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Five ideas for flavoring roasted pumpkin seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds is one of those things I never think to make until I am elbow-deep in a large gourd, pulling out the stringy innards in preparation for carving. Then, when the bounty of seeds is laid out before me, it seems like a shame to just throw the seeds away. Here are five ideas for turning those slimy seeds into crunchy treats perfect for munching on the week of Halloween. Even better, they're much lower in fat and calories than the other snacks bound to pile up in trick-or-treat baskets.

Chili lime

This flavor combination offers a bold kick of spice, tempered slightly by some fresh lime juice. To make, add 1 tablespoon hot sauce to the bowl of pumpkin seeds drizzled with olive oil and stir to coat thoroughly. Add ½ tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice and a pinch of salt, and toss. Recipe from skinnyms.com.

Cinnamon and sugar

You'll want to watch these as they cook to make sure the sugar doesn't burn. The result is a familiar, satisfying flavor combination applied to an addicting crunchy seed. Mix ½ teaspoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon brown sugar together in a small bowl, then add mixture to the bowl of pumpkin seeds drizzled with olive oil and toss thoroughly. Finish off with a pinch of salt, and toss again. Recipe from backtoherroots.com.

Sweet and spicy

Flavor-wise, this one is a good marriage of the previous two seasoning mixes. Mix 1 tablespoon brown sugar, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper together in a small bowl, then toss with the olive oil-coated pumpkin seeds. Recipe from backtoherroots.com.

Pumpkin spice

For once, pumpkin pie seasonings are applied to an appropriate base. To the bowl of pumpkin seeds drizzled with olive oil, add 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Or, alternatively, mix ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves in a small bowl, and add to pumpkin seeds. Toss thoroughly.

Salt and pepper

Simple yet strangely addicting, this classic pairing lets the nuttiness of the seeds shine. To the bowl of pumpkin seeds drizzled with olive oil, add 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and toss.

Celebrate the season with crunchy and flavorful roasted pumpkin seeds.

iStockphoto.com

Celebrate the season with crunchy and flavorful roasted pumpkin seeds.

How to clean

pumpkin seeds

Make sure no large pumpkin chunks are left clinging to the seeds when you put them in the oven to roast — they won't roast as nicely. An easy way to get residual pumpkin goo off is to place the seeds in a large, deep bowl of warm water. Soak them for 10 minutes or so, and watch the pumpkin guts descend to the bottom of the bowl. Scoop seeds out with a slotted spoon or strainer. If there is still orange residue, rinse the seeds in a strainer.

How to roast

pumpkin seeds

There are two key steps to keep in mind when roasting pumpkin seeds: Dry them off thoroughly before they go in the oven, and make sure they cook at a low temperature. Each of the accompanying flavor varieties requires the same cooking method. After you've rinsed your seeds, pat them dry and place them in a clean bowl. Drizzle some olive oil over them — a teaspoon or so per half cup. Mix well to make sure the seeds are coated, then apply one of the five seasoning mixes. Spread seasoned seeds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast in a 300-degree oven for about 20 or 25 minutes. Keep a close eye on the seeds to make sure they don't burn, and trust your nose: If you can smell the seeds, they're probably close to being done. They should be a medium-brown color.

What to do with

pumpkin seeds

It is not difficult to eat a whole pumpkin's worth of seeds by the handful in one night. (Trust me.) But if you're looking for other things to do with them, here are a couple of ways to use the seeds once they've been flavored.

• Add them to salads for a crunchy component.

• Plop the cinnamon and sugar variety on top of your morning oatmeal.

• Use the chili lime version as a garnish for savory potato- or squash-based soups.

• Use them in a fall-friendly granola with dried cranberries, pecans and oats.

Five ideas for flavoring roasted pumpkin seeds 10/26/15 [Last modified: Monday, October 26, 2015 8:29pm]
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