Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are frequently neglected or discarded, particularly during the season for pumpkin carving. However, these tiny seeds are packed with protein, fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
In addition to their health benefits, pumpkin seeds are extremely versatile in the kitchen, lending texture and flavor to a vast array of dishes.
This article explores the many ways pumpkin seeds can be used, from simple nibbling options to more complex culinary preparations.
What Can You Do With Pumpkin Seeds?
Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are a versatile ingredient that can be used into a variety of dishes. Not only are they delectable, but they are also rich in protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. Here are some suggestions for how to use pumpkin seeds:
Snacking and Toppings
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds: Toss them in olive oil & your choice of spices, then roast them in the oven until golden brown. They make a great snack on their own or can be added to trail mix.
- Salad Topping: Add some crunch to your salads by sprinkling on a handful of pumpkin seeds.
- Yogurt and Smoothie Bowls: They add a nice crunch and a nutritional boost to your breakfast.
- Granola: Incorporate pumpkin seeds into your homemade granola mix for added texture and nutrients.
- Oatmeal: Stir them into your morning oatmeal for a bit of crunch.
- Bread and Muffins: Add them to your dough or batter for homemade bread, muffins, or other baked goods.
- Pesto: Replace pine nuts with pumpkin seeds in your pesto recipe for a different flavor profile.
- Soup Garnish: Use them as a garnish for soups like butternut squash or tomato soup.
- Sauces and Salsas: Blend them into sauces or salsas for added thickness and flavor.
- Stir-Fries and Grain Bowls: Toss them into stir-fries or grain bowls for added crunch and protein.
- Pasta: Sprinkle some over pasta dishes, especially those with cream or tomato-based sauces.
- Tacos and Burritos: They can add a crunchy element to these dishes.
- Coating for Meat or Fish: Crush the seeds and use them as a crust for meat or fish.
- Add cookies and Bars to cookie or bar recipes for extra crunch.
- Chocolate Bark: Melt chocolate and mix in pumpkin seeds along with other ingredients like dried fruit, then let it harden to make chocolate bark.
- Rice Krispie Treats: Add them to the mix for a more nutritious version of this classic treat.
- Candied Pumpkin Seeds: Coat them in sugar syrup and let them harden for a sweet snack.
- Tea: In some cultures, pumpkin seed tea is made for its potential health benefits.
- Oil: Pumpkin seed oil can be used in salad dressings or even as a finishing oil for dishes.
- Pet Food: Some people add pumpkin seeds to their pets’ food for added nutrients (but check with your vet first).
- Crafts: They can also be used for various crafts and activities, especially with children.
- Planting: You can also save them for planting if you’re interested in growing your own pumpkins.
Remember to store pumpkin seeds in an airtight container to keep them fresh for longer. They can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer if you plan to keep them for an extended period.
Can I Eat Raw Pumpkin Seeds?
Yes, you may consume fresh pumpkin seeds. They are filled with protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals, & antioxidants, making them a nutritious snack. Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, have a mildly sweet and earthy taste.
Although they can be ingested raw, roasting them enhances their flavor and texture. Raw or roasted pumpkin seeds can be used in salads, granola, and yogurt or enjoyed as a nibble on their own.
How Much Pumpkin Seeds Should You Eat A Day?
As with all edibles, pumpkin seeds are nutrient-dense and should be consumed in moderation. A standard serving size is between 1 and 2 ounces (28 and 56 grams), or approximately a handful.
This quantity contains a healthy balance of protein, healthy lipids, fiber, and essential minerals such as magnesium and zinc. Consuming pumpkin seeds on a regular basis can provide health benefits, but it is important to consider total daily caloric and nutrient intake.
Pumpkin seeds are more than a byproduct of pumpkin carving or cooking; they’re a versatile and healthful component in their own right.
The possibilities are endless, whether you roast them for a crispy snack, add them to salads for added texture, or incorporate them into baked goods and granola.
You can even make seed butter out of them or use them as a garnish for soups and casseroles. Making the most of pumpkin seeds reduces waste and adds a nutritional and flavor boost to your meals.