5 Ways to Cook & Eat Pumpkin Seeds

Just finished carving your Halloween decorations and don't want to let those perfectly good pumpkin seeds go to waste? Here's how to salvage the seeds and cook them in five different ways:

Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are actually covered by a fibrous shell (the large white things you find inside your pumpkins). While some people might enjoy eating the entire seed with the shell, we think the greenish, meatier inside (pictured above) is more flavorful and works better with these recipes. To get started, here's our simple roasting procedure:

1. Rinse the seeds in water, separate from the pulp, and pat dry with paper towels. Then, toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and ground thyme or rosemary to taste. 2. Spread the seeds in a single layer on an aluminum foil-lined or parchment paper-lined baking sheet. 3. Bake at 350° 10 to 12 minutes or until crisp. Then, allow them to cool completely in the pan.

At this point, the shells will be tough enough for you to crack them open with your teeth, the same way you would sunflower seeds. You can simply eat them whole, or separate the insides out and use them in one of these five tasty recipes. If you didn't carve a pumpkin this year, pepitas or shelled pumpkin seeds can also be bought at the supermarket.

Pesto with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup (1 oz.) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Preparation: Pulse first 6 ingredients in a food processor 10 times or just until chopped. Drizzle olive oil over mixture, and pulse 6 more times or until a coarse mixture forms. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Sugared Pecans & Pepitas

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pecan halves and pieces
  • 1/2 cup roasted, salted shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Preparation: Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together pecan halves and pieces, pepitas, and melted butter. Spread in a single layer in a 13- x 9-inch pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven; toss with sugar. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 30 minutes).

Spicy Chile Peanuts & Pepitas

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 cup roasted, salted shelled pumpkin seeds

Preparation: 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together peanuts and melted butter in a medium bowl. 2. Stir together brown sugar and next 3 ingredients. Add to peanut mixture, tossing to coat. Place peanuts in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. 3. Bake at 350° for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once. Remove from oven, and stir in pumpkin seeds. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 20 minutes).

Pumpkin Biscotti

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shelled, raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose baking mix
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Preparation: 1. Preheat oven to 325°. Bake pumpkin seeds in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Cool 10 minutes. 2. Meanwhile, beat sugar and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Stir in canned pumpkin. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add baking mix and pumpkin pie spice, beating until blended. 3. Gently fold pumpkin seeds into sugar mixture. Cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm. 4. Divide dough in half. Shape each portion into a 12- x 3-inch slightly flattened log on a lightly greased baking sheet, using lightly floured hands. 5. Bake at 325° for 35 minutes or until firm. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely (about 1 hour). Cut each log diagonally into 3/4-inch-thick slices with a serrated knife, using a gentle sawing motion. Place on greased baking sheets. 6. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes; turn cookies over, and bake 20 more minutes. Transfer to wire racks; cool completely (about 30 minutes). Store in airtight containers up to 4 days.

Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Preparation: 1. Cook pumpkin seeds in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes or until puffed. (Do not brown.) Transfer to a medium bowl. 2. Combine granulated sugar and next 3 ingredients. 3. Toss pumpkin seeds with orange juice. Stir in sugar mixture, tossing to coat. Spread in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined jelly-roll pan. 4. Bake at 350° for 6 minutes, stirring once. Cool in pan on a wire rack 30 minutes. Store in an airtight container up to 2 days.

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