Roasted pumpkin seeds are just about the easiest, most instant reward for recycling food waste. They make a generous, nutrition-packed snack or a crunchy garnish for your squash-based dish. Whenever I cook a squash of any color, pattern, size or knobby shape, I scoop out the seeds for roasting: acorn, butternut, carnival, delicata, spaghetti squash and the festive, orange ole’ jack o’ lantern all serve me well.
Depending on how I plan to gobble them up, I season them with different spices or oils. For Asian flair I love coating the seeds with coconut oil and dusting them with yellow curry powder. I toss them with olive oil and sea salt for foolproof Italian roots. If I’m making spaghetti squash with a smoked tomato and bacon sauce, I’ll sprinkle on a helping of smoked paprika and bypass the oil. The spices stick when the seeds are wet and toast just as well without oil – which should be added as a flavoring in this case.
Since squash is almost always best roasted, it should take very little thought or effort to roast the seeds along with it while the oven is toasty.
- Pumpkin seeds - ¾ cup, pumpkin (or any squash) seeds
- Smoked paprika powder - ½ teaspoon, (substitute with another favorite spice, like cinnamon)
- Sea salt - ½ teaspoon
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Separate the stringy, interior flesh of the squash from the seeds.
- Add the seeds to a small bowl and toss with the spices using a spoon or your hands.
- Spread the seeds on a baking sheet in an even layer.
- Roast the seeds for 12-15 minutes, using a spatula to flip them once halfway through.
- When they are camel brown and toasted in color, remove them from the oven and let them cool.