Roasted pumpkin seeds! Arguably the best part of carving jack-o-lanterns for Halloween, these little nuggets are PACKED with vitamins and minerals, and one of the World Health Organization’s recommended sources of the mineral zinc (which is vital for a lot of biological functions in the human body: cell growth and division; fertility; immune system; taste, smell and appetite; skin, hair and nails. Basically, you need that sh*t). Plus, they have almost 10 grams of protein per 1/4 of a cup of seeds – they are pretty much nutritional overachievers.
The best part? Pumpkin seeds are like little blank canvases for whatever taste you’re craving. You can have them plain, salted, spicy, sweet….you name it. Without further ado, here’s what you do!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Step 1: Remove those little guys from the pumpkin and set them aside.
Roll up your sleeves and get ready to get your hands dirty, because this is the most fun part! They usually come in clusters, so try to grab the majority of a cluster and remove them from the pumpkin (instead of ambiguously digging through the pumpkin “pulp”). Set them aside on a plate or dish.
Step 2: Clean those babies.
Your pumpkin seeds will be kinda slimy and covered in orange pumpkin pulp. Do your best to pick out the larger pieces of pulp and any sketchy-looking seeds. Once they have been picked over, dump them into a colander and give them a good rinse. Ready to get your hands dirty again? While running water over your seeds, sift through them and try to pick out any pieces of pumpkin that snuck by.
Step 3: Dry ’em off.
Place into a shallow dish or large plate lined with paper towel and pat them dry. They will stick to the paper towel, just gently remove them. They don’t have to be bone dry, but remove the excess water the best you can.
Step 4: Boil those suckers. (Optional)
Add the pumpkin seeds to a medium-sized pot of water along with 1 tsp salt. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes over low-medium heat. Apparently, this method helps make the pumpkin seeds easier to digest and produces a crispy outer shell during roasting. I almost never do this because I am the most impatient lady on the face of the Earth, and I just want to eat them. But I’ll throw it out there if you are trying to achieve Pumpkin Seed Perfection. If you boil them, just drain back into the colander and repeat Step 3.
Step 5: Prepare for take-off (/roasting).
Spread the seeds in a single layer on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Time for options!
Salty: Drizzle a little olive oil (just enough to lightly coat the seeds), toss the seeds until they are coated and sprinkle sea salt to taste.
Savory: Drizzle a little olive oil (just enough to lightly coat the seeds) and toss the seeds until they are coated in oil. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 teaspoon each garlic, salt, cumin, coriander and cardamom. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the seeds until they are evenly coated.
Spicy: Drizzle a little olive oil (just enough to lightly coat the seeds) and toss the seeds until they are coated in oil. In a small bowl, mix 1/2 teaspoon each onion powder, salt, chili powder, cumin. If desired, add 1/4 tsp (or less) of cayenne pepper. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the seeds until they are evenly coated.
Sweet: Drizzle a little oil (coconut is my fave, you’ll have to melt it in the microwave first) and toss the seeds until they are coated in oil. Mix 1 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, cloves and ginger and 1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle over the seeds.
Step 6: Roast ’em.
Once you’ve chosen your pumpkin seed flavor adventure, roast the seeds at 325°F for 10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and stir (this will ensure they cook evenly). Roast for another 8-10 minutes (if your oven temp is off, this could vary a lot!). During the last 5 minutes of roasting, remove a few seeds and crack open to make sure the inner seeds are not burning (you don’t want the inner seed brown, and they cook faster than the outer husk). Cool a couple and pop them into your mouth to test. Roast until they are just crisp and golden (they should not be brown). They will become crispier as they cool.
Step 7: Enjoy! 😛
These pumpkin seeds are some of my favorite fall snacks, and they never last long around my kitchen (especially when they are hot out of the oven). Hope you enjoy them!