Two recipes for pumpkin seeds

Looking for new ideas to make use of pumpkin seeds? Here are two recipes that use pumpkin seeds to enhance tasty fall dishes.

Courtesy of Westside Market
Oven roasted butternut squash tossed with toasted pumpkin seeds, kale, onions, and dried cranberries makes a festive fall side dish.
Courtesy of Westside Market
Pumpkin seeds bring a seasonal crunch to breaded and oven baked chicken breasts.

Carving pumpkins kicks off the holiday season in my mind. Before giving thanks, or crossing off names on your holiday gift list, scooping out the gloppy, messy seeds from a pumpkin to create a smiling jack-o'-lantern is just plain fun. But this year – wait before you toss out those "guts"! 

Westside Market in New York City wrote to Stir It Up! sharing ideas for using "the whole pumpkin." Westside Market in New York City was founded by the Zoitas family, who arrived in the United States from Greece more than 45 years ago and set up their neighborhood store based on a love of fresh-grown produce and authentic cooking. Maria Zoitas, creator of “Maria’s Homemade,” a line of prepared food, created these pumpkin seed recipes for the fall dinner table. 

Sure, you can take the traditional route of just roasting pumpkin seeds, sometimes called pepitas, and eating them straight from the bowl as a snack. But oven roasted butternut squash with roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed crusted chicken also sound delicious. These recipes bring the humble pumpkin seed onto a sophisticated culinary stage – and demand dexterity from the cook. 

To toast your pumpkin seeds, simply rinse off the seeds and spread them out on a baking sheet coated with a little olive oil in a 400 degrees F. oven for about 10-15 minutes.

Shelling pumpkins can be a bit of work, but if you don't like chewing on the shells the extra effort is worth it to get to the nutty flavored seeds inside. Once you've freed the seeds you can add them to all kinds of dishes – sprinkle them over salad, add them as a topping to baked apples, or use them as a garnish for your favorite pumpkin soup.

Roasted butternut squash with toasted pumpkin seeds
By Maria Zoitas of “Maria’s Homemade” 

1 medium size butternut squash – about 2 lbs. peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt (kosher)
1/2 teaspoon clove powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
8 cups of water
1 bunch of kale, remove stems and slice into one inch wide pieces
1 medium size white onion peeled and 1/4-inch diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted and shelled pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, toss the butternut squash with salt, clove, nutmeg and 1/4 cup olive oil.

Place the butternut squash in a 9"x8" sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees F. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.

In the meantime, bring the water to a boil and blanch the kale for 3-4 minutes. Remove the kale with a slotted spoon or tongs and place in a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking, drain, and set aside.

In a sauté pan, heat the remaining oil and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the cranberries and auté for 2 minutes, then add the pumpkin seeds, and stir over heat for an additional minute.

Combine the roasted butternut squash, kale, onion mixture in a large bowl or serving dish and serve.

Pumpkin seed crusted chicken
By Maria Zoitas of “Maria’s Homemade”  

2 chicken breasts**
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 whole eggs, beaten
2 cups of Panko breadcrumbs 
2 cups of pumpkin toasted and shelled pumpkin seeds
1 teaspoon salt (kosher)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon fine chopped oregano leaves
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cup sunflower oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice chicken breasts in half and pound them down lightly until they are 1-/4-inch thick.

In three separate bowls set up as follows: one bowl of flour; one bowl of beaten eggs; combine the Panko breadcumbs, pumpkin seeds, salt, black pepper, chopped oregano and orange zest in the third bowl.

Coast the chicken breast with flour, then dip into beaten eggs, and then roll in the breadcrumb mixture.

In a sauté pan, heat up the oil at medium heat. Lightly sauté the coated chicken breast until it reaches a golden color – about 1 minute on each side.

Place the chicken breast onto a sheet pan and cook it for 10-15 minutes.

** Note: You can also use your favorite fish fillet instead of chicken. Either reduce the oven cooking time, or cook through in the sauté pan.

RELATED: Are you a real foodie? Take our quiz!


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