The ultimate, healthy fall snack is here.

By Victoria Spencer
September 26, 2019
Raymond Hom

When you're busy prepping a pumpkin to carve or roasting pumpkin or butternut, acorn or kabocha squash for soup or pie or savory purée or focusing on, you might forget that there's a fabulous free snack available. Many cooks compost or just trash the seeds but they are missing out. Roasted pumpkin or winter squash seeds make an addictive crunchy snack; some people might assert that the seeds are the real gift of pumpkin season, and one that's healthy to boot. They certainly make sticking your hand inside a pumpkin worth the hassle.

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of magnesium, which is important for bone formation. They also contain omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber which have benefits for the heart and liver. Here's our favorite method and flavorings for what might just become your new favorite fall snack.

Related: Pumpkin Recipes

How to Prep Seeds to Roast

Here's the revolutionary part and a total timesaver: Save yourself all the sorting and rinsing usually associated with cooking pumpkin or winter squash seeds. Don't rinse off the pulp and pick the seeds out, just roast the whole lot together: The fibrous pulp surrounding the seeds is sweet and nutty, amplifying the flavor of this tasty snack.

Our food editors love to drizzle the seeds in olive oil and toss them with a handful of spices to bring out their nutty, earthy flavor. The seeds can go savory or sweet, they'll take on whatever mix of spices you feel like trying them with. One mix the test kitchen team swears by is fennel seeds, dried oregano, and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; try making our Herby Pumpkin Seeds this season.

For an Asian-inspired twist, blend white sesame seeds with five-spice powder. If you're craving something sweet, try the same technique with maple sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom or this Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seed recipe which uses cumin, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne with a touch of sugar.

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