Pumpkins are a nutrient-rich plant, offering many uses beyond pie and jack-o’-lanterns. A pumpkin’s vibrant orange color is due to the antioxidants it provides, like beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A.
The pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium, zinc and omega-3s — and they’re tasty, too. Here are some easy ways to incorporate pumpkin seeds into your diet.
1. ADD THEM TO TRAIL MIX
The secret to making your own trail mix is variety. Add nuts, other seeds like sesame, dried fruit or even cereal for a variety of flavors and textures. This Pumpkin Seed Trail Mix combines roasted pumpkin seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, chocolate chips, dried cranberries and cherries, while this Spicy Pumpkin Seed Mix calls for cayenne pepper and cashews.
2. BUFF UP ENERGY BARS
Just like any other nut or seed, you can throw pumpkin seeds into baked goods, breads and homemade bars. If you don’t feel like baking or turning the oven on, there are plenty of no-bake ways to incorporate pumpkin seeds, too. Adding pumpkin seeds to Seedy Dark Chocolate Bark or bites can enhance satiety with protein and fiber.
3. ENHANCE SOUP
There’s something about a warm, fall soup that’s comforting. Whether you choose to blend pumpkin seeds into your soup or throw them on top, their addition boosts flavor. They pair well with butternut squash soup, but you can also toss them over parsnip or celery root soup and thicker stews, too.
4. GIVE SALADS A NUTRITIONAL BOOST
Now that you know the health benefits of pumpkin seeds, add these nutritional rock stars to salads. Like sunflower seeds or nuts, they offer crunch and an additional source of plant-based protein and fiber. Registered dietitian Jessica Levinson combines them with jicama, black beans and spinach for a plant-powered salad.
5. ROAST THEM
Roasting pumpkin seeds adds a new element of flavor. Registered dietitian and chef Catherine Brown likes to roast pumpkin seeds with butter, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and maple syrup for a sweeter option. If you prefer savory, try smoked paprika, salt, pepper and dried oregano. For additional flavor, throw them on baked sweet potatoes or squash.
6. GROUND THEM INTO PUMPKIN BUTTER, PESTO OR MILK
Like pretty much any other nut or seed, you can grind pumpkin seeds into butter, pesto or even milk. They offer nut-free options for those with allergies. To make pumpkin butter, add raw or roasted pumpkin seeds to your food processor or high-powered blender. Add any flavorings or spices you like to enhance the flavor.
To make pumpkin pesto, add some olive oil, nuts (optional), sea salt, lemon juice, garlic and either cilantro, basil or parsley.
You’re probably aware you can make your own nut milk with almonds or cashews, but did you know you can use pumpkin seeds to create a milky liquid? Just soak your seeds in water overnight and blend them with fresh water, spice and a splash of honey to create a tasty milk option.
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