Pumpkin is a wonderfully versatile food that’s easy to grow, easy to store, and easy to cook. You can use the whole squash and they’re budget-friendly. One of the most popular ways to use the seeds is to make roasted pumpkin seeds.
In the Fall, I’ll often plan our family’s meals for the week around winter squash. One large winter squash (like a cushaw) can be a side dish on its own, a base for squash soup, and pureed in smoothies. It’s an easy way to get healthy carbs without the grains!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Every year around Halloween the jack o’lanterns come out. While carving pumpkins is a fun fall activity to do with the kids, be sure to save the pumpkin seeds too! They’re a rich source of dietary fiber and make a great appetizer or snack. A 1-ounce serving size has 20% of your zinc for the day, plus healthy fats, protein, and other minerals.
Shelled, raw pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas) make a great addition to some homemade granola. I also use them in this cilantro pesto recipe. Roasting them whole is also a family favorite.
Pumpkin is probably the most popular winter squash to use for roasted seeds. But my personal favorite is roasted cushaw squash seeds.
What is a Cushaw Squash?
Cushaw squash is my favorite winter squash because of its large size (about 20 pounds) and inexpensive price. They can be hard to find in regular stores but check with local farmers and gardeners to find them where you live.
Like all winter squash, they store easily in a cool place in your home or they can be chopped, sliced, or pureed to freeze for later use.
Growing Your Own
If you do succeed in finding a good local cushaw squash, save some of the seeds before you roast the rest. Cushaw is easy to grow but difficult to find seeds for, so save them if you find them! To save: pull out the desired number of seeds and let them dry in the open air on a clean cloth. When fully dry, store them in an envelope for planting the next year.
If you have a few feet of extra space in your backyard that gets a little sun, you can easily grow a cushaw patch and let your children help! These squash are a great substitute for pumpkin or any other winter squash and your children will have a blast growing them.
How to Roast Winter Squash Seeds
Winter squash seeds are a good source of magnesium, copper, manganese, potassium, and other nutrients. Though they often get thrown away when preparing a recipe, they’re a wonderful nutrient-packed snack. You can make them sweet (add honey and cinnamon) or savory (add salt and herbs). One cup of roasted squash seeds has about 12 grams of protein (give or take, depending on the variety).
If you have kids, let them help you make this simple recipe, and enjoy it as a family!
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
- Add the ½ cup of seeds and the 1 teaspoon of sea salt.
- Simmer for 10 minutes in the salted water, stirring occasionally. This makes the seeds easier to digest.
- Using a colander, remove the clean seeds from the water, pour them onto a clean kitchen towel, and pat dry.
- Spread the dry pumpkin seeds into a single layer on a baking sheet. You can use parchment paper if desired for even easier cleanup.
- Drizzle the pumpkin seeds with olive oil and sprinkle with ¼teaspoon salt, garlic powder, and paprika.
- Stir to coat.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until golden brown and crispy, stirring every 10 minutes.
- Allow the seeds to cool slightly and enjoy.
- You could substitute any combination of seasonings here. Cayenne, chili powder, cumin, or curry powder are all yummy options. Be adventurous!
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
More Pumpkin Recipes
These healthy snacks, sides, and desserts are a great way to use up the rest of a fresh pumpkin or winter squash.
- Pumpkin Pie
- Maple Pecan Butternut Squash
- Stuffed Acorn Squash Boats
- Lemon Pepper Cushaw Squash Recipe
- Pumpkin Muffins and Bread
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake
Ever roasted pumpkin seeds or squash seeds? How did they turn out? Share below!