If watermelons best categorize the bounty of summer, pumpkins do the same for fall. Pumpkins pop up everywhere on menus when the brisk weather arrives, and for good reason. Their richness is a welcome addition to a variety of recipes, from classic pies to heartwarming soups. But if you’re looking to make the most of this abundance at home, then do yourself a favor when you bring a few pumpkins into your kitchen: Don’t discard the pumpkin seeds during your prep. Instead, incorporate their flavors into your dishes, too.
Pumpkin seeds (referred to as pepitas in Spanish) not only make for a satisfying snack on their own, but they’re also equally versatile in breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes (as well as dessert!). We found 12 examples from some of our favorite foodies that prove our point, including an irresistible casserole, a savory pasta made from scratch, a homemade hummus, an everyday protein bowl, and even overnight quinoa. Each recipe is easy to re-create and showcases pumpkin seeds as an unforgettable detail.
Here are our picks for the best pumpkin seed recipes to try this week.
Tart Cherry Protein Bowl
What’s to Love: A Couple Cooks figured out exactly what we’re going to eat after every workout this fall, thanks to this recipe, which features Greek yogurt topped with cashews, almonds, dried cherries, and apricots. Pepitas round out the crunch and color of the bowl, too.
Pro Tip: “Instead of buying flavored, sweetened yogurt, we buy plain yogurt and sweeten it to taste with a little honey or maple syrup,” writes Sonja and Alex Overhiser of A Couple Cooks.
Overnight Breakfast Quinoa
What’s to Love: Start your morning right with this recipe from How Sweet Eats, which features overnight quinoa that’s layered with dried cranberries, roasted pepitas, cinnamon apples, honey, and coconut flakes.
Pro Tip: “When ready to eat, remove it from the fridge and add a little extra milk if you’d like,” Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats says. “Load it up with toppings and you’re good to go!”
Roasted Pumpkin Hummus
What’s to Love: Break out the veggies, pita chips, or just a spoon, because you’ll want to snack on this recipe for roasted pumpkin hummus from Spoon Fork Bacon as soon as possible. It’s made from a sugar pumpkin, chickpeas, roasted garlic and tahini, then topped with pepitas and pomegranates.
Pro Tip: “I’ve incorporated lots of roasted garlic and tahini for that savory, nutty flavor,” Spoon Fork Bacon's Jenny Park writes. “I also decided to load it up on top because I love the crunchy textures you get from the pepitas and hemp hearts.”
Fried Egg Cabbage Couscous Bowl
What’s to Love: This colorful, layered recipe from Sugar Salted makes an easy fall lunch or dinner. It comes together with red cabbage, crispy chickpeas, airy couscous, and a handful of pumpkin seeds. Fried eggs and crumbled feta cheese top it off.
Pro Tip: “Toss in the salt, oregano, and tomato paste and stir until dissolved,” the recipe notes. “Remove from the heat, add the couscous and cover the saucepan with a lid or large plate. Set aside and keep covered.”
Pesto Pumpkin Soup
What’s to Love: Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest serves up this recipe for pumpkin soup with a few twists. First, there’s the addition of a sage pesto, made with garlic and parsley, and a pumpkin soup that’s topped with fried seeds. You can even ladle it all into actual pumpkins when it’s ready, as she did.
Pro Tip: “These could be served as the perfect first course (wow them right off the bat!) or as an appetizer served in shot glasses,” Gerard notes. “Or just let them shine in all of their orange glory as a full-fledged side dish.”
Lemony Brussel Sprout Salad With Tahini
What's to Love: Feasting at Home's vegan salad stars Brussels sprouts with tahini dressing and pistachios, which can easily be subbed for pepitas, or slivered almonds. You'll also need lemon, garlic, sumac, tahini, and olive oil.
Pro Tip: You can use a mandolin, food processor, or chefs knife to shred or finely slice the Brussels sprouts. This salad is sturdy enough to last for several days of workweek lunches.
Sweet Potato Casserole
What’s to Love: This warm and rich casserole recipe from The Modern Proper has all the makings of an ideal autumn dish. It features thinly sliced sweet potatoes, candied ginger, chopped pecans, and pumpkin seeds that have been mixed with cinnamon and nutmeg. All in all, it’ll make your home smell divine.
Pro Tip: Cover baking dish with foil if too much browning occurs in the oven, The Modern Proper's Natalie Mortimer writes.
Chicken Pozole Verde
What's to Love: This traditional Mexican stew from Muy Bueno Cookbook is bright and spicy, thanks to tomatillos and jalapeños. Toasted pepitas are added to the blender along with tomatillos to create the salsa verde, while chicken cooks in garlicky broth before everything is combined. Then, break out all of the garnishes to complete the dish: Diced avocado, lime wedges, sliced radishes, diced onion, shredded lettuce, chopped cilantro, Mexican oregano.
Pro Tip: Cook salsa verde ingredients in boiling water for 8 minutes, or until tomatillos turn light green, advises Muy Bueno Cookbook.
What’s to Love: Gerard made yet another gorgeous and delicious recipe on Half Baked Harvest with pumpkin as the star. This time, pumpkin-flavored pasta is mixed in a sauce made with balsamic vinegar, fried sage, salted butter, and caramelized garlic. It’s topped off with roasted pumpkin seeds for even more crunch and flavor.
Pro Tip: “In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pumpkin and flour and pulse until a dough forms,” she writes. “Alternately, this can be mixed by hand or in a stand mixer.”
Butternut Tamales With Pepita Sauce
What's to Love: Vegetarian tamales from Feasting at Home are stuffed with butternut squash and poblano peppers. Radishes and pickled onions provide texture, and a pepita sauce adds extra flavor. To make, have these ingredients ready: Masa harina (not corn meal), poblano peppers, onion, butternut squash, queso fresco, stock. Plus, cumin and coriander.
Pro Tip: "When you are ready to make the tamales, soak the corn husks in water for 30 minutes," writes Feasting at Home. "You can also pre-soak them the day before and store them in the fridge (in the bowl of water) until ready to assemble."
Dark Chocolate Bark
What’s to Love: A Couple Cooks also deserves a second mention on this list for their gluten-free dark chocolate bark, which also features pepitas and cherries. Quinoa makes an unexpected addition to the bark as well, for an added bit of flavor.
Pro Tip: “Refrigerate the bark for at least 15 minutes until it’s hardened,” they say. “When hard, cut into irregular pieces with a knife.”
Roasted Pumpkin Seed Turtle Clusters
What’s to Love: Half Baked Harvest also created the ideal autumn treat with these chocolate-covered turtle clusters, which include two cups of pumpkin seeds, sea salt, and toasted pecans. There’s also caramel involved, too.
Pro Tip: Serve cold or at room temperature, recommends Gerard. However, “If your house is warm I recommend storing these in the fridge so the chocolate does not melt,” Gerard adds.