6 Healthy Ways To Use All Those Leftover Pumpkin Seeds

by Rachael Collier
Carved a pumpkin this year? Don't you dare throw out this superfood's seeds. From roasting these tiny, crunchy treats to making your own DIY protein powder, get the most out of your pumpkin and its protein-packed seeds this season.

6 Ways To Use Your Leftover Pumpkin Seeds

1. Roast Your Pumpkin Seeds for a Salty Snack 

Rinse and dry your pumpkin seeds after separating from the pumpkin flesh. Once dried, toss them in a bowl with a pinch of coarse sea salt and enough olive oil to lightly coat the seeds. Spread them on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven at 350F for 10-15 minutes. Let them cool, then enjoy the crunchy, salty treat. And if you're feeling adventurous, change up the flavor with one of these mini recipes below: 
  • Curry-Spiced Pumpkin Seeds: Toss with ¼ tsp of cumin and curry powder and a pinch of salt.
  • Salt & Vinegar Pumpkin Seeds: Toss with a pinch of salt, ¼ tsp cracked black pepper, and a ½ tsp vinegar.
  • Crunchy Seaweed Pumpkin Seeds: Toss with 1 tbsp finely chopped nori and a pinch of salt.
  • Spicy & Sweet Pumpkin Seeds: Toss with 1 tsp brown sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon, and a ¼ tsp paprika.   

Also on Z Living: RECIPE: Roasted Pumpkin Soup From 'Flip My Food'

2. Make Your Own Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder

Pumpkin seeds are no ordinary protein. Just two tablespoons contain five grams of protein and essential amino acids, along with minerals like magnesium, zinc, copper, and selenium. Grind your raw or roasted pumpkin seeds in a food processor to make your own DIY protein powders. The result will be a vegan, gluten-free protein powder you can add to smoothies, oatmeal, and your baking.

3. Sprout the Seeds

Did you know that sprouting ups the proportion of fiber and protein in seeds and many grains? It also begins the digestion process for you, making them a treat your tummy will love. Soak your seeds in room temperature water in a sealed jar for 12 hours. Drain, rinse and cover the jar with a piece of mesh screen and an elastic. Keep it in a cool dark place for 1-2 days. Rinse and dry them and they're ready to eat! Many pumpkin seeds won’t sprout an actual root like other seeds, but the health benefits are there nonetheless. And note: Be sure to be extremely sanitary when sprouting your seeds to avoid an accidental bacterial contamination.
Also on Z Living: RECIPE: A Post-Workout Pumpkin Smoothie Bowl

4. Add Pumpkin Seeds To Your Baked Goods—​Or Make Brittle!

Add pumpkin seeds to your everyday baking to pump up the protein — muffins, bread, cookies, and everything in between. You can also make pumpkin seed brittle. We're partial Epicuriouus' pumpkin seed brittle recipe.

5. Whip Up a Protein-Packed Pumpkin Seed Pesto

A traditional pesto contains pine nuts, one of the most expensive nuts in the world. (Pine nuts take ages to mature and are labor-intensive to harvest, too.) Try substituting roasted pumpkin seeds for pine nuts the next time you make pesto for a delicious treat that’s much easier on the wallet.

Also on Z Living: RECIPE: A Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

6. Plant Your Pumpkin Seeds

Have lots of garden space? Save your seeds and grow your own pumpkin for next year. You can plant them after the last frost (check here to see when that is!) if you live in a cool climate. They may take up a lot of space, as the vines tend to sprawl, but they're easy to maintain.

WATCH on Z Living: Healthy Gourmet, where nutritionist Julie Daniluk and chef Ezra Title join forces and battle between taste and nutrition, helping home cooks create nutritious and tasty meals that can feed a crowd. See a sneak peek here.
Tell us in the comments: How have you used your leftover pumpkin seeds this year?

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