When I was a kid, Halloween to me was mainly about the roasted pumpkin seeds! Sure, I dressed up and went trick-or-treating around my neighborhood, but candy just wasn’t my thing. I loved Mom’s roasted pumpkin seeds! She would sprinkle them with salt and roast them until they were toasty-tasty, much like these Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. The kitchen smelled heavenly! These days, my grown-up palate likes these kicked-up Spicy Tamari Pumpkin Seeds just as well.
For thousands of years, pumpkins were an important part of the Native American diet, especially in the Southwest. They were fire-roasted, boiled, baked and stewed all winter long. Dried pumpkin was often ground into flour, pumpkin blossoms were added to soups and stews, and pumpkin shells were used as bowls and containers. Every part of the pumpkin was used, including the seeds, which were considered to have medicinal value.
Nowadays, pumpkin seeds are still crunchy, delicious and nutritious. Here are some tips and ideas:
- Garnish soups, stews and grain dishes. Use pumpkin seeds to garnish this Carrot-Ginger Soup, and this Creamy Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Cardamom garnished with roasted pumpkin seeds is a fall favorite.
- Add to fruit or vegetable salads. Here are some fun ideas:
- Add to chicken, tuna, tofu or egg salad. Here’s a flavorful fusion East-Meets-Southwest Chicken Tostada Salad.
- Blend with salad dressing ingredients and splash over your favorite leafy greens.
- Stir into yogurt, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese or softened cream cheese.
- Munch on them right out of hand or add them to your favorite snacks like these Fancy Ants on a Log.
- Add to sautéed, steamed or roasted veggies. Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pumpkin Seeds is perfect for any holiday table.
- Add to hot or cold cereals, muffins, scones, pancakes, waffles and quick breads.
- Use along with or in place of other nuts and seeds in cookies and bars.
- Add to breading for coating fish, chicken or chops.
- This Coconut-Crusted Haddock with Curried Pumpkin Seeds uses roasted, spiced seeds to garnish this wonderful seafood dish.
- Make Pumpkin Seed Pesto, or try this Red Snapper with Pumpkin Seed Pesto recipe.
- Add to fruit or vegetable salsas.
- Use pumpkin seeds to thicken the sauces of more traditional south-of-the-border fare like this Pumpkin Seed Mole with Chicken or Spiced Guatemalan Chicken Stew with Rice.
- Roasted Salmon with Tomatillos is flavored with smoky chipotle chilies and served over a bed of wilted greens or quinoa. Be sure to garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds.
- Add to your favorite trail mixes. This Holiday Trail Mix is good any time of the year.
Are you partial to pumpkin seeds? Got a recipe or an idea? Let me know.