What are you going to eat while waiting for those Halloween trick-or-treaters? Too often I dip into the candy bowl (many times) as I wait for the doorbell to ring. But this year, I’ll have an alternative snack that is both delicious and much healthier – roasted pumpkin seeds.
Packed with iron and protein, pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, can be eaten whole or shelled, raw or roasted. My 3½ pound pumpkin (used for the pumpkin butter that we’re still enjoying) yielded about 1 cup of whole seeds. Here are raw hulled and whole seeds.
Before I get to the roasting recipe, here are a few pumpkin seed-roasting tips:
- Hulling pumpkin seeds. Unless you find a trick that I didn’t, don’t bother shelling your own seeds (before roasting) using the 30-minute boiling method. In the first place, the shells are healthy and quite edible. Secondly, this method requires you to first crack the shells using a rolling pin. I couldn’t figure out how to do that. Third, even if you can do it, why bother? If you really want shelled seeds, buy them that way or crack them after roasting.
- Simmering pumpkin seeds before roasting. I tried a suggestion from Elise Bauer of Simply Recipes; simmering whole pumpkin seeds in salted water for 10 minutes before roasting them to make them extra crispy. I think her tip does work, but the difference in crispiness is not huge. I included it as an optional step.
Roasted Sweet and Salty Pumpkin Seeds
Serving 1 cup Cost – $.50 if you already have the pumpkin.
- 1 cup whole pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1½ tablespoons of maple syrup
- Coarse sea salt or kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Measuring spoons
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper (optional)
- Colander or strainer
- (Optional step) Put the seeds in a pot with 4 cups of water and 1½ tablespoons of salt. Bring the water to a boil and lower the heat to keep it simmering for 10 minutes. Drain the seeds.
- Dry the pumpkin seeds on a dishtowel or use the low, slow oven drying method above.
- Pour the seeds into the bowl, add the oil and toss until all the seeds are covered. Then add the maple syrup and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt if you simmered them in the salted water.
- Spread the pumpkin seeds on the baking sheet in a single layer. I use parchment paper because I hate cleaning the oil off after roasting, but if you don’t have any, you can use a “naked” baking sheet, as long as the pumpkin seeds are well covered with oil.
- Roast them for approximately 20 minutes, turning them once mid-way through. In looking around online, I found roasting temperatures (for whole pumpkin seeds) that varied from 325 degrees to 400 degrees. I chose 350 degrees because that is the temperature I often use for roasting nuts. The seeds on the left were simmered in water, while the ones on the right were not. The simmering process seemed to reduce the roasting time. I let the ones on the right get a bit overdone; they roasted for 30 minutes, but 25 minutes would have been optimal.If your seeds are larger (from a larger, decorative pumpkin) they will take longer to roast. However, I saw one reference (from Whole Foods nutrition information) suggesting that roasting for longer than 20 minutes may create harmful changes in pumpkin fats. So, for larger seeds, consider raising the oven temperature to 375 or even 400 degrees to keep the roasting time to 20 minutes or less.