If watermelons best categorize the bounty of summer, pumpkins do the same for fall. Pumpkin dishes 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 satisfying pasta, and homemade hummus. 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
The Recipe: Tart Cherry Protein Bowl
Why We Love It: 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,” Sonja and Alex Overhiser of A Couple Cooks advise.
Overnight Breakfast Quinoa
The Recipe: Overnight Breakfast Quinoa
Why We Love It: 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. Generally, we don't typically reach for a bowl of quinoa in the morning, but this super sweet dish has changed our minds.
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 instructs. “Load it up with toppings and you’re good to go!”
Roasted Pumpkin Hummus
The Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Hummus
Why We Love It: Break out the veggies, pita chips, or just a spoon because you'll want to snack on this 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. In case you're wondering, a sugar pumpkin is smaller, sweeter, and less fibrous than pumpkins you'd buy at a pumpkin patch to make jack-o-lanterns with. They're great for cooking.
Pro Tip: “I’ve incorporated lots of roasted garlic and tahini for that savory, nutty flavor,” Spoon Fork Bacon's Jenny Park says. “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
The Recipe: Fried Egg Cabbage Couscous Bowl
Why We Love It: This colorful dish from Sugar Salted makes for 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. It's one of those delicious but super easy meals to prepare when you're hungry but don't really feel like cooking.
Pro Tip: “Toss in the salt, oregano, and tomato paste and stir until dissolved,” Alice, of Sugar Salted, 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
The Recipe: Pesto Pumpkin Soup
Why We Love It: Tieghan Gerard from Half Baked Harvest serves up this classic pumpkin soup recipe with a few twists. First, there’s the addition of a sage pesto then there's the fried seeds topping, which makes this soup one of our favorites.
If you're feeling ambitious, serve the soup in the hallowed out pumpkin.
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 suggests. “Or just let them shine in all of their orange glory as a full-fledged side dish.”
Lemony Brussel Sprout Salad With Tahini
The Recipe: Lemony Brussel Sprout Salad With Tahini
Why We Love It: 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. This is such a versatile salad that, with a few tweaks, you can make seasonal. For fall, we're definitely adding toasted pumpkin seeds.
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
The Recipe: Sweet Potato Casserole
Why We Love It: 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
The Recipe: Chicken Pozole Verde
Why We Love It: 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 the chicken cooks in a garlicky broth before everything is combined. This is the kind of dish we're in the mood for fall and winter when the temps drop, and we need a little extra heat.
Pro Tip: Cook salsa verde ingredients in boiling water for 8 minutes, or until tomatillos turn light green, Veronica Gonzalez-Smith of Muy Bueno Cookbook advises.
The Recipe: Pumpkin Pasta
Why We Love It: Gerard made yet another pumpkin-forward recipe on Half Baked Harvest, and we can't get enough. 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 notes. “Alternately, this can be mixed by hand or in a stand mixer.”
Butternut Tamales With Pepita Sauce
The Recipe: Butternut Tamales With Pepita Sauce
Why We Love It: Sylvia Fountaine of Feasting at Home makes her famous Vegetarian tamales with butternut squash and poblano peppers. Radishes and pickled onions provide texture, and a pepita sauce adds extra flavor. Aside from the fact that they taste amazing, they're beautiful to look at, too.
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
The Recipe: Dark Chocolate Bark
Why We Love It: A Couple Cooks also deserves a second mention on this list for their gluten-free dark chocolate bark, which features pepitas and cherries. The recipe makes a lot of bark, so break some off, stack it in a clear plastic bag, and tie it off with a festive ribbon for the perfect holiday gift.
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
The Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Seed Turtle Clusters
Why We Love It: Half Baked Harvest also created the ideal autumn treat with these chocolate-covered turtle clusters, including two cups of pumpkin seeds, sea salt, and toasted pecans. There's caramel involved, too. They're the perfect size, which is key if you're in the mood for something sweet, but don't want to commit to a whole cookie.
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.