The Scoop on Pumpkin Seeds
Celebrity chef and author Jennifer Iserloh shares six smashing ways to enjoy the tiny superfood.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 | Maridel Reyes
Pumpkins get all the autumn glory. But after the orange flesh is scooped and diced, most people toss the seeds straight into the trash. Big mistake, say health experts. “Pumpkin seeds are loaded with the heart-healthy kinds of fats which are powerful antioxidants,” says chef Jennifer Iserloh, who has cooked for celebs like Annie Liebowitz and Jerry Seinfeld and is the author of the new book 50 Shades of Kale. “They are high in B vitamins to keep your energy up — and men need that specific vitamin to regulate testosterone.” We asked her for her favorite ways to eat the superfood seed:
1 Crunchy popcorn topper
1 Tbsp. chopped pumpkin seeds + 1 Tbsp. melted butter + 1 Tbsp. olive oil + popcorn.
“The seeds and oil contain heart-smart fats and allow you to use less saturated fat-laden butter.”
2 Fall salad
Toss 2 cups of spinach + 1 sliced ripe pear + 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese + 2 Tbsp. dried cranberries + 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
“This seasonal fall salad gives you strong flavors plus crunch.”
3 Mexican pumpkin seed dip
Combine in a food processor: 1 c. hulled and toasted pumpkin seeds + 2 c. roasted tomatoes + 1/2 finely chopped medium red onion + 1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro + 1 stemmed, seeded and finely chopped serrano chili + juice of 1 lime + 1/4 tsp. cumin + salt
“It’s a nice change from guacamole and picante dips, and tastes wonderful with wedges of mild cucumber and sweet pineapple.”
4 Sweet roasted seeds
Combine 1/2 c. pumpkin seeds +1 Tbsp. sugar, 1/4 teaspoon ground clove or pumpkin pie seasoning + 1 tsp ground cinnamon + whipped egg white. Bake 15 minutes in a 350F oven or until the seeds are crisp.
“This has an apple pie feel. It's a snack that has no preservatives or artificial colorings, and it's made from a whole superfood.”
5 Trail mix
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds + 2 Tbsb. dried goji berries + 2 Tbsp. dried cherries +1 Tbsp. 70% cocoa chocolate + 1/4 cup toasted coconut
“Most protein bars and store bought trails mixes are packed with sugar and low in nutrient rich foods. This version powers up your workouts.”
6 Pumpkin seed breading
2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds + 1 c. whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs
“Use this to coat chicken or fish. I love the added crunch of pumpkin seeds and the added boost of protein that can help you feel full longer.”
Photography by Getty Images