Pepitas: Heart-Healthy Snack!
Pepitas, or roasted pumpkin seeds, are an inexpensive and healthy snack, readily available in Belize and Mexico.
They are high in fiber and vitamins B and E; and are a good source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a healthy fat that reduces inflammation,
improves blood vessel health, and has beneficial effects on blood fats.
Even better, pepitas are quick & easy to make at home!
1. Remove the seeds from a pumpkin or squash and clean most of the pulp from them. (It's okay to leave some of the strings, which add flavor!)
2. Toss the cleaned seeds with a little olive oil and seasoning of your choice (salt is traditional but also try garlic powder, lemon pepper, or cayenne for variety).
3. Spread the seeds on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes, stirring every 5 or 10 minutes so they don't stick or burn.
Shortcut: if you're in a hurry, you can also roast seeds in the microwave! Combine 1 cup seeds with 1 tablespoon oil in a microwave safe bowl and cook on high 2 minutes. Remove from microwave, stir, and cook in additional 1-minute increments until as crisp as you like. Salt to taste.
TIP: Store any leftover pepitas in the refrigerator to keep their fresh-roasted flavor longer, up to 2 months.