Fall is quite easily one of the most beautiful times of the year, in my opinion. I love the summer, but the bright colors of the leaves in fall is truly something to admire. October is the essential fall month – the leaves are starting to fall a little faster, bon-fires become a weekend ritual, and PUMPKIN SPICE EVERYTHING!
Do not misunderstand me, I L-O-V-E the abundance of pumpkin flavored goodies during this time of year. In fact, I’m guilty of hopping immediately on the Pumpkin Spice Oreo and Cheerios bandwagon (both of which were lovely, if you were wondering).
Pumpkins are a central part to celebrating Halloween. Carving a little smiley face into the orange fruit and putting a candle inside…how simple, yet enjoyable. I can remember carving pumpkins when I was younger and how that orange “goop” was the most disgusting thing in the world to me. Scooping out that slime-y, stringy mass of seeds was equivalent to touching brains. Little did I realize, that slime-y, stringy mass of seeds were packed full of really awesome nutrition! Let’s break it down briefly:
Pumpkin seeds (unshelled) contain 125 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 5% of your daily iron needs in 2 tablespoons. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of magnesium, zinc, copper, and selenium (MNT).
According to nutritiondata.com, pumpkin seeds are a rich source of linoleic acid – a polyunsaturated fatty acid. In addition, they really are a great source of magnesium: 1 ounce provides approximately 18% of our daily value (NutritonData).
Why is magnesium important? Magnesium is essential for bone health and has important roles in energy metabolism and cardiac nerve/muscle function.
Don’t let me bore you on the minuscule details while I geek out over my Fundamentals of Nutrition course notes on minerals.
We carve a TON of pumpkins in the U.S. This means, a TON of pumpkins get faces carved in them and are thrown away by November 1. Let me get on my soap box for a second: let’s reduce our food waste! Think of it, those seeds that are thrown out when we carve our pumpkins are perfectly edible and are begging to be roasted and coated in something delicious. There seems to be a simple task at hand for reducing food waste… roast those pumpkin seeds!
When I got my pumpkins this year from a local pumpkin patch, I was already thinking of all the yummy seed recipes I could try. Not to mention, the farm where I purchased the pumpkins also had homemade pumpkin butter, which I had a to buy! Nothing goes better on those pumpkin spice bagels I bought, too…
Two poorly carved pumpkins later, I had a bowl full of pumpkin seeds. I set them out overnight to dry and came back in the morning to roast them. I had about 2 cups worth of seeds so I decided to make 2 one cup batches: one of cinnamon sugar and the other pizza flavored. Admittedly, I enjoyed the cinnamon sugar much more, as I have a pretty insatiable sweet tooth. They were delicious and provided a quick snack to take into class for the next several days.
Below I have the recipes for both batches of pumpkin seeds:
Cinnamon Sugar Coated Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 cup dried pumpkin seeds
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (you may do less, if you wish, I just love my sweets)
- dash of salt
Coat the pumpkin seeds in the olive oil in a bowl. (Remember: a little olive oil goes a long way). Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and dash of salt. Mix (I used my hands to mix and ensure they were coated evenly). Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet into a single layer. Place into an oven preheated to 300 degrees. Bake for about 20 or 30 minutes, checking in on the seeds to prevent any burning.
Pizza Flavored Pumpkin Seeds
- 1 cup dried pumpkin seeds
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 basil
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Coat the pumpkin seeds in olive oil in a bowl. Add the cheese, oregano, basil, sea salt, and garlic powder. Mix. Spread seeds on a cookie sheet into a single layer. Place into a 300 degree preheated oven and bake for 20 or 30 minutes. Be sure to check in to make sure there is no burning.
These recipes were AWESOME. Add these to salads or enjoy them as they are. I found these *recipes, along with 4 other ways to prepare pumpkin seeds, here -> Wholefully.com
*Note: I changed my recipes a little from the website. I used 1 cup of pumpkin seeds per ingredients instead of 1/2 cup. I just thought it was too much olive oil. However, I did double the brown sugar in the cinnamon sugar recipe…for obvious reasons. 🙂 You may modify as you prefer.
Keep in mind though, that these recipes will up the caloric content of the seeds. Olive oil is quite high in calories, and if you’re are making the cinnamon sugar seeds, sugar can add extra calories, as well. If you are looking to watch calories, enjoy your pumpkin seeds in smaller amounts.
I hope that this little ode to pumpkin seeds can inspire you to try out your own roasted pumpkin seeds this fall season.
Happy eating! 🙂