I’m going to let you in on a little secret—my favorite part of pumpkin carving isn’t picking out the pattern or admiring my handiwork, it’s scooping out the pumpkin guts! Why? Well, first of all, it’s strangely satisfying to stick your hand in a pumpkin and pull out a big handful of pumpkin goo, isn’t it? Secondly, the seeds! Roasting pumpkin seeds after carving is a tradition in our house. Not only is it fun and seasonally-appropriate, but pumpkin seeds are also nutritional rockstars! Pumpkin seeds are an awesome source of zinc, vitamin E, and manganese.
They are easy to roast—just clean the seeds, toss with a bit of olive oil and your favorite seasonings (I like rosemary, garlic powder, and sea salt), spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 325° for about 15 minutes. Once they are roasted, you have a super versatile, super yummy addition to a lot of your favorite foods. Here are my favorite ways to use pumpkin seeds:
Crunchy contrast to soup
I’m a big fan of hearty soups and stews as the weather starts to turn cooler, but sometimes soup can feel a little hum-drum for my liking. A handful of pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top of a creamy butternut squash bisque or a hearty three-bean chili is an amazing way to add crunchy contrast. No more hum-drum soup!
A guiltless salad topper
Anyone that’s logged some time in the world of nutrition knows that salads can be a devil in disguise for a calorie counter. Lots of low cal, healthy veggies? Check. But along with those some salads pack hundreds (if not thousands) of calories in the toppers (think: cheese, dressings, croutons). For your next salad, skip those toppers and sprinkle on a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds instead. You’ll still get your crunch and flavor, but shave off some calories and gain some nutrients.
Instead of chips or crackers
Call me Captain Obvious, but my favorite way to eat pumpkin seeds is all on their own! They are low-calorie (about 140 calories per half cup, depending on how much fat is used during the roasting process) and are a nice crunchy substitute for nutrient void snacks like chips and processed crackers.
What’s your favorite way to use pumpkin seeds?
photo credit: Divine Decay