Roasted pumpkin seeds are the epitome of fall. Not only are they the perfect snack on a cold-weather day, they’re also packed with health benefits that make them all the more wonderful to enjoy. Pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, can be eaten on their own or cooked into delicious sweet and savoury recipes. The next time you carve or cook a pumpkin, don’t throw away the seeds. They may be small, but pumpkin seeds are little powerhouses of nutrients. Whether you eat them roasted on their own or cook them into your favourite meals, here are 40 pumpkin seed recipes you need this fall.
5 Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
1. High in Antioxidants
Due to their healthy fat content, pumpkin seeds are super high in fat-loving antioxidants, such as tocopherols and phenols. These antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage, which can decrease your risk of chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease.
2. Boost Heart Health
Pumpkin seeds are also an excellent source of magnesium, in fact, they contain 20% of the recommended daily dose. High blood magnesium levels have been associated with a lower risk of death from cardiac disease. Magnesium supplements have also been found to help reduce blood pressure. On top of that, pumpkin seeds increase your HDL, or “good” cholesterol that keeps your arteries clear of plaque build up.
3. Can Help You Lose Weight
Pumpkin seeds are chock full of fibre, protein and unsaturated fatty acids, all of which are nutrients known to support weight loss. A high fibre diet promotes good digestive health and shelled pumpkin seeds provide 1.1 grams of fibre in a single 1-oz serving. Both fibre and protein increase feelings of fullness, preventing overeating between meals that can lead to weight gain. Raw, unsalted seeds will minimize your intake of fat, calories and sodium.
4. Help You Sleep Better
Magnesium is essential for normal sleep regulation and seeing that pumpkin seeds are a key source of magnesium, it only makes sense that they help you sleep better. They also provide a natural source of tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes a good night’s rest.
5. Improve the Immune System
Pumpkin seeds contain a good dose of zinc and iron, both of which are vital for immune function. Zinc is particularly crucial for your body in terms of immunity, cell growth, sleep and mood. Zinc deficiency has been linked to cold and flu, fatigue and depression. On top of that, the seeds possess anti-fungal and antiviral properties. They’re also not a common trigger of allergies or intolerances.
3 Tips for Cooking Pumpkin Seeds
1. Wash Them First
Before you cook with pumpkin seeds, separate them from their gooey, pulpy fibres and clean them. For best results, do it right when you’ve pulled the seeds out of the pumpkin before the pulp has dried. Put the pulp and seeds into a large bowl of warm water and rub the pulp with your fingers to clean them off.
2. Boil Before Roasting
If you’re making roasted pumpkin seeds, simmer them first in salty water for about 10 minutes. If you don’t do this, your pumpkin seeds won’t roast evenly as the insides cook faster than the shells, making them susceptible to burning. Boiling your pumpkin seeds also makes them easier to digest and will create a crispy outer shell!
3. Bake at 325F
Using a moderate oven temperature (325F) helps cooks the seeds evenly. Roast for about 20 to 25 minutes or until toasted. Remove the baking sheet at 10 minutes and stir. They’re ready when the shell is crispy and easy to bite into. The inner seed should have a hint of golden tinge to it. Be sure to set a timer so you don’t over-cook your pumpkin seeds. Burnt seeds are inedible!
40 Pumpkin Seed Recipes to Try This Fall
1. Easy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds | Inspired Taste
2. Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Seed Cookies | Bon Appetit
3. Roasted Pumpkin Seed Hummus | Half Baked Harvest
4. Green Salad with Apples, Cranberries and Pepitas | Cookie and Kate
5. Pomegranate and Pumpkin Seed Guacamole | Jessi’s Kitchen
6. Flavoured Roasted Pumpkin Seeds 6 Ways | Wholefully
7. Mexican Pepita Salsa | The Immigrant’s Table
8. Spicy Pumpkin Seed Brittle | Tasting Table
9. Black Bean Soup with Roasted Chillies and Pepitas | Bon Appetit
10. Perfect Roasted Pumpkin Seeds | Cookie and Kate
11. Green Salad with Turnips, Strawberries and Pepitas | Country Living
12. Kale and Pumpkin Seed Pesto | My Darling Lemon Thyme
13. Mackerel with Cauliflower Pumpkin Seed Couscous and Tahini | Bon Appetit
14. Vegan Pumpkin Caramels | Minimalist Baker
15. Coffee Roasted Pumpkin Seed Clusters Dipped in Chocolate | Half Baked Harvest
16. Pumpkin Seed Granola | Leelalicious
17. Roasted Pumpkin Seed and Sage Butternut Squash | Fed and Fit
18. Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies | Life Made Sweeter
19. Vegan Pumpkin Bread | A Virtual Vegan
20. Pumpkin Seed Sauce Enchiladas | Mexico in My Kitchen
21. Cinnamon Toast Pumpkin Seeds | Fountain Avenue Kitchen
22. Ultimate Seed Crackers | Downshiftology
23. Mini Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Peanut Butter Cups | Half Baked Harvest
24. Healthy Pumpkin Oat Muffins | The Busy Baker
25. Healthy Pumpkin Bread | iFoodReal
26. Winter Squash Soup with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds | Food and Wine
27. Roasted Tomato and Pumpkin Seed Pesto Toasts | Short Girl Tall Order
28. Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Snack Bars | Sally’s Baking Addiction
29. Sunflower Pumpkin Seed Butter | Fit Mitten Kitchen
30. Pumpkin Seed Encrusted Baked Tilapia | SkinnyTaste
31. Cinnamon Pumpkin Seed Brittle | My Recipes
32. Maple Sriracha Roasted Pepitas | Citnutritionally
34. Pumpkin Seed Salmon with Maple-Spiced Carrots | Eating Well
35. Candied Pepitas | My Recipes
36. Dark Chocolate Beauty Bark with Chia Seeds, Pepitas and Gogi Berries | Feed Me Phoebe
37. Strawberry Peach Crisp with Hazelnut Pepita Crumble | A Calculated Whisk
38. Paleo Snack Bars | Take Two Tapas
39. Pumpkin Pie Pepitas | Against All Grain
40. Paleo Pumpkin Pie in a Pumpkin Seed Crust | The Healthy Maven
Pumpkin seeds are a must for your fall recipe repertoire. If you haven’t roasted or cooked with pumpkin seeds, these recipes are a great place to start!