You may have wondered why roast pumpkin seeds. In fact, roasted pumpkin seeds are among the healthiest snack foods available. This article will give you the scoop on these crunchy seeds. Read on to find out why. Here are three reasons why you should try roasting them.
- Pumpkin seeds are a delicious snack! But first, you should know how to clean them! Read on to learn how! In addition to cleaning them, you should also let them dry completely before roasting them.
- Pumpkin seeds are high in fiber and contain nutrients like zinc. Pumpkin seeds are rich sources of magnesium and zinc. Moreover, they keep your heart healthy. Moreover, they are high in alpha-linolenic acid, a type of plant-based omega-3 fatty acid. This fatty acid helps prevent inflammation, improves heart health, and is rich in antioxidants. So, pumpkin seeds can boost your daily intake of these nutrients.
- Pumpkin seeds can be eaten raw or roasted. For this, you can scoop out the pumpkin seeds, remove any stringy parts, and toss them in olive oil or seasoning. To roast pumpkin seeds, place them in the oven for about 15 minutes, stirring them halfway through the cooking time. Depending on the water content of your pumpkin, the seeds may take a little longer to roast than the others. After roasting, store them in an airtight container and enjoy!
- Pumpkin seeds are very versatile. You can add them to salads, soups, and granola. You can also add them to pumpkin pie overnight oatmeal! They are delicious and nutritious! You can make these delicious snacks anytime, anywhere! You can also add them to your favorite recipes – roasted pumpkin seeds are perfect for a salad topping, and are perfect for snacking! You can even make a healthy pumpkin pie granola with them!
- Roasted pumpkin seeds are easy to make. All you need is three ingredients, fifteen minutes of prep time, and about 30 minutes of cooking time. You can start roasting the seeds by cleaning them and preparing them. You can also add your favorite spice or herb blends for a delicious snack. For example, you can season them with chili powder, curry powder, or herbs. Roasting pumpkin seeds is a delicious and nutritious snack! Just remember that they are also delicious on their own.
- You can add flavor to the pumpkin seeds with spices. The classic recipe is salt and pepper, but try different spices and herbs to find the perfect combination for you. You can add smoked paprika, garlic powder, cumin, or chile powder. Just make sure to roast them at a temperature that is not too hot or you could risk burning them. If you want to add more spice, add an additional tablespoon of sugar.
- When cleaning the pumpkin seeds, make sure to remove the flesh from them. The seeds will float to the top of the water when rinsed, so make sure to remove the pulp from the seeds first. The seeds should be clean before roasting, so wash them well! You may also want to boil the seeds in salty water to separate them from the pulp. Afterward, dry them thoroughly with a kitchen towel.
First, let’s address a big question here.
Are Pumpkin Seeds and Squash Seeds the Same?
The answer is yes, and no. While a lot of people use these words interchangeably, there’s a slight difference: all pumpkins are squashes, but not all squashes are pumpkins. Basically, winter squash is a term that defines the family to which pumpkins belong, along with butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and other types of squash. You can differentiate between different types of squash by their sizes, colors, and the characteristics of their stems. Their seeds slightly vary depending on the type, too, so we will simply group them together and refer to them as winter squash here in this post, for the sake of clarity.
Nutritional Value of Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
1 cup of pumpkin or squash seeds, which is around 64 grams, contains:
- Calories: 285.4 kcal
- Fat: 12.4 g
- Protein: 11.9 g
- Carbohydrates: 34.4 g
- Fiber: 11.8 g (48% of daily value)
- Sodium: 1626.2 mg (68% of daily value)
- Potassium: 588.2 mg
- Calcium: 35.2 mg
- Iron: 2.1 mg
The seeds also contain magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
Eating pumpkin and squash seeds can offer a lot of health benefits. Here are some of them:
- Since these seeds are high in protein and fiber content, they will keep you full for a longer time and eliminate cravings. So, these are perfect snacks when you’re trying to lose weight or introduce healthier eating habits to your kids. Substituting chips or pretzels with these seeds are also a great, healthy choice. However, you should always stick with the suggested daily serving quantities, as these snacks are still calorie-dense. Eating more seeds than the suggested amount can lead to weight gain, so you need to mind the quantity.
- The fiber content in these seeds can help to combat health issues such as diabetes, abnormal blood sugar levels, and irregular cholesterol levels. You should definitely add squash seeds to your daily diet to increase your fiber intake.
- These seeds also contain an important amino acid component known as tryptophan which is useful to induce sleep. However, you’d need to consume a larger quantity than your recommended daily intake to make it work.
- Another major benefit provided by these seeds is the presence of antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to help break down harmful toxins in your body and cleanse your internal organs. They can protect your heart and prevent various types of cancer.
- Pumpkin and squash seeds are also high in vitamin E, which can promote healthy skin and hair while providing some anti-aging properties. Apart from these, vitamin E can also boost your liver, heart, and brain health.
All these health benefits should be enough reason to include squash seeds in your daily diet. However, as we’ve warned before, be sure to avoid consuming these in larger quantities due to their high-fat content and calorie count.
How to Eat Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
A lot of people prefer to consume these seeds in their raw form. They have an amazing buttery and nutty flavor and can also be eaten roasted or baked. In this section, we’ll discuss the simplest ways of preparing pumpkin seeds, which is by roasting or baking them.
1. Roasted Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
Roasting pumpkin seeds is the easiest way of preparing them, whether to be eaten in their plain form or to be used in recipes. You can easily roast them at home without having to go for store-bought ones, which will help you save money. All you need is a big pumpkin, some oil, a resealable bag, a pan, and a stove. It’d be wasteful to throw away the seeds after eating or using the pumpkin.
- Cut open the pumpkin using a sharp knife. This step can be a little tricky, and sometimes downright hard. Be careful with the knife and open the pumpkin through the center.
- You will see the seeds in the central part of the fruit. The flesh of the pumpkin can be slimy and wet, so you’ll have to separate and remove the seeds carefully using a spoon or your fingers.
- Wash the seeds thoroughly to remove any leftover flesh and pulp. Once done, let them dry at room temperature for a while (preferably overnight). This step is crucial as it will ensure an even coating of oil and create the perfect roast.
- Once dried, coat all seeds evenly using vegetable oil. You can use any oil of your preference. We’d recommend using extra virgin olive oil as it is the healthiest option and the most suitable one for a healthy diet. Use as little oil as possible to keep the calorie content low. Measure the appropriate amount of oil depending on the number of seeds you’re using and put them in the resealable bag. Shake the bag to mix the seeds well and to let the oil coat them evenly.
- Next, transfer the contents of the bag to a pan and roast them over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
- When done, let them cool at room temperature, then transfer them to an airtight container for storage.
2. Baked Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
A few people prefer baking pumpkin seeds to use them in dishes. Baked pumpkin seeds also taste amazing when eaten raw.
Here, we’ll give you the simplest and most basic recipe to make baked pumpkin seeds.
- 1 cup of dried pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- A pinch of salt.
Equipment: Baking sheet, parchment paper or aluminum foil, a resealable plastic bag, and of course, an oven.
You can follow the same steps to extract the seeds from the pumpkin and dry them, as mentioned above.
- Put the seeds, oil, and the optional pinch of salt in the resealable bag and mix well to coat the seeds evenly. Meanwhile, set the oven to 300°F to preheat.
- Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. This step will allow for easier cleanup. Spread the oil-coated seeds on the parchment paper and put the baking sheet into the oven.
- Bake for around 15 minutes, or until you can hear a popping sound. Once they are done, remove the tray from the oven and let the seeds cool for a few hours at room temperature.
Your baked pumpkin seeds are ready to eat. You can season them as you please, to eat them as a snack, or store them in an airtight container for later use.
Apart from the basic pumpkin seeds, you can also consider roasting and baking the seeds of various other types of winter squash, such as butternut squash, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, and the leftover seeds of Jack-o-lanterns. Each type of seed slightly varies in taste and size, but they all provide high nutritional value. You can experiment with all kinds, depending on the season and availability.
Varies Ways to Prepare Roasted and Baked Pumpkin Seeds
Now that you’ve learned the basics of roasting and baking these seeds, we’ll take a look at a few ways of using them in different recipes and dishes.
1. Popular Seasoning Blends
You can use seasoning to add flavor and character to your pumpkin seeds, which will make for a great appetizer, side dish, or healthy snack for you and your family. There are a lot of seasoning combinations and flavors that you can easily buy from the store or online. Some of the most popular seasoning blends that go well with these seeds are taco seasoning, Cajun seasoning, and Indian garam masala or chaat masala.
To make deliciously seasoned pumpkin seeds at home, we’ll share four seasoning blend recipes with you.
Spicy Seasoning: Mix 1/8 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin powder, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add it to roasted or baked seeds and mix thoroughly.
Lemon and Pepper Blend: Mix 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of salt. Drizzle it on your pumpkin seeds.
Creole Seasoning: Mix 1/8 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper powder, 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper powder, a pinch of mixed herbs, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add it to roasted or baked seeds and mix thoroughly.
Italian Seasoning: Now, this seasoning combination will need a few more ingredients than the usual, but it’s worth the effort. To make this, mix 4 teaspoons of oregano, 4 teaspoons of basil, 4 teaspoons of rosemary, 4 teaspoons of thyme, 4 teaspoons of marjoram, 4 teaspoons of savory, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add it to roasted or baked seeds and mix thoroughly.
These are just a few ideas to serve as an inspiration to make your seed-snack delicious. You can also experiment with your own seasoning combinations and flavor ideas.
2. Homemade Granola Bars
Making granola bars at home is another healthy and delicious way to use pumpkin seeds. It is super easy and takes only around 10 to 15 minutes to prepare.
- 1/2 cup of peanut or almond butter
- 1 1/5 cups of dried fruit or nuts (raisins, cranberries, almonds, cherries, etc.)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup of honey
- 1 1/2 cups of rolled oats
- 1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup of sunflower or sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup of coconut flakes (preferably unsweetened, optional), a pinch of salt, and some oil.
- Mix all the wet ingredients together. Meanwhile, set the oven to 300°F to preheat.
- Next, add all the dry ingredients to the mix and fold until combined. Use one or two teaspoons of water, if needed, to adjust the consistency of the mixture.
- Spread the mixture on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Shape the mixture into bars depending on the size and thickness you want. Don’t make them too thick, though, as they won’t cook evenly.
- Place the bars in the oven and bake for around 20 to 22 minutes. Once done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for a while.
- When the bars have been cooled, refrigerate them for about an hour. Wrap them and place them in an airtight container for storage.
You can also prepare these granola bars in huge batches and wrap them in parchment paper to store them for 7 to 10 days. These are great for snacking and can be included in a healthy diet.
3. Breakfast Cereal
You can also use pumpkin seeds directly on your cereal, oatmeal, or granola for breakfast. Use oats, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, and berries for a delicious and nutritious breakfast idea.
How Long Can Roasted or Baked Seeds Be Stored?
Roasted or baked pumpkin and winter squash seeds can be stored for a pretty long time privded they are kept in airtight containers in a dark, dry, and cool place. Even though they don’t necessarily go bad within a few weeks, it’s better to use them while they are still fresh. You can store roasted pumpkin seeds at room temperature for about three months to enjoy them fresh and delicious. And to prevent them from going stale for about a year, you can keep them in the refrigerator.
We hope that we’ve managed to pique your curiosity about pumpkin and squash seeds with this post. Instead of tossing them, you can now go ahead and use them in various recipes. Or, you can always enjoy them as a healthy and nutritious snack. We’re sure you’ll understand what we’re talking about on your very first attempt!