Pumpkin seeds are a nutritious seed and tasty pantry staple suitable for both sweet and savory dishes. But what do pumpkin seeds taste like? And how can we use both pumpkin seeds and pepitas in our recipes?
Let's talk about pumpkin seeds, their flavor, texture and how to cook with them!
This post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or dietetic advice in any way.
- What are Pumpkin Seeds?
- Are Pumpkin Seeds the Same as Pepitas?
- How Do you Purchase Pumpkin Seeds?
- Storage of Pumpkin Seeds
- What Do Pumpkin Seeds Taste Like?
- What are the Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds?
- How Can We Use Pumpkin Seeds?
- Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
- How Can We Use Pepitas?
- Top Breakfast Recipes
- Top Smoothie Bowls
- Make Pumpkin Seed Butter
- Added to Baked Goods
- Make Pesto
- Make Salad Dressing
- Sprinkle over Salads
- Add to Trail Mix
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More Recipe Tips
- 💬 Comments
What are Pumpkin Seeds?
Pumpkin seeds are the seeds found in pumpkins, as the name suggests. They are white in color, and have a hard texture. It is easy to remove pumpkin seeds from pumpkins yourself, perhaps when carving pumpkins around Halloween!
If you're thinking of green pumpkin seeds that are found in supermarkets and health food shops, these are usually pepitas, a type of pumpkin seed from particular varieties of hull-less pumpkins.
Are Pumpkin Seeds the Same as Pepitas?
Pepitas are actually a type of pumpkin seed. As Food and Wine describes, pepitas are 'a variety of pumpkin seeds without a shell that can only be found in specific hulless pumpkin varieties, such as Styrian or Oil Seed pumpkins'.
How Do you Purchase Pumpkin Seeds?
Pumpkin seeds come in small or large packages from stores and are typically easy to find, and relatively inexpensive.
It's also possible to buy pumpkin seed butter, which is blended seeds that turn into a smooth butter.
Storage of Pumpkin Seeds
It's best to store pumpkin seeds in a sealed container in a cool dark place. Some people prefer to keep their seeds in the refrigerator.
What Do Pumpkin Seeds Taste Like?
Pumpkin seeds have quite a subtle nutty taste. It can be described as earthy and savory. As they do not have a strong taste these seeds can easily be flavored by roasting, salting or adding herbs and spices.
Pumpkin seed butter has a rich and nutty taste, with a hint of 'earthy' flavor. It's creamy in texture, much like nut butters.
What are the Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds?
In their description of the health benefits of pumpkin seeds, Healthline describes that they are a rich source of 'antioxidants, iron, zinc, magnesium' as well as fiber. They may be associated with improved fertility, better heart health, and enhanced blood sugar control (Healthline).
How Can We Use Pumpkin Seeds?
Raw pumpkin seeds can be dried and roasted, with herbs and spices for extra flavor. They make for a nutritious snack that can be enjoyed as it is, perhaps as a swap for chips or nuts.
Pumpkin seeds are often used as a swap for nuts for those with a nut allergy. They are also vegan, gluten free and a low histamine seed per the SIGHI list. See my post on low histamine nuts and seeds for more ideas on how to make recipes with these pantry staples if you have this dietary requirement.
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Toasted pumpkin seeds make for a tasty and healthy snack, and a good alternative to chips! If using the green shelled pumpkin seeds you can simply add to a dry skillet (without oil), and heat gently. They will begin to very slightly brown and pop. Don't let them burn!
For raw pumpkin seeds that have come straight from a pumpkin, you can roast pumpkin seeds in the oven after drizzling with olive oil and some spices if you like.
How Can We Use Pepitas?
Although the terms pumpkin seed and pepita are often used interchangeably, the following recipe ideas are typically best when using green pepitas (the kind you get in the store).
Top Breakfast Recipes
Pumpkin seeds / pepitas are a nutritious pantry staple that are often used to top oatmeal, chia puddings or other breakfast recipes. They add a nice crunch as well as health benefits to start your day!
Top Smoothie Bowls
If you're looking for some fun toppings for your smoothie bowls, pumpkin seeds make an ideal choice. They are easy to find in stores and relatively inexpensive in comparison to other nuts and seeds.
Make Pumpkin Seed Butter
Making homemade pumpkin seed butter is actually fairly easy if you have a high speed blender. The pumpkin seeds get chopped into small pieces, then over time they release their oils and change into a smooth butter.
Pumpkin seed butter is a good swap for nut butter if you are nut free.
Added to Baked Goods
Pumpkin seeds can be added to baked goods such as bars, cookies or pumpkin seed clusters. They add crunch, substance and are healthy too.
If you are nut free or just like a change, pumpkin seeds can be used to make pumpkin seed pesto for your pesto pasta dinner! Simply blend your seeds with basil, garlic and olive oil (and optionally Parmesan cheese) to make a nut free pesto.
Check out my post on alternatives to pine nuts for pesto for more ideas!
Make Salad Dressing
As a change from a vinaigrette or creamy dressing, it is easy to make a pumpkin seed dressing to drizzle over your healthy salads.
Sprinkle over Salads
A small handful of pumpkin seeds can be used to add crunch to your summer salads. They provide a small source of vegan protein and make your salad a little more hearty.
Add to Trail Mix
Making trail mix is very simple, and pumpkin seeds are a great addition alongside other nuts, seeds and dried fruits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pumpkin seeds have a subtle nutty taste.
Pumpkin seeds from the store are typically purchased as either whole raw pumpkin seeds or as the green pepitas (often called pumpkin seeds on packets too). You can also purchase pumpkin seed butter.
Pumpkin seeds or pepitas can be used for sweet dishes such as baked goods, as well as sprinkled over savory dishes such as salads.
It is possible to eat raw pumpkin seeds, but they have more flavor if roasted in the oven with oil and herbs or spice.
More Recipe Tips
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