Are you looking for a healthy, nutritious snack? Shelled pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, have got you covered. These crunchy little gems are packed with nutrition and flavor!
Why are Pumpkin Seeds so healthy?
Protein: A single ¼ cup serving of pumpkin seeds provides a whopping 9 grams of protein. What a great plant based protein source!
Essential Fatty Acids: High in plant-based omega-3s (known as alpha-linolenic acid or ALA), pumpkin seeds can help lower inflammation levels and offer balance to your diet.
Dietary Fiber: Pumpkin seeds also provide three grams of soluble fiber to support a healthy digestive system. Foods that are high in fiber can help lower “LDL” bad cholesterol levels.
Minerals: Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of minerals like phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. Phosphorus is important for bone health, magnesium is involved in over 600 chemical reactions in the body and zinc supports the immune system.
Iron: A single serving of pumpkin seeds provides 15 percent of the recommended daily value for iron. This mineral is important for transporting oxygen-rich red blood cells throughout the body.
Antioxidants: Pumpkin seeds contain numerous compounds with antioxidant capabilities. One such compound, vitamin E, is available in a wide variety of forms in pumpkin seeds. Vitamin E offers significant protection against free radicals and toxins.
How do you eat them?
- A Healthy Snack: Eat them by themselves or add them to trail mix. I like to throw a few handfuls in a little snack zip bag with a few figs for a quick on-the-go snack.
- Sprinkle in Salads: Add a few spoonfuls to any salad. A great alternative to croutons! Love the crunch it adds to any salad.
- Use as a Topping: Sprinkle on yogurt, fruit and oatmeal.
- Baked Goods: Include these in muffins, granola bars, and even cookies.
Use your imagination; these crunchy seeds are good added to just about any dish. So if you want to add some nutrition to whatever you are eating, throw in some pumpkin seed goodness!
You can eat them raw, or toast them.
Where do you get raw pumpkin seeds?
You can find them at most grocery stores and definitely in health food stores. Costco now sells raw, and organic pumpkin seeds. You can also buy them online.
I love toasted and slightly seasoned pumpkin seeds. It is really quick and easy to toast them. I make up a batch with about 4 cups of seeds and store them in a glass jar. Then they are handy to grab when you need a little snack between meals or to throw a few in a salad.
To Toast Pumpkin Seeds
- Add a small amount of oil to a frying pan or small saucepan. I like to use avocado oil or coconut oil. 1 tablespoon of oil should be plenty.
- When the oil is hot, add seeds to the pan. (I like to have two pans going at once, with about 2 cups of seeds per pan).
- Stir frequently.
- The seeds will start to pop and brown. They are complete when most of them have turned slightly brown and are toasted.
- Place in a bowl and add seasonings or a little salt if you desire.
This is a good spice blend that has onion, paprika, chili pepper, cumin, garlic, jalapeno pepper, coriander, red pepper, oregano, and lemon oil.
I like this blend!
Both of these blends do NOT have MSG, which is a big bonus.
Store in a glass container and a tight lid. These plastic lids are the best. I use them for everything.
There you have it: an easy, delicious, and NUTRITIOUS snack.