October 23, 2012

Cooking, Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds (And 5 Tasty Seasoning Blends to Try)

pumpkin seeds unfrosted on baking sheet close up photo

I’ve never been good at carving pumpkins. Even as my deftness and skill with knives has increased over the years, I find that my attempts to competently carve a pumpkin tend to always come off looking more like an elementary school project rather than a piece of art.

Instead, I typically get relegated to all of the other tasks that take place on pumpkin carving day — cleaning, picking out the seeds, and reserving parts of the pumpkin for later use in risottos, soups, and pies. Though I don’t get the artistic satisfaction of seeing my jack-o-lantern lit up to frighten the masses, I typically enjoy hearing the mmms and ahhs as folks savor my pumpkin’s culinary delights.

Roasting pumpkin seeds has always been a tradition in my family. It’s a healthy snack alternative that can satiate a Halloween appetite that’s typically fueled by sugar and sweets. Eating roasted pumpkin seeds is particularly beneficial to us men. They’re rich in zinc, magnesium, and healthy fat, making them one of the best foods to naturally boost testosterone. Preparing, roasting, and eating them is also a simple and fun activity enjoyed by couples and families alike.

To add in some variety, I’ve created 5 special seasoning blends to make the most out of this year’s pumpkin seed roast.

Boo!

MM

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds

The process for cleaning and roasting pumpkin seeds remains straightforward and simple. Follow the steps below to get that perfect roasted flavor – regardless of your choice of seasoning. Take note that the recipes below assume you will yield approximately 2 cups of clean seeds per pumpkin, which is typical from a large pumpkin. Adjust times and/or seasonings if your yield varies significantly.

whole pumpkin on cutting board next to knife

Step 1 – Place the pumpkin on a flat, secure surface for cutting.

pumpkin with square cut out to get seeds

Step 2 – Cut a square shape into the top of the pumpkin, pull back to reveal the inside.

pulling seeds out of pumpkin with hands

Step 3 – Pull out seeds with hands, discarding the stringy bits into the trash.

pumpkin seeds in colander ready for rinsing

Step 4 – Place seeds into a colander.

pumpkin seeds in colander clean after rinsing

Step 5 – Rinse seeds under cold running water, ensuring all pumpkin parts are removed. Allow seeds to dry.

Step 6 – Spread seeds out into a single layer on a baking sheet, season (recipes below), and roast for 25 – 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

roasted pumpkin seeds on baking sheet close up photo

Step 7 – Remove seeds from oven, cool completely, enjoy!

5 Pumpkin Seed Seasoning Blends

Try the following seasoning blends to punch up the deliciousness of your roasted pumpkin seeds.

Kosher Salt + Cracked Black Pepper + Olive Oil a kicked-up version of the traditional plain salted variety. I use good quality olive oil to ensure a fruity, nutty flavor.

pumpkin seed seasoning blend salt olive oil black pepper

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a non-stick or parchment-lined baking sheet toss together seeds, seasoning, and oil – arrange into a single layer. Roast seeds uncovered for 25 – 30 minutes. Remove from heat, cool completely, enjoy.

Sweet & Salty a savory and sweet variety that’s sure to be a hit with kids.

pumpkin seed seasoning blend nutmeg cinnamon salt sugar

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil/Melted Butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a non-stick, or parchment lined baking sheet toss together seeds, seasoning, and oil or melted butter – arrange into a single layer. Roast seeds, uncovered for 25 – 30 minutes. Remove from heat, cool completely, enjoy.

Creole Blend take note that the quantities listed below will yield several more servings than needed. Due to the variety of ingredients, I’ve provided a recipe blend that you can reserve for later use on meats, fish, eggs, and vegetables. For seasoning purposes, shake this blend on the seeds as you would salt and pepper, toss with oil, and roast. Reserved seasoning will keep for up to 1 year in a cool, dry place.

pumpkin seed seasoning blend creole southern blend

3 Tablespoons Smoked Paprika
2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
1 ½ Tablespoons Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Tablespoon Oregano
1 Tablespoon Thyme
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix together seasonings until well combined.  On a non-stick, or parchment lined baking sheet toss together seeds, desired amount of seasoning, and oil – arrange into a single layer.  Roast seeds, uncovered for 25 – 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, cool completely, enjoy.

Southwest Blend smokey with a hint of heat. This is one of my favorite varieties.

pumpkin seed seasoning blend southwest salt chili pepper cumin

1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
½ Teaspoon Ground Cumin
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
½ Teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix together seasonings until well combined.  On a non-stick, or parchment lined baking sheet toss together seeds, seasoning, and oil – arrange into a single layer.  Roast seeds, uncovered for 25 – 30 minutes.  Remove from heat, cool completely, enjoy.

Parmesan + Basil this is a play off one of my favorite French fry seasonings. Simply roast the seeds in salt and oil, and when the seeds come out of the oven, toss them in the cheese and oil to finish. Outstanding.

pumpkin seed seasoning blend parmesan cheese dried basil

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
½ Teaspoon Dried Basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  On a non-stick, or parchment lined baking sheet toss together seeds, salt, and oil – arrange into a single layer.  Roast seeds, uncovered for 25 – 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and toss with grated cheese and dried basil.  Serve.

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Editor’s Note:

pumpkin carving john sullivan boxer art of manliness

If you share Matt’s love of chomping on pumpkin seeds, but not his indifference to carving, and have been pondering how to slice up your jack-o-lantern this year, look no farther than this free Art of Manliness pumpkin stencil we put out last year. No one’s probably seen a fisticuffer carved into a pumpkin before — you’ll definitely have the manliest pumpkin on the block!

If you use the stencil, upload your pumpkin to the Community photo album. I’d love to see it!

Happy carving!


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