Pumpkin Seeds, The Perfect Autumn Snack

October 5, 2018

Fall is here and with it comes cooler weather, beautiful color changes, and delectable seasonal flavors including, you guessed it, pumpkins! Probably the most recognized icon for Halloween is the jack ‘o lantern. Millions of people every year make their way to pumpkin patches (or their local grocer) to find those perfect pumpkins for showing off their Halloween spirit. Almost as diverse as the shapes and sizes are the many faces, shapes, and symbols that get carved into them. A beacon of treats to come, jack ‘o lanterns offer some special treats of their own – the seeds. Anyone who’s carved a pumpkin is all too familiar with scooping out the gooey innards and the handful of seeds that come with it. What you might not realize is the nutritional benefits of pumpkin seeds.

Pumpkin seeds might be small in stature, but they’re big in protein. In just 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds, there are 7 grams of protein and no cholesterol. On top of being a protein-rich snack, they are also a great source of important minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. If you’re still on the fence, consider the added benefit of the antioxidants like carotenoids and vitamin E found in pumpkin seeds. Antioxidants have a range of health benefits from reducing inflammation to protecting you against diseases.

While there’s no set way to prepare pumpkin seeds, the most common method is to roast them. Like any method, however, people have been experimenting with different techniques and seasonings to create recipes so varied that there’s most certainly something for everyone. Remember to save those seeds, because you’ll want to try these great recipes for cooking up the perfect Autumn snacks.

For those new to cooking pumpkin seeds, we recommend trying the traditional roasting method first. Obviously, you don’t have to start here, but it will give you a good idea of the seed’s natural flavor and can help you decide what types of seasonings to experiment with or other recipes to try.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

The traditional way to prepare pumpkin seeds.

Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 tsp. salt

Instructions:

  1. Once the seeds have been removed from the pumpkin, thoroughly clean them. A tip for doing so is to use a bowl of water. Fill the bowl with water and pour in the seeds. Swish them around to easily separate the pulp from the seeds.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. While the oven is preheating, bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Boil the pumpkin seeds for 10 minutes. Pour through a mesh strainer.
  4. Using paper towels, dry the seeds. Some like to let the seeds dry overnight, but it isn’t necessary. We recommend trying both methods to find your personal preference.
  5. Toss the seeds in the melted butter and salt then lay them out on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees, mixing the seeds occasionally on the pan, for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Let cool and enjoy!

Garlic Parmesan Pumpkin Seeds

If you like garlic bread (let’s be honest, who doesn’t?) then you’ll love this variation of the traditional roasting method.

Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt

Instructions:

  1. Once the seeds have been removed from the pumpkin, thoroughly clean them. A tip for doing so is to use a bowl of water. Fill the bowl with water and pour in the seeds. Swish them around to easily separate the pulp from the seeds.
  2. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  3. Dry the seeds with paper towels and place onto a well-greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 300 degrees for 25 minutes to dry them.
  5. Mix all ingredients into a bowl and toss the seeds.
  6. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  7. Let cool and serve.

Taco-Lime Pumpkin Seeds

Combining summer flavors with your favorite fall snack.

Total time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice

Instructions:

  1. Once the seeds have been removed from the pumpkin, thoroughly clean them. A tip for doing so is to use a bowl of water. Fill the bowl with water and pour in the seeds. Swish them around to easily separate the pulp from the seeds.
  2. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
  3. Toss the seeds in the melted butter then mix in cilantro and taco seasoning.
  4. Spread the seeds over parchment paper on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Let cool and serve.

 

Your imagination is the limit when it comes to adding a creative twist to a healthy easy-to-make snack. If you like these recipes, be sure to explore the many others in our blog.

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