How to Prepare Pepitas, a Great Fall Snack

One of our favorite fall foods are pumpkin seeds. Since we’re carving pumpkins for jack-o’-lanterns this month, it’s a great time to save the seeds for snacks. If you don’t have any pumpkins on hand, you can buy raw green pumpkin seeds without their shells at the store.

Green pumpkin seeds are called pepitas in Mexico, where they are a common ingredient in many dishes. They’re hulled, which means they’ve had the shell removed to leave behind just the green kernel. 

We love pepitas because they’re crunchy and can be made both savory or sweet...and even spicy if you like. They’re also a great alternative for anyone with nut allergies. You can eat these pepitas alone by the handful (we do!) or add them into GORP (trail mix), Roasted Coconut Granola, or Ensalada de Nochebuena

Here are two different ways to prepare pepitas: one starts with seeds with the shells on, right out of a fresh pumpkin; the other uses raw green pumpkin seeds without their shells. One is a little spicy, and the other is sweet. Pick your favorite or make both. 

SPICY JACK-O'-LANTERN SEEDS

HANDS-ON TIME: 15 MINUTES   

TOTAL TIME: 45 MINUTES 

MAKES 1 CUP (4 SERVINGS)

KITCHEN GEAR

Measuring spoons

Measuring cup

Baking sheet

Wooden spoon or spatula

INGREDIENTS

1 cup raw, unshelled pumpkin seeds

3⁄4 teaspoon olive or canola oil

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon chili powder

INSTRUCTIONS

Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your kitchen gear and ingredients and put them on a clean counter.

1. Turn the oven on and set the heat to 325 degrees.

2. Put the pumpkin seeds on the baking sheet in a single layer and add the oil, salt and if you like spicy, the chili powder. Mix everything together.

3. Once the oven temperature has reached 325 degrees, put the sheet in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 30-45 minutes; use the wooden spoon or spatula to stir them every 10 minutes or so. Set aside to cool. Serve right away or store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

CINNAMONY PEPITAS 

Make these sweet seeds the same way, but use these ingredients, and bake them for a shorter amount of time — only 15 minutes — since these seeds don’t have their shells on! 

HANDS-ON TIME: 15 MINUTES   

TOTAL TIME: 45 MINUTES 

MAKES 1 CUP (4 SERVINGS)

KITCHEN GEAR

Measuring spoons

Measuring cup

Baking sheet

Wooden spoon or spatula

INGREDIENTS

1     cup raw, shelled  pumpkin seeds  

1     teaspoon canola oil  

1     teaspoon brown sugar

1/4  teaspoon salt

1/2  teaspoon ground cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your kitchen gear and ingredients and put them on a clean counter.

1. Turn the oven on and set the heat to 325 degrees.

2. Put the pumpkin seeds on the baking sheet in a single layer and add the oil, salt sugar, and cinnamon. Mix everything together.

3. Once the oven temperature has reached 325 degrees, put the sheet in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 30-45 minutes; use the wooden spoon or spatula to stir them every 10 minutes or so. Set aside to cool. Serve right away or store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

 

We hope these recipes will get you and your family cooking together this fall. These are just a few of the great snack ideas we have. For more recipes, take a look at our Recipes page. It’s filled with recipes from our ChopChop Magazine that kids can make and enjoy. If your family makes these pepitas, we’d love to hear about it! Share your ChopChop creations on social media and be sure to tag us in the posts or email us about it at info@chopchopfamily.org.