Butternut squash seeds may not be as familiar as pumpkin seeds, but they have comparable nutrition and flavor. They are nutty and fibrous, and contain protein and heart-healthy fats. Butternut squash seeds are best roasted and consumed by the handful as a snack, or added to cereals, breads and trail mixes.
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Butternut Squash and its Seeds
The butternut squash is shaped like a large pear with tan skin and light-orange flesh, as described by World's Healthiest Foods. The flesh contains plentiful vitamin A and vitamin C, but the seeds contain more protein, beneficial lipids and ash, defined by the University of Idaho's agricultural division as a food's total mineral matter. The seeds themselves are off-white, tapered ovals under an inch long.
All Recipes' preparation of one cup of roasted butternut squash seeds with olive oil and salt has 216 calories, 8.5 g protein, 19.2 g fat, no cholesterol, 297 mg sodium and 6.1 g carbs, 1.3 g of which is fiber.
Butternut squash seeds are rich in calcium and zinc, and All Creatures lists one cup as having 285.4 calories, 11.87 g protein, 12.41 g fat, 34.4 g carbohydrate and 2.43 g ash. The seeds contain nine minerals, 13 vitamins, 18 amino acids and three fats.
Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate
Butternut squash seeds are a good source of protein, with 11.87 g. According to All Creatures, the protein in the seeds is made up of 18 amino acids, with the top six being glutamic acid; arginine; aspartic acid; leucine; and lycine. The seeds' 12.41 g fat per cup is predominantly composed of heart-healthy monounsaturates and polyunsaturates, with no cholesterol. The carb count in butternut squash seeds most likely approximates pumpkin seeds' carb count of 34.4 g per cup, according to the Calorie Counter.
Vitamins and Minerals
According to All Creatures, the vitamin and mineral tally for a cup of butternut squash seeds is: vitamin A, 39.68 IU; folate, 5.76 mcg; vitamin C, .192 mg; niacin, .183 mg; pantothenic acid, .036 mg; riboflavin, .033 mg; potassium, 588.16 mg; magnesium, 167.68 mg; calcium, 35.2 mg; and iron, 2.118 mg. The Calorie Counter states that this is 12 percent of your daily iron requirement.
Recipes for Roasted Seeds
All Recipes and Nourishing Days both offer a basic recipe of one cup seeds, 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. After rinsing and drying the seeds overnight on a baking pan, sprinkle with olive oil and salt. Roast at 250 to 350 degrees for one hour, or until they are crisp.
All Creatures recipe book adds a twist, replacing the salt with hot sauce. Hot sauce contains capsaicin, a compound that gives peppers their heat and also desensitizes pain receptors in your body, according to Connecticut College's Neurobiology of Disease division.