Spiced pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Delicious oven-roasted pumpkin seeds with Southern and Latino flavors.

A little bit salty, a little bit spicy, and undeniably easy to make and consume in just 10 minutes.

Last semester, I had the privilege of shadowing Latino-American cook Sandra Guiterrez and watching the final stages of development for her cookbook, "The New Southern-Latino Table." I’ve been cooking out of my very own copy for a couple of weeks now. Sandra combines familiar Southern cuisine with the more unfamiliar flavors (at least for me) of Latin America. I’m particularly looking forward to tackling her empanadas and cocoa, chile, and bourbon mole.

I am also excited for Sandra herself. I consider her a mentor and, above all, a friend. She provided me with a wealth of insight about the world of food writing for someone just starting out in the field. She encompasses everything I love about being a part of the food community. Foodie people are happy people.

These spiced pepitas certainly make me happy. This recipe is quite possibly the easiest I have ever posted on this blog, and I like to think that most of my recipes are easy. Cooking time is under 10 minutes, and the final product makes for a healthy snack. A little bit salty, a little bit spicy, and undeniably easy to consume in large handfuls.

Spiced Pepitas
From "The New Southern-Latino Table." by Sandra Guiterrez
Makes 2 cups

2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl, toss together the pumpkin seeds, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, cumin, pepper, coriander, chile powder, cayenne, garlic powder, and sugar. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet.

Bake for 5 minutes; remove the baking sheet and shake to redistribute the seeds. Return to the oven and bake for another 3 minutes; stop to shake the pan again. Finish baking for 1-2 minutes, or until the pumpkin seeds are crispy and golden, being careful not to burn them.

Transfer to a cool baking sheet and cool completely before storing.

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