Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Don't waste the pumpkin seeds! Make some tasty roasted seeds to sprinkle on soups, salads or to snack on (with a gin & tonic, obvs). There are some nutritional benefits to eating the seeds so you can't go wrong.

Rather than throw the seeds away from the inside of a pumpkin, carefully scoop them out, trying to remove them from the orange, stringy pumpkin flesh. I used the pumpkin to make a delicious, lightly spiced soup.

Next wash and dry the seeds. I popped them in a colander (a few at a time) and washed the seeds under running water to remove the majority of the orange flesh. Once you've washed them all, leave to dry (either on kitchen roll or in a clean tea towel). This will ensure that the seeds crisp up when you roast them.

Make your spice mix. I used 1 tablespoon of olive oil with half a teaspoon of sea salt and paprika and about a quarter of a teaspoon of black pepper. I was going to add garlic powder, but didn't have any. You could also use things like cumin, smoked paprika or chilli powder for a more warming, earthy flavour. I suppose you could make them sweet with some cinnamon and maple syrup?

Toss the dried seeds into the spice mix and make sure they are coated well before spreading the seeds out evenly on a lightly greased baking tray (I put mine on a sheet of greaseproof baking paper too to save the mess).

Roast the seeds on 175 degrees for around 10 - 15 minutes. I got them out of the oven fairly frequently to mix them about and encourage even cooking and more browning. When the seeds have a slightly nutty smell and are golden brown in colour, remove from the oven to cool.

Once cold, place in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Benefits of roasting pumpkin seeds

  • No food waste. You're using up part of the squash that would normally end up in the bin.

  • They're extremely versatile. As well as for snacking, try them in soups or salads.

  • Change your spice mix to suit your menu. From classic sea salt and black pepper to a warm chilli or smoked paprika.

Benefits of eating roasted pumpkin seeds

  • Whole pumpkin seeds provide a good source of fibre.

  • Pumpkin seeds are rich in antioxidants, iron, magnesium, zinc and other nutrients.

  • Pumpkin seeds are full of antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and protect against disease.

  • Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium. Healthy magnesium levels are important for your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, as well as heart and bone health. Magnesium rich foods are often thought to be "good mood foods".

  • Pumpkin seeds are a good source of tryptophan and zinc — all of which help promote a good night's sleep.

If you're a fan of pumpkin recipes (like me), then please do share your favourite recipe ideas in the comments box.

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