You’ve probably already carved your pumpkins for Halloween, but hopefully you saved the seeds! It turns out that pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrition.

According to the USDA Nutritional Database, a cup of roasted pumpkin seeds contains approximately 285 calories, 12 grams of protein, 12.5 grams of fat, and nearly 12 grams of dietary fiber. They are also high in phosphorus, magnesium, manganese and copper.

So whatever you do, don’t throw out your pumpkin seeds. Here are some tasty ways to prepare them for snacking.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Remove pulp: Rinse seeds in a colander to remove pulp. (You may have to pull off the stubborn strands that don’t slide off easily.)
  2. Dry seeds: Dry seeds by placing them on a cookie sheet to dry overnight, or dry them in the oven at 300 degrees for 30 minutes just prior to roasting.
  3. Add spices: Toss the seeds with olive oil, salt, and your choice of spices (see below). Return them to the oven and bake for 20 more minutes, or until crisp and golden.

If you are short of time you can use the microwave to dry and “roast” the pumpkin seeds. In a microwave safe ceramic or glass bowl, mix 1 cup pumpkin seeds and up to 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Toast in the microwave for 2 minutes. Stir the contents. Continue to toast in increments of one minute, stirring each time. Do this until you have the desired crispness. Add salt and any other spices to taste.

Spice Up Pumpkin Seeds

  1. Sweet – Toss with cinnamon and sugar (do not use salt)
  2. Indian – Toss with Garam Masala; mix with currants after roasting
  3. Spanish – Toss with smoked paprika, mix with slivered almonds after roasting
  4. Italian – Toss with grated parmesan and dried oregano
  5. Barbecue – Toss with brown sugar, chipotle chili powder, and ground cumin

Your pantry shelf is the limit! Pull out herbs and spices you like and create your own concoction of roasted seeds. You can also swap out the oil for butter. Add popcorn seasoning and you’ll feel like you’re in the movie theater. Spicy sounds good to me. Maybe some thai chili sauce or red chili flakes. Look around your kitchen and come up with your own ideas.

Add Pumpkin Seeds

Once your seeds are roasted, you can eat them as is or try the following:

  • Top salads with pumpkin seeds
  • Make homemade granola with a mixture of nuts, pumpkin seeds, and dried fruit
  • Top soup or stew with pumpkin seeds for added crunch
  • Mix into your favorite muffin recipe