Halloween recipe: cinnamon-roasted pumpkin seeds

Every year that I carve pumpkins I think, Gee, I hate to waste these seeds. But it wasn’t until this year that I decided to try roasting a few batches.

I’ve determined that pumpkin seed roasting should be a part everyone’s Halloween tradition. Because so many people carve pumpkins every year, the seeds are one hundred percent free. A medium-size pumpkin will give you about 3/4 to one full cup of seeds. And with any typical pasta strainer, they’re easy to separate and clean.

Without flavoring, pumpkin seeds have a natural nutty flavor. I would compare the taste to a crunchier sunflower seed. In fact, many people don’t like adding anything sweet or savory to them at all. And if that sounds like you, try following my recipe up until the final step. Instead of adding cinnamon and brown sugar, season your pumpkin seeds the way you would season popcorn with your desired amount of salt and butter.

But for me, I like roasting mine in cinnamon. Here’s how I do it:

• Pour one cup of pumpkin seeds into a pan, add three cups of water and one tablespoons of salt into the pan
• Bring to a boil then simmer for ten minutes
• Preheat oven to 400°F and drain seeds into a bowl.
• Coat the pan with a very thin layer of olive oil
• Spread seeds over the pan without letting the seeds overlap
• Bring the oven temperature down to 325°F
• Roast for 30 minutes until it begins to brown, smaller seeds will take less time
• Sprinkle desired amount of cinnamon and brown sugar, let cool and enjoy!

Like with most of my recipes, I like to try different variations. So if plain or cinnamon doesn’t sounds appealing to you try seasoning it some other way. For some cheesy seeds, add parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper. You can never go wrong with chocolate. For that recipe, add cocoa powder and sugar powder. And if you’re in the mood for something spicy, add Cajun seasoning, salt and a little bit of Tobasco sauce.

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This piece is one in a series of “Meatless Monday” recipes. Try this recipe and tell me about your favorite variation in the comment section below!