Pepita Power

If you’re in the mood for a tasty snack that doubles as a phenomenal health food, look no further than pumpkin seeds. We especially like them roasted with spices. Sometimes we just toss together any combination of spices, or as in this case, we used Emeril’s Southwest Seasoning (recipe follows) to make our Roasted Spiced Pepitas.

With a wide variety of nutrients ranging from magnesium to copper, protein and zinc, pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses wrapped up in a very small package. They also contain plant compounds known as phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants, which can give your health an added boost.

Best of all, because pumpkin seeds are highly portable and require no refrigeration, they make an excellent snack to keep with you whenever you’re on the go, or they can be used as a quick anytime snack at home, too. So go ahead an make yourself a batch!

Place raw pepitas into a medium bowl.

Mix olive oil into seeds, followed by most of the dry seasoning.

Layer onto a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle on remaining seasonings.

Every 4-5 minutes turn pepitas with a spatula.

Let tray of seeds cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container.

FYI Men: Pumpkin seeds have long been valued as an important natural food for men’s health. This is in part because of their high zinc content, which is important for prostate health.

FYI WOMEN: Pumpkin seed oil is rich in natural phytoestrogens and studies suggest it may lead to a significant increase in good “HDL” cholesterol along with decreases in blood pressure, hot flashes, headaches, joint pains and other menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women.

FYI INSOMNIACS (like me): Pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin, which in turn is converted into melatonin, the “sleep hormone.” Eating pumpkin seeds a few hours before bed, along with a carbohydrate like a small piece of fruit, may be especially beneficial for providing your body the tryptophan needed for your melatonin and serotonin production to help promote a restful night’s sleep. Zzzzzzzzzzz


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, or 375 on convection.
  2. Mix one pound of raw pepitas with one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium bowl.
  3. Mix together two tablespoons of Emeril’s Southwest Seasoning* (or your own combination) with one tablespoon of fine popcorn salt.
  4. Toss most of this mixture in with the oiled seeds until well distributed and then layer onto a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle remaining spices over the top.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes, turning with a spatula every 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool before eating or storing.

*Emeril’s Southwest Seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

Mix all together thoroughly and store in an airtight container.

Totally addicting!!


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