Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over 20 years. She has cooked on multiple television stations, including the Food Network.
An Easy Autumnal Snack
Autumn is officially here, and with fall comes all the glorious autumn vegetables. Pumpkin, butternut, and acorn squash are here in all their glory, and these gorgeous squashes come with a surprise bonus; roasted pumpkin seeds are like a gift with every purchase. Buy one nutrition-packed food and get a golden, crunchy, flavorful snack as well!
Roasting seeds is really super simple; it only takes a few minutes, and the results are so rewarding. Most of us end up with pumpkin seeds starting at Halloween but don't rule out the opportunity at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Set aside the seeds as you're making other dishes, and roast them up when you have a few moments.
Roasted pumpkin seeds are great on their own, and my kids usually go through a batch as soon as they're ready. But if you can hide them, you can also use them in salads—they're wonderful in a quick kale salad with candied walnuts or dried cranberries. You can also garnish a lovely creamy butternut or squash soup with them.
However you use them, you'll love the results of this quick recipe. Try it yourself for a wonderfully fun fall treat!
- 2-3 cups pumpkin seeds*
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder - optional
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
*We had three relatively small pumpkins, and once cleaned, washed, and dried, we ended up with about 2 1/2 cups of pumpkin seeds. One or two large pumpkins would yield about the same—don't worry too much about the exact amount.
You can also use the seeds from other squash varieties, such as Sugar Pie pumpkins, butternut squash, or acorn squash. They're all delicious, and all roast up into crunchy, golden-brown little bits of wonderful stuff.
- Clean and wash the pumpkin seeds. I find this easiest by dumping the 'mess' from cleaning pumpkins or squash into a colander. Run it all under cold water and simply begin picking out the stringy flesh. For the large bits, just squeeze the tops of the seeds, and they should drop right off. Rinse the picked seeds under cold water and drain as much water as possible.
- Spread the clean pumpkin seeds out onto a baking sheet and spread them out into a single layer. You can pat them dry with paper towels or just toss them occasionally and let them air dry. I'm lazy, so I just let them air dry as I do other things.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- In a small bowl, stir together the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper if using.*
- Once dry, drizzle the seeds with olive oil and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well to get an even coating all over the seeds. Sprinkle on the dry seasoning mixture, and stir again to evenly distribute the seasonings.
- Place the baking tray in the hot oven, and roast for just about 30 minutes, checking the last few minutes to make sure they don't burn. The time can vary based on the maturity of the seeds and how dry they are, so keep an eye on them. Stir the roasting seeds every ten minutes or so to expose as much surface area as possible to the dry heat of the oven—this keeps them crispy!
- Serve seeds immediately as a fun, healthy, delicious, and satisfying treat. This particular batch went immediately as the horde carved pumpkins and worked on painting Mordheim figures—I wish I'd gotten a picture of that!
You can also use roasted pumpkin seeds to garnish creamy soups, such as creamy butternut or pumpkin, or to top a lovely fall salad. They add great crunch and contrast to savory foods.
*We love spicy stuff, and I'll often use a full teaspoon. But if you're sensitive to spicy food, feel free to use half the amount called for, or skip it entirely. You could also add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you'd like to give some variety to the range of spiciness.
© 2017 Jan Charles