams
This nutritious snack is packed full of essential vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, making them perfect for any diet. They can easily replace unhealthy snacks like chips or even candy. Here’s a bit more on how these amazing little seeds can benefit your body.
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of dietary fiber, which helps to promote healthy digestion and may help to reduce cholesterol levels. They are also a rich source of minerals, including magnesium, zinc, iron, and phosphorus. Magnesium is important for maintaining healthy bones and muscles, while zinc and iron are essential for a healthy immune system. Phosphorus is important for growth and development.
They are also a great source of plant-based protein, providing 14 grams of protein per one-ounce serving. This makes them an excellent option for vegetarians and vegans looking for a high-protein snack.
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of healthy fats, providing 12 grams of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fat per one-ounce serving. Monounsaturated fats are beneficial for heart health, while polyunsaturated fats are important for brain health and development.
These seeds are also an excellent source of antioxidants, which help protect the body from free radicals and cell damage. They are also a great source of vitamin E, which helps protect the skin from sun damage and may help to reduce the risk of certain cancers.
And last but not least, pumpkin seeds are a great source of tryptophan, an amino acid that plays an important role in mood regulation. Eating pumpkin seeds can help to improve mood, reduce anxiety, and even help to improve sleep.
Overall, pumpkin seeds are a nutrient-dense snack that provides a variety of health benefits. They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, minerals, protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, and tryptophan. Eating pumpkin seeds can help to promote healthy digestion, reduce cholesterol levels, improve mood, and even help to improve sleep. So grab a handful of pumpkin seeds and enjoy their delicious and nutritious benefits today!
Delicious Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds raw
- ¼ tsp Paprika optional
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp kosher or sea salt
- ⅛ black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350°F
- Rinse your pumpkin seeds in a colander, removing any fibers and leftover pulp. Dry completely using a towel.
- Using a small bowl, mix together your pumpkin seeds, salt, olive oil, paprika (if applicable), garlic powder, and black pepper.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet pan using olive oil. Spread your pumpkin seeds on the baking sheet pan evenly.
- Bake your seeds for about 12-15 minutes until they are nice and toasty. Flip and stir them in 5-minute increments to achieve even toasting. Check after about 10 minutes by tasting a roasted seed or two to judge crunchiness.
- Transfer your freshly roasted pumpkin seeds into a bowl and allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
You can easily double or even triple this pumpkin recipe, depending on the number of seeds you get out of your pumpkin. And by the way, if you're wondering which pumpkin types have the most seeds, that would be the Atlantic Gian, Big Max, and Dill's Atlantic Giant varieties. These pumpkins have a reputation for yielding massive amounts of seeds.
To make the process of separating the strings, pulp, and seeds a little easier, add everything inside a medium bowl. Then fill it with warm water and use the palm of your hands to rub any pulp or strings off your seed. Allow the cleaned seeds to float up to the top as you continue working. Just skim the top of the water to collect your seeds with a slotted spoon. Transfer your seeds to the colander for a good rinse before you begin drying.
Remove leftovers from your baking sheet pan and tore your seeds inside an airtight container; they are usually suitable for up to two weeks.
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