Don’t even think about tossing those pumpkin seeds after cleaning out the inside of your Jack-o’-lantern-to-be — you just got a free dinner ingredient (or snack) with the purchase of your pumpkin.
The seeds, known as pepitas, can be seasoned, roasted in the oven and eaten as a healthy snack, or can be used as an ingredient in a tasty dish. They’re a very good source of phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, antioxidants and phytosterols; and they’re also a good source of protein, zinc, copper and iron.
Why not throw those pumpkin seeds in the oven to roast while you’re busy carving the next best Jack-o’-lantern on the block? When you’re done, you’ll have a toasty, nutritious snack waiting for you.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with the way you season your pumpkin seeds. Try these unique ideas:
Whether you’re craving something savory or sweet, pepitas can add some extra flavor and nutrition.
Halibut with pepitas, capers and tomatoes
We’re big fans of pairing pumpkin seeds with fish, and this Cat Cora recipe does it beautifully. Plus, you can munch on some of the roasted pumpkin seeds while you’re cooking the halibut. We also recommend experimenting with pepitas-encrusted fish if you’re feeling adventurous.
Lemon pepita pesto & London broil
Our favorite on the list, this recipe from Cheeky Kitchen makes for a delicious, hearty meal that really hits the spot after a long day. And the pesto — made with basil, garlic, pepitas, lemon and coconut oil — is just as phenomenal on fish.
Roasted figs with honey & pepitas
Oh, yes — pumpkin seeds can even be used in desserts. For all of you with a sweet tooth, try this healthy recipe from Ingredients, Inc. Not only is it incredibly easy to make, but it also consists of just five ingredients: fresh figs, cooking spray, honey, pepitas and Parmesan cheese.
Sweet potato & pepita stuffing
Introducing your new favorite Thanksgiving dish — guaranteed to impress the in-laws. This stuffing recipe from Real Simple takes full advantage of seasonal produce, combining sweet potatoes and pepitas with Italian bread and fresh sage. If it were up to us (it’s not), we’d substitute this for sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving — marshmallows just don’t belong at the dinner table. (Sorry, Mom.)
Pepita-roasted tomatillo dip
Everybody loves a good dip — especially if it’s not bound to end up on your hips. This pepita-roasted tomatillo dip from Sunset (and featured on MyRecipes.com) is the perfect fall appetizer when served with tortilla chips. The pureed tomatillos — not cream — provide the smooth, rich texture, and one serving clocks in at only 36 calories.
For more insanely creative and healthy ways to get pumpkin on your plate, click here.