I've had a bag of raw pumpkin seeds sitting in my fridge for the last few weeks. For Tangra Fall last month, the Chinese-Indian pop-up feast I hosted with Chitra from The ABCD's of Cooking, we had experimented with a bunch of recipes before settling on our final menu. One of the dishes was Kung Pao Brussels Sprouts served with roasted delicata squash. Along with the pumpkin seeds, I had a bag of leftover seeds from the squash as well.
Today I finally decided to fire up my oven to roast these seeds. As much as I love the purist version, tossed with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, I wanted to give these seeds a little kick and add some other spices as well.
The most time-consuming hands-on thing you have to do with pumpkin seeds is clean them. I usually rinse them in a bowl of cold water to loosen up all the pumpkin/squash fiber, then dry them on a kitchen towel for a few hours or overnight. (Or in this case, leave them sitting in my fridge and counter for a few weeks.)
Onward to the flavoring part. I used ground Sichuan pepper and cayenne pepper for the smokiness and tongue-tingling goodness. Then I smashed a few cloves of garlic because, really, anything roasted with garlic smells and tastes amazing. And then added some ground ginger, salt, and pepper too.
Okay, so you know how some of the best snack foods on earth have are both salty and sweet? Kettle corn? Sea salt caramels? Sea salt caramel ice cream? I decided to add a bit of granulated sugar at the end right when the seeds came out of the oven (not before roasting, otherwise it melts and gets sticky.) The bit of sugar elevated these pumpkin seeds from great to YESSSS!!!
Do give these a try!
Do you roast pumpkin seeds for a snack? What do you like to add for flavoring? Let me know in the comments! Always up for new ideas.
Sichuan-Spiced Pumpkin Seeds
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (you can also use seeds from fall/winter squash like butternut, acorn, and delicata squash)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1/4 teaspoon ground Sichuan pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (1/4 teaspoon if you'd prefer more of a kick)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds with the olive oil, garlic, Sichuan pepper, ginger, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper. Spread the seeds and smashed garlic out on a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast for 20 minutes, then remove the sheet tray from the oven to give the seeds a good stir. Place back in the oven to roast for another 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown on top. (Smaller seeds like delicata squash seeds need only 25 minutes of roasting time total, so remove at the 10 minute mark to give them a good stir.)
- Remove from the oven. Toss on the pan with the granulated sugar. Allow the seeds to cool for 5 to 10 minutes on the pan before transferring to a dish to serve.