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Carving A Pumpkin? Don’t Forget To Eat The Seeds (Recipes)


These jack-o’-lantern scraps are the healthiest part of the whole pumpkin. Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, pack in a serious dose of magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, vitamin E and vitamin K. Here are some creative ways to make them part of your meal.

Roasted: You can toast pumpkin seeds shell and all and top them with a little salt for a tasty, easy, and healthy snack.

What you’ll need:

  • Seeds from one large pumpkin
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place pumpkin seeds on a sheet pan in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil. You can sprinkle with salt and pepper for extra flavor. Bake for 7 minutes (you don’t want to burn them!)

Let cool and dig in, or sprinkle on cereal, yogurt or soup.

Pumpkin seed butter: Take a break from PB&J for a while with this recipe for pumpkin and sunflower seed butter, courtesy of writer and delicious food developer Emily Ho.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seed, sunflower, safflower, or canola oil
  • Salt (optional)
  • Sweetener such as honey, agave nectar, or brown rice syrup (optional)


Credit Emily Ho
Pumpkin seed butter can be stored in the fridge for several weeks, or eaten right away!

  Working in batches, toast pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over low heat. Stir frequently to prevent burning and remove from heat when fragrant.

Combine cooled pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and ground flaxseed (optional) in a food processor and process for a minute.

With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup oil.

Continue processing until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 5 minutes. You may need to occasionally turn off the food processor and scrape it down with a spatula.
Taste and add salt and/or sweetener, if desired. (Add just a small amount at a time and taste frequently.)

Transfer to an airtight container and store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

In guacamole: Make pumpkin seed guacamole with this easy recipe from chef Rick Bayless.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 large ripe avocados
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 to 1 fresh serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus a few leaves for garnish
  • About 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 cup hulled, toasted, salted pumpkin seeds, plus a few extra seeds for garnish
  • Salt


Cut the avocados in half, running your knife around the pit from stem to blossom end and back up again.  Twist the halves in opposite directions to free the pit, and pull the halves apart.  Dislodge the pit, then scoop the avocado flesh into a large bowl.  Coarsely mash the avocado with a large fork or potato masher.  Rinse the onion under cold water, shake off the excess water, then add it to the avocado along with the serrano, cilantro and lime juice.

Scoop the pumpkin seeds into a food processor and pulse until finely ground.  Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl, then run the processor until the seeds are a chunky-looking paste.  Mix the paste into the avocado mixture.  Taste and season with salt.  If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the guacamole and refrigerate – preferably for no more than a few hours.

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.