As another summer begins to draw to a close, only a few weeks remain until farmers markets and grocery stores everywhere are flooded with an orange wave of fresh pumpkins just waiting for you to take home.
After spending the day carving and painting pumpkins, it seems like a no-brainer to toss the mess of stringy flesh-covered seeds in the trash. But what if we told you that these slimy seeds could be used to make a delicious snack you’re guaranteed to love?
Roasted pumpkin seeds are a quick and easy treat that helps you reduce food waste and make the most out of your pumpkins. Pumpkin seeds consist of a cream colored shell as well as an olive colored kernel (or pepita) that are both packed full of flavor and irresistible texture.
Not only do they pack a crisp, nutty flavor, pumpkin seeds are also a great source of protein, fiber, and minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Best of all, you can use the same roasting method for other winter squashes such as butternut squash, blue Hokkaido, and many more!
This year, set aside your seeds, and follow this recipe for a treat that’s as nutritious as it is tasty and easy to prepare.
Here’s what you’ll need to make two cups of roasted pumpkin seeds:
- 2 cups of fresh pumpkin seeds (or however much you can scoop from a single 3 pound pumpkin – larger pumpkins usually have tougher seeds)
- 3 tablespoons of melted butter (or cooking oil of your choice)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of your favorite spice blend (we suggest harissa, chili, and curry powder)
- 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce (optional)
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. While there are times when it’s okay to skip the warm-up, this isn’t one of them. Preheating the oven guarantees that the seeds cook evenly so they come out perfectly roasted and full of crispy flavor.
Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly grease with either butter or cooking oil. You’ll thank us later after the quick and easy cleanup!
If you haven’t already removed the seeds, do so by cutting around the top of the pumpkin using a strong, sturdy knife. Once you’ve removed the top, take a large spoon and scrape the sides of the pumpkin to the seeds and pulp out.
Place both the seeds and the pulp into a large, roomy bowl. There’s no doubt the seeds are going to be a bit messy, so now you’re going to get your hands dirty by removing any flesh and gunk from the seeds.
As you continue to separate the pulp from the seeds, leave the pulp in the large bowl while transferring your seeds to a separate bowl.
Now it’s time to get your seeds ready for seasoning. Take the most clean seeds and add them to a pot of boiling salted water, then simmer for about 5 minutes. The boiling water will clean the seeds even further while the salt starts to season them.
Once your seeds are finished boiling, drain and rinse the seeds while pulling away any remaining bits of pulp. Pat the seeds dry with a towel, making sure to get them as dry as possible.
Not only does excess water keep the seeds from roasting properly, but the seasonings you will use later stick better to dry seeds. Extra moisture will also create more steam in the oven and prolong the overall baking time.
Time to season! Place your dry seeds back into a bowl, and toss with butter or your choice of oil. Add in your seasonings, and mix until all of the seeds are thoroughly covered.
Finally, your seeds are ready for baking. Line your seeds onto your baking sheet, making sure to spread them evenly in a single layer. Stick them in the oven, and bake for 45 minutes (adjust if seeds are smaller than normal). Check your seeds every so often, stirring and tossing them at least two or three times while they bake.
This prevents any burning caused by oven spots and ensures your seeds come out evenly roasted.
Now that your seeds have been cooked inside and out, it’s time to make them crispy! Once they’re finished baking at 250°, crank the oven up to 325° and let the seeds cook until they are properly browned and dry (this takes about 5 minutes).
When the seeds give off a pleasant nutty aroma and golden color, they are definitely ready!
You can serve your newly roasted pumpkin seeds immediately, or you can store and enjoy them at a later date (if you somehow manage to resist snatching them right off the tray).
If storing for later, wait for the seeds to cool before transferring to an airtight container. Seeds can be stored for up to two weeks!
What To Do With Your Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Once you’ve learned how to successfully roast pumpkin seeds, the options are truly endless!
In addition to enjoying them on their own as a healthy snack, there are plenty of ways to use and incorporate roasted pumpkin seeds into your fall routine. Luckily for you, we’ve listed a few here:
- Pair with any nuts, sweets, or dried fruit to create the ultimate trail mix. Roasted pumpkins seeds can even replace nuts without compromising the crisp, nutty flavor.
- Use to garnish your favorite pumpkin soup recipe for a delicious addition to any warm autumn day. Try one of our favorite pumpkin soup recipes here.
- Combine with fresh produce and homemade dressing to create a deliciously fresh salad, like this beautiful apple walnut salad.
- Roasted seeds make the perfect crunchy topping to any smooth and creamy cheese spread, and will definitely make you the talk of every party this fall and winter.
Hopefully we’ve convinced you that pumpkins can be used for far more than just making pies and carving Jack O’Lanterns.
This Roasted Pumpkin Seeds recipe is just one of our favorite ways to use pumpkin seeds, and we guarantee you’ll have no problem finding a dozen more!