Most of us are probably familiar with roasted pumpkin seeds as a healthy, tasty snack, and we tend to consume them mostly during the fall months. But the healthy and nutritious benefits of pumpkin seeds can be enjoyed all-year-round, and in other forms than simply roasted. Pumpkin seeds can be utilized a number of ways and in many different recipes.
For starters, they can be an excellent garnish in salads and some soups, and if you grind them in a spice grinder, you can add them to smoothies as well for an extra dose of nutrition. Of course you’ll want to use seeds that have been removed from their shells for all of these applications.
Pumpkin seeds can also be ground up to be mixed with various sauces, marinades or salad dressings. or added to dough for bread and muffins, not to mention cookies and brownies, or even as a topper for ice cream.
Pumpkin seeds can also be added to cereal or even to ground chopped meat for a uniquely flavorful burger.
To make a delicious salad dressing using pumpkin seeds, try grinding the seeds and then blending them in a food processor with garlic and some other herbs, like parsley, cilantro, or basil, and olive oil and a little lemon juice or vinegar.
If you’ve used fresh pumpkins in any recipes this fall, or if you plan on carving a few, don’t discard the seeds. You can use them for all of the above suggestions and for roasting as well. Simply remove the seeds from the pulp and wash them thoroughly in warm water, and allow to dry.
Roasting will help enhance the natural flavor of pumpkin seeds, but it can also destroy some of the nutritional elements, so you may want to use unroasted seeds for all of the above ideas in order to receive the highest nutritional value.
For basic roasting, spread them on a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with salt or cinnamon, and bake them in a 350° oven for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can test to see if they are done by seeing if any of the insides are completely dry.
Of course, traditional roasted pumpkin seeds is always fun to make, but a number of different recipes also exist for this Halloween snack that can add a little spice and variety to the flavor.
Depending upon your preference, you may want to add either sweet or savory spices and flavors while roasting your pumpkin seeds. For one particular Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds recipe, you would mix together 1-2 tablespoons of melted margarine or butter, a pinch of salt, a pinch of garlic powder, 2-3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce, and two cups of pumpkin seeds. After mixing thoroughly, simply bake them for approximately an hour in a 275° oven, stirring occasionally.
Other tasty variations include sprinkling your pumpkin seeds with powdered cheese, like the kind found on cheesy popcorn, or cajun seasoning, for a spicy southern flair. Garlic Salt is especially tasty on its own, and the indian spice garam masala is a flavorful experience.
Cinnamon and nutmeg are also always favorites. Check your spice cabinet to see what other flavor combinations and variations you can come up with, such as butter and thyme.