Sweater weather, the turning of the leaves, pumpkin spice lattes. It's easy to see why so many of us fangirl over fall — it is America's favorite season after all, according to a September 2019 survey from YouGov, a market research firm.
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And with fall comes pumpkin, the "it" produce of the season, making its way into festive foods, drinks as well as holiday décor.
We're obviously fans of the veggie's nutritional benefits but we're big on pumpkin seeds, too. A 1-ounce serving offers 5 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein. It's also an excellent source (providing more than 20 percent of the recommended daily amount) of zinc, magnesium and copper.
So if you find yourself with some leftover pumpkin seeds from this year's jack-o-lantern and aren't quite sure what to do with them, try these easy tricks on cleaning and roasting the seeds along with recipes to enjoy.
How to Make Fried Pumpkin Seeds
The traditional method of roasting pumpkin seeds is by the oven, but you can achieve similar results by pan-frying them. The hot skillet puffs up the seeds and browns them.
When they are done roasting, add sweet or salty seasonings based on what you are craving.
Things You'll Need
Olive or vegetable oil
Spoon or spatula
- Place a skillet on a stovetop set to medium heat.
- Heat the skillet for a few minutes until it feels hot.
- Dip a pastry brush into a bowl of olive or vegetable oil. Brush the oil across the inside bottom of the heated skillet.
- Place pumpkin seeds into the pan.
- Stir the pumpkin seeds around in the skillet with a spoon or spatula continuously until they expand and start to brown.
- Place the pumpkin seeds in a bowl and toss with seasonings. Some suggested seasonings include sea salt, pepper, garlic salt, cumin, paprika, celery salt, ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves or a drizzle of olive oil.
The Best Way to Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Before tossing the seeds into the oven, you'll want to remove as much of the pulp from the seeds as possible. The pulp is perfectly safe to eat, but it can affect the texture or flavor.
Things You'll Need
- Soak the seeds in a bowl of water and use your hands to pull away the pulp.
- Strain once you're done.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Spread the seeds out into a single layer on the baking pan.
- Once the oven has reached its temp, place them in to roast for 15 to 20 minutes. Give the sheet pan a shake about 10 minutes in to keep the seeds from getting too brown on one side.
Recipes With Pumpkin Seeds
1. Sweet and Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Before you put the pumpkin seeds in the oven, you can season them any way you want. Go the savory route by adding herbs, spices and even Parmesan cheese. Or go the sweet route by including cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg and a bit of honey or maple syrup. This recipe combines a little of both and it's delightfully sweet and spicy.
Get the Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Fruit and Cheese Board
Add a little surprise and delight to holiday parties this year by adding pumpkin seeds into your fruit and cheese board. You can keep them plain as-is and let the cheese and fruit steal the spotlight or add a sprinkle of salt to help balance the fruit or any other sweet pairings.
Get the Fruit and Cheese Board recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Pumpkin Hummus
Here, you're not even making the hummus from scratch. Just take unflavored hummus and add canned pumpkin along with some spices. You can add the pumpkin seeds to the top or mix them right into the hummus so you get a bit with each bite.
On its own, hummus is loaded with fiber and protein — and when you pair it with veggies or whole-grain crackers, you're adding even more of both macronutrients. For presentation bonus points, use the hummus to fill a small, hollowed-out sugar pumpkin.
Get the Pumpkin Hummus recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Roasted Carrots With Pumpkin Seeds
The perfect side to any fall dish, carrots are rich in vitamin A to help keep our eyes healthy and immune system strong along with a healthy dose of filling fiber, according to the National Institutes of Health. The mint and lemon in this recipe help bring out the naturally sweet flavor in the carrots.
Top it with pumpkin seeds for an extra satisfying crunch.
Get the Roasted Carrots With Pumpkin Seeds recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Maple Spiced Cauliflower Roast With Pumpkin Gravy
This recipe is a great plant-based option if you're looking to forgo the turkey this year. Instead, "carve" yourself a slice or two from this whole cauliflower topped with a pumpkin gravy made from pumpkin purée, cinnamon, maple syrup and spiced with cayenne and garlic powder.
Cauliflower belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables which are rich in plant compounds that can lower inflammation in the body and reduce the risk of cancer, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Get the Maple Spiced Cauliflower Roast With Pumpkin Gravy recipe and nutrition info here.
6. Curried Chicken and Acorn Squash
This warm bowl of curry includes acorn squash, lean chicken, bok choy and carrots along with pepitas, which soften a bit in the curry. Acorn squash, like other orange and yellow squash, is loaded with beta-carotene, which helps make vitamin A in the body, according to the NIH.
Get the Curried Chicken and Acorn Squash recipe and nutrition info here.