Cooking with Pumpkin Seeds
Experience the best of fall flavor with a few of our favorite recipes featuring pepitas straight from the jack-o-lantern.
Shredded Pork and Pinto Tacos with Pepita Slaw
Before: Pork Carnitas Plate. Carnitas are a labor of love, as pork simmers in fat for hours until tender, then gets piled onto a plate with refried beans and rice. Very few veggies find their way into this classic dish.
A half-pound of pork is a gracious plenty for these tacos, which are beefed up with pinto beans, Greek yogurt-amped avocado crema, and a crunchy slaw topped with pumpkinseeds. The plant protein sources make up about half the total amount.
Pepita Pesto-Stuffed Mushrooms
Brown the mushrooms and make the pesto ahead of time, and refrigerate. To serve, bring to room temperature, and fill caps.
Easy Jasmine Rice Pudding
Treat yourself to a comforting bowl of warm, creamy rice pudding and enjoy a better night’s sleep. The goji berries sprinkled on top add fruity chew, while the pepitas offer nutty crunch and a tryptophan boost. Look for both at specialty grocery stores. If you can’t find them, sub tart cherries or pomegranates for the goji berries and walnuts for the pepitas; walnuts also contain tryptophan. A mild, less expensive honey works beautifully here; save the pricier, more robust honeys for a recipe where their flavor will be front and center.
Creamy Turmeric Cauliflower Soup
Briefly cooking the pumpkin seeds and cumin in hot oil—a process known as blooming—draws out the aroma of the seeds and spice and deepens their flavor. Turmeric pairs fantastically with winter produce like cauliflower or root veggies, where its brightness, astringency, and tartness balance the earthy sweetness of the plants. Use plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, if you prefer.
Mango salsa, quinoa, black beans, red pepper, avocado, corn and pumpkin seeds? You can call this the healthy burrito bowl.
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pumpkin Seed-Oat Crumble
We use less sugar in this classic casserole and get sweetness instead from fragrant orange rind and vanilla. Turmeric boosts the orange color and adds a subtle earthiness to the sweet potatoes. Instead of an all-nut or marshmallow topping, an oat streusel made with pumpkinseeds adds crunch and contrast to the dish. Evaporated milk has a concentrated dairy flavor without the added sugar of sweetened condensed milk; it will help the potato base to thicken as it bakes.
Apple Pie-Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Roasted Autumn Veggie Salad with Baby Kale
This hearty salad is brimming with the flavors of fall with ingredients such as pumpkin seeds, brussels sprouts, cranberries, and dark, leafy greens. The salad here is tossed with baby kale, which is much more tender and easier to eat uncooked, which makes it a perfect green to use for a salad like this. The kale delivers a nice and hearty texture while the marvelous toppings here elevate this salad to some gloriously good autumn territory.
Sauté pumpkin seeds in butter with cumin, cinnamon, paprika, cayenne, and a little honey for a sweet, delicately spiced topping to a tossed salad. Substitute them in for your usual nut or seed topping and enjoy the refreshing bite of flavor the pepitas bring.
Roasted Delicata Squash with Honey, Pomegranate Seeds, and Pepitas
Chef-owner Mateo Granados, Mateo's Cocina Latina, Healdsburg, CA: "When I make Thanksgiving dinner, I prepare traditional ingredients like turkey or squash with my own Yucatecan twist."
Sauvignon Blanc-Poached Pears with Spicy Pepitas
The natural acidity of dry Sauvignon Blanc adds a tang that brightens up the sweet syrup on these pears.
Cinnamon Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Pack away the peanuts and make a lightly spiced pumpkin seed brittle instead this fall. Serve it in large pieces for guests to munch on, or use smaller sections to decorate a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Start with toasted pumpkin seeds or, if you'd rather toast them at home, bake then until they start to pop.
Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
Scoop seeds fresh from the pumpkin (no need to rinse) and bake them for an hour until they're dried, then toss them in a skillet with olive oil, celery salt, and ground cumin until lightly toasted. For a sweeter treat, one user suggested adding brown sugar to the mix. Serve as an appetizer or snack during a fall gathering.
Grilled Steak and Nopales Salad
Add crunch to any salad by tossing roasted pepitas with vinaigrette.
Roasted Squash Salad with Bacon and Pumpkin Seeds
Pick up a container of toasted unsalted pumpkin seed kernels and use them to add crunch to dishes throughout the fall. Add a handful on top of a salad drizzled with a homemade bacon-Dijon vinaigrette.
Pepita-Roasted Tomatillo Dip
Dip your chips into a creamy dip that's dairy-free–the smooth texture comes from puréed tomatillos. The tart, faintly sweet flavor of the tomatillos is complemented by fresh cilantro, garlic, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Blend the ingredients and serve in a hollowed gourd or pumpkin.
Fruit-and-Nut Breakfast Bars
Make a hearty breakfast bar that calls for raw pumpkin seeds, dates, almonds, apricots, plums, and sunflower seeds. Bake the bars for about eight minutes on each side, turning when the nuts are lightly toasted but before the fruit begins to brown. The result is a chewy, nutty breakfast solution that keeps for about four days.
Spinach and Pumpkin Salad
Roast your own pumpkin seeds or buy the store-bought, salted variety to add a bright crunch to this zesty spinach salad. A dressing made from pomegranate juice and red wine vinegar gets an extra punch of fall flavor thanks to the toasted pumpkin-seed oil. If you don't have pumpkin-seed oil, you can substitute extra-virgin olive oil.
Pumpkin Soup with Candied Pumpkin Seeds
A generous garnish of candied pumpkin seeds brings out the sweetness of the Vidalia onion in this harvest-season soup. Use a blender to get the soup rich and smooth, then serve in hollowed pumpkins or gourds and top with the sugared pumpkin seeds.
Take this make-ahead strata to a potluck this fall or, as a user suggested, serve it as a main-dish meatless alternative to the turkey on Thanksgiving. The pumpkin seeds in this recipe are optional, but they add a fun texture to the dish and a nice crunch as they brown in the oven, so don't skip them.
Lanny's Salad With Candied Pumpkin Seeds
Candied pumpkin seeds, seasoned with paprika, orange juice, granulated sugar, and brown sugar, bring out the zesty flavor of this salad's bright Citrus-Cumin dressing. Toss the seeds and lettuce with dressing and top the salad with crumbled queso fresco before serving.