National Pumpkin Day is quickly approaching on October 26. While 2020 has shaped up to be a year that no one could have imagined, all holiday activities don’t have to be spoiled. Carving pumpkins is a safe, fun, family-friendly and socially distant activity to help embrace the season of fall. While carving pumpkins encourages creativity, it can also inspire some healthy meals and snacks in the kitchen.
That’s right! Did you know those pumpkin seeds are nutritional superstars? Pumpkin seeds are full of natural antioxidants, like beta-carotene, and several micronutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium and iron.
Pumpkin seeds can be roasted with spices and offer a nutrient-dense, balanced snack on their own. But they are also very versatile and can be transformed into several fun healthy meals and snacks. Below, we explore some easy ways you can use your pumpkin seeds.
5 Ways To Use Pumpkin Seeds
1. Trail Mix or Granola
Pumpkin seeds are the perfect addition to a homemade trail mix! Just combine with any nuts you have on hand, dried fruit and cereal or pretzels. Or, roast your pumpkin seeds to make a tasty pumpkin spice granola.
2. Pesto Sauce
Swap out the pine nuts for pumpkin seeds and make your own pumpkin seed pesto! Combine with your favorite herbs, like basil and/or parsley, and add garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Adjust seasonings as necessary.
3. Baked Goods
Adding pumpkin seeds to muffins and quick breads is a seamless addition that boosts the nutrition content of your baked goods. Substitute them in recipes calling for raisins, chocolate chips or other nuts, or add them as an accompaniment! If you’re more of a granola bar person, add them to your next homemade batch, like these pumpkin hemp seed bars.
4. Toss Them On Salads
If you like a nice crunch on your salad, add your toasted pumpkin seeds to a bed of greens along with other toppings! If you are more of a soup person, they also make a great accompaniment and topping to a warm fall soup.
5. Grind Into Pumpkin Seed Butter
Did you know you can make your own pumpkin butter with those pumpkin seeds? Just add them to a food processor along with any desired oils or seasonings, and process until smooth and creamy, or to your desired consistency. Pumpkin butter is an allergen-friendly alternative to nut butter and can be spread on anything.