After Labor Day, so it’s officially pumpkin season. And what better way to celebrate than with pumpkin seed recipes? Sure, you could head to your favorite purveyor of coffee and pick up a pumpkin spice option, but why not try something new this year?
Pumpkin seeds make great complements to salads and sandwiches and a variety of other treats. And they’re surprisingly healthy.
Pumpkin Seed Recipes Nutrition Information
According to Nourish by WebMD, pumpkin seeds have been used nutritionally for over 7,500 years in the Oaxaca Highlands of Mexico. And they were considered a folk remedy even before that. Pumpkin seeds have been used to treat urinary tract and bladder infections, high blood pressure and blood sugar, kidney stones, and parasites.
They provide a potent mix of protein, unsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that reduce risk factors for cancer and chronic conditions.
Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds
The good news about pumpkin seeds doesn’t end with how they can be used medicinally. According to Healthline, these tiny treats contain a wealth of health benefits.
- They’re filled with healthy nutrients, including 1.7 grams of fiber, 5 grams of carbs, 7 grams of protein, 13 grams of fats, 18% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K, 33% of your recommended daily phosphorous, 42% of manganese, 37% of magnesium, 23% of iron, 14% of zinc, and 19% of copper
- They’re low in calories, at only 151 calories per ounce
- They’re high in antioxidants, like carotenoids and vitamin E that can reduce inflammation and protect your body from free radicals. In one study, they reduced arthritis in rats with no side effects
- Consuming pumpkin seeds can lower your risk of certain cancers, such as stomach, breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancer
- They’re high in magnesium, which helps control blood pressure, reduce heart disease, form and maintain healthy bones, and regulate blood sugar
- They may increase heart health by improving blood flow and reducing plaque growth in arteries
- They contribute to healthy testosterone levels
- They contain tryptophan, an amino acid that may help you sleep
Ways to Use Pumpkin Seeds in Recipes
There are nearly two dozen ways to use pumpkin seeds in recipes. They range from soups and salads to snacks and even main courses.
- Use as a crust for meat or fish
- Top soups
- Make pumpkin seed brittle for yourself or as a gift
- Mix it into your cookie batter
- Replace your peanut butter with pumpkin seed butter
- Add it to your granola or trail mix
- Roast them to eat as a snack
- Blend them into pesto
- Include them in your next batch of focaccia or flatbread
- Sprinkle them on top of your salads or oatmeal
- Use them instead of almonds in your cake batter
- Mix them with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs to create a salad dressing
- Sprinkle on top of baked goods, or use them to make a crumb topping
- Add them to homemade or store-bought hummus
- Fancy up your tacos by sprinkling some on top, or add them to your next batch of salsa
How to Prepare Pumpkin Seeds to Eat
You can purchase shelled pumpkin seeds, called pepitas, ready-to-eat at the store. But if you want to prepare them yourself at home for some pumpkin seed recipes, it’s easy to do with just a few simple steps.
Step 1: Get Seeds Out of the Pumpkin
Cut the top of your pumpkin and scoop out the seeds and flesh inside
Step 2: Clean the Seeds
Rinse the seeds in a colander and remove any remaining pumpkin flesh
Step 3: Dry the Pumpkin Seeds
Gently pat them dry with a towel and consume them raw if you wish
Step 4: Soak the Seeds in Saltwater
If you prefer them roasted, it is recommended to soak the seeds in a saltwater brine
Step 5: Soak and Dry the Seeds
If you use a brine, soak for at least 6 hours, then let air dry. You can pat them dry with a towel if you’re in a hurry
Step 6: Coat the Pumpkin Seeds
Toss your seeds with olive or coconut oil or butter
Step 7: Add Any Seasonings
Toss again with any seasonings you like. Consider parmesan, paprika, curry powder, garlic powder, “everything but the bagel” seasoning, or a mix of these or other options. You could also choose sweet options like maple syrup, brown sugar, or cinnamon. Or combine the two for a sweet and salty treat
Step 8: Roast the Pumpkin Seeds
Roast at 325 degrees for 30-45 minutes. They will be chewy when they first come out of the oven but will crisp up as they cool
20 Best Pumpkin Seed Recipes
But what if you want to do something other than roast your seeds or eat them raw? There are plenty of pumpkin seed recipes available to you.
1. Maple Bourbon Pumpkin Seed Brittle
This delightful recipe from Lively Table takes just 7 ingredients and less than 30 minutes. It’s not only a great snack but also makes a perfect gift for the holidays. Butter, bourbon, and maple syrup combine with pumpkin seeds in a treat that might make you consider giving up peanut brittle for good.
2. Vegan Veggie Sandwich
This recipe from The Kitchen Girl will please even your meat-eating family and friends. It combines greens, peppers, carrots, onions, cucumber, avocado, apples, and pepitas. Start by slathering hummus on your whole grain bread, add some romaine, and top with all your other ingredients.
3. Roasted Pumpkin Hummus
If you’re looking for a hummus recipe with Fall flavors, this roasted pumpkin hummus is just what you need. Like traditional humus, this recipe calls for chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and tahini. But it also calls for a slice of roasted pumpkin. Garnish with smoked paprika, cumin, parsley, and pumpkin seeds.
3. Maple Pumpkin Seed Butter
Nutrition in the Kitchen offers us an excellent option for Fall that is an alternative to peanut butter you can whip up in your kitchen in no time. And the 5 ingredients it takes are probably already in your pantry.
Avocado oil is recommended, but you can use olive oil if it’s what you have. Maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt are in most homes. You may only need to buy pumpkin seeds.
4. Spiced Pumpkin Granola
Lively Table has a scrumptious option for the Thanksgiving season. You can eat this as cereal, top your yogurt, or just munch on it as a snack. Its flavor comes from pumpkin puree, maple syrup, pecans, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and pumpkin seeds.
5. Roasted Squash & Apples
If you’re looking for something a bit more hearty, this side dish from Eating Well can liven up your Thanksgiving Day table. Or add a delightful zest to any weeknight meal.
If you’re vegetarian, you could even use it as a main dish. Start with acorn squash and two apples. Toss them with a blend of pumpkin pie-type spices, dried cherries, and toasted pepitas.
6. Pumpkin Pie Energy Balls
You don’t have to use pumpkin seeds for this recipe from Nutrition in the Kitch, but they give them a crunch and flavor that can’t be beaten. The recipe calls for Sea Berry Puree, which may be challenging to find. But you can make it without this ingredient.
The consistency will just be a bit drier. Besides pepitas, you can also roll these bite-sized protein balls in coconut flakes, hemp seeds, or chocolate chips.
7. Black Bean Soup with Roasted Poblanos
You start off this Bon Appetit recipe by broiling the poblano peppers. Blacken them for 8-10 minutes, then put them in a bowl and top it with plastic wrap so they can steam for another 15 minutes.
While they’re steaming, toast your pumpkin seeds. Toast a pasilla chile in the same skillet. Cook garlic, onion, and puree in a blender with chiles and tomatoes. Return to heat, add beans and top with queso fresco and toasted pepitas.
8. Trail Mix Baked Oatmeal Muffins
This breakfast recipe from Lively Table is part granola and part breakfast pastry. You can adjust the ingredients in this to suit your tastes.
The original version calls for applesauce, but you can substitute any fruit puree you choose. Use any sweetener you prefer, and either flaxseed or chia seeds. Top with pepitas, dried fruits, nuts, other seeds, or chocolate chips.
9. Roasted Pumpkin Seed Dip
Pumpkin seeds are excellent options for snack foods. This pumpkin seed dip, also known as Sikil P’ak is an ancient Mayan recipe made from pumpkin seeds and tomatoes. It’s similar to hummus, made from raw ground, unsalted pepitas, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and lime juice. It’s finished with orange juice, hot sauce, salt, and cilantro.
10. Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Butter Cups
Look no further if you’re searching for a dessert recipe that will satisfy all your friends and family members with special dietary restrictions and everybody’s taste buds. Nutrition in the Kitchen shows us how to make these chocolate pumpkin seed butter cups that are dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and nut free.
Pour melted dark chocolate and coconut oil into lined muffin tins to create the cup shape that will envelop your pumpkin seed butter.
11. Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Seed Cookies
These cookies from Bon Appetit have a spicy surprise inside. It contains smoked Spanish paprika. It also has flaky sea salt, bittersweet chocolate chunks, and a cup and a half of raw pepitas. Cook these for 18-20 minutes until they are firm but soft in the center.
12. Super Seed Snack Bars
These healthy snack bars from Eating Well are sure to satisfy you. They use raw, unsalted pepitas, tahini, honey, vanilla, coconut, sunflower, chia, and hemp seeds. Make sure you line your cookie sheet with parchment and spray it with cooking spray. This mixture will get a bit sticky when you’re putting it together before it goes into the oven.
13. Ultimate Fall Salad
This salad from Nutrition in the Kitch may be the tastiest one you’ll ever have. And it’s plenty hearty enough to be a complete meal.
Start with cooked chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, and kale, then add pumpkin seeds, blackberries, and sliced apple. Dress your salad with a blend of chia seeds, maple syrup, pumpkin seed, olive or avocado oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper.
14. Gruyere and Thyme Cheese Ball
For another excellent appetizer option, follow this simple recipe from Copy Me That that combines grated gruyere, cream cheese, white wine, thyme, pepper, and shelled pumpkin seeds. You can also make this recipe in the Spring and Summer by swapping the pumpkin seeds with sunflower seeds.
15. Thai Pumpkin Soup
You can whip up this pumpkin soup from Nutrition in the Kitchen quickly in your blender. Combine onion, olive oil, tomato paste, Thai curry paste, pumpkin puree, ginger, garlic, vegetable broth, and full-fat coconut milk.
Add whole grain bread, coconut palm sugar, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Heat all your ingredients on the stove, blend and pour into bowls. Sprinkle with pepitas and serve.
16. Pumpkin Pie Protein Bars
Protein bars are a delightful way to start your day or a perfect pick-me-up after a workout. And when you make your own, you can control what goes into them. This makes them an ideal alternative to store-bought varieties. This Nutrition in the Kitch recipe uses pumpkin seeds in the bar and as a garnish on top.
17. Pumpkin Seed Chutney
Chutneys are typically served for breakfast in the Indian tradition. Peanut chutneys are common, but this option from Blissful Bites by Tay will satisfy even those with nut allergies. Keep in mind, however, that while some chutneys are shelf stable, this one is not. You will need to store it in the fridge.
18. Pasta with Vegan Pumpkin Seed Pesto
You’ll need nutritional yeast for this recipe from Exceedingly Vegan. It can be more challenging to find in your local grocery store, but if you can track some down, this recipe will be worth it.
Combine lemons, pumpkin seeds, water, nutritional yeast, salt, and garlic in a blender. Add this pesto to the onion and wilted spinach, toss with pasta, and top with parsley.
19. Vegan Pumpkin Caramels
Who doesn’t love the combination of pumpkin and caramel? It’s a quintessential fall flavor. Because they’re vegan, these caramels from Minimalist Baker are made with Medjool dates. You can use pumpkin butter or puree and finish the project by coating your caramels in pepitas.
20. Coffee Roasted Pumpkin Seed Clusters
For a decadent dessert that is sure to delight, try these clusters from Half Baked Harvest. They also make an ideal gift for any Fall or Winter holidays during pumpkin seed season. Start with 3 cups of raw pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried. You’ll also need a cup of pepitas.
Begin by roasting your raw seeds for 15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and add pepitas, pistachios, flax, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, coffee grounds, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss and toast again. Dip the clusters in chocolate and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and more coffee grounds.
How to Make Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Olive Oil or Butter
- Maple syrup or honey (if you want your seeds sweet)
Step 1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking
Step 2. Pour pumpkin seeds onto the pan
Step 3. Toss with oil, salt, and optional sweeteners
Step 4. Bake at 425 for 12-16 minutes, stirring every 5 to prevent burning
Step 5. Remove from oven, add spices of your choice and toss to coat
Pumpkin Seed Recipes FAQ
How do you let pumpkin seeds dry out before you cook them?
The first step is to wash the fibrous tissue of the pumpkin off your seeds. You then have two options for drying. You can put them in a dehydrator for 1-2 hours at 115 to 120 degrees. Or use a warm oven for 3-4 hours, stirring to keep them from burning.
What happens when you eat too many pumpkin seeds?
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of many nutrients, but you can have too much of a good thing. Because of their high fiber content, Medicine Net explains pumpkin seeds can keep you regular. But eating too many can lead to gas and bloating. In the long run, they can cause constipation rather than prevent it.
Who should avoid eating pumpkin seed recipes?
People who are allergic to pumpkin seeds shouldn’t eat them. But Healthify Me explains that people on diuretics should also avoid them.
Those with low blood pressure should also avoid pumpkin seeds, and young children shouldn’t eat them because of the choking risk. If you’re on any prescription medications, you should consult your doctor before consuming them.
Pumpkin seeds have incredible health benefits. But roasting them isn’t the only way to enjoy this superfood. You can use many pumpkin seed recipes to add this little gem to your menu all season long.