With Thanksgiving just a little over a week away, the season of indulgent eating is almost officially upon us! Time to start adjusting our belt buckles a notch (or two!) to make room for the turkeys, pies, and decadent treats heading our way over the next six weeks. In between the splurges this time of year, I like to look for snacks that are a little bit lighter, but still big on flavor. One of my favorite seasonal snacks is Spiced Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas). These crunchy, toasted seeds are delicious by the handful as a healthy nosh, as a garnish to your favorite soups and salads, and one of my favorite additions to holiday cheese boards. They’re something a little different for your guests to enjoy, not to mention easy to make for effortless entertaining.
For quick preparation, I buy raw, hulled pumpkin seeds from the natural section of my local grocery store, or, in larger packages at Trader Joe’s (one of my go-to sources for holiday baking supplies!). Just coat the seeds with a little oil and salt, roast until lightly browned and fragrant, and toss with your favorite spices. As they toast, the seeds will puff slightly, developing a light, crispy texture that’s perfect for guilt-free snacking. Filled with minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, it’s amazing how much “good-for-you” is packed into such a small seed!
My recipe for spiced pumpkin seeds is endlessly customizable. I like to use a mix of Hungarian paprika, dried basil and thyme, onion and garlic powders, and a pinch of chipotle powder to complement the pepitas’ warm, nutty flavor. The heat level on these is easily adjusted to your personal preferences by adding more hot pepper, to taste, or omitting entirely. I especially love this spice profile with Butternut Squash Soup, or alongside a sharp, aged cheddar.
These pepitas can be made about a week in advance, though, they’re so delicious, they never last in my house more than a few days. If you’re assembling a holiday gift basket filled with homemade treats, a mason jar of spiced pumpkin seeds would be a lovely addition. They’re also a great snack for game day gatherings, paired with a crisp hard cider or beer. Between the great flavor and nutritional benefits, you can’t go wrong!
Did you know I have a weekly newsletter? It’s a great time of year to subscribe and have delicious recipes delivered to your Inbox for all of your holiday entertaining needs!
More Thanksgiving Recipes on Striped Spatula:
Our Favorite Apple Pie
Delicata Squash with Brown Butter Vinaigrette (gluten-free, vegetarian)
Sausage and Chestnut Stuffing
Apple-Orange Cranberry Sauce (gluten-free, vegetarian)
Maple-Bacon Sweet Potato Biscuits
Butternut Squash and Wild Rice Salad (gluten-free, vegan)
- 2 cups raw, hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (or another light-flavored oil, such as grapeseed)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
- 1-1/4 teaspoons Hungarian paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch cayenne or chipotle powder, or additional to taste
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F with rack in middle position. Toss pepitas on a baking sheet with olive oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, to coat. Spread seeds into an even layer and bake for about 15 minutes, stirring a few times, until lightly toasted and fragrant.
- While pepitas are toasting, mix together paprika, basil, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne or chipotle powder (if using). Set aside. Carefully transfer hot toasted pepitas to a heat-safe bowl and toss with seasonings. Add additional kosher salt (I usually add up to 1/2 teaspoon) and hot pepper, to taste. Let cool and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.*