WASHINGTON, October 17, 2015 — Roasting pumpkin and pumpkin seeds not only makes a great, healthy treat, it makes the whole house smell like Halloween! Roasted pumpkin is a delicious side dish that can be paired with chicken and you can use the seeds in a delicious fall salad or eat them plain.
Here are the basics to roasting both pumpkins and pumpkin seeds.
How to Roast Pumpkins:
This “how to” is for small to medium sized baking pumpkins also known as pie pumpkins. These are smaller than decorative pumpkins and easier to handle and cut.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Use a large chef knife to cut off the stem and the bottom of the pumpkin.
Slice the pumpkin in half — running from where the stem used to be to the bottom of the pumpkin.
Use a strong spoon to scoop out the seeds and pumpkin strings.
Spray oil to grease the bottom of a baking dish.
Drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper on the interior meat of the pumpkin and then place the pumpkin halves on the baking dish, open side down.
Cover with foil and bake for an hour and ten minutes. Let cool and serve or add it to other dishes to create a more seasonal meal. (The skin of a pumpkin is rather tough and will hold its shape when it’s being roasted.)
A favorite recipe is from Plant Food Fabulous:
- 1 small baking pumpkin, peeled and cubed
- 1 bag (2-3 cups) Brussels Sprouts, halved
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ cup pecans, toasted and chopped
- salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 400º.
- On a sheet pan, mix the pumpkin with the oil and syrup.
- Sprinkle a pinch of salt over top.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Add the sprouts and mix well.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes more, or until veggies are all tender.
- Serve with the chopped pecans on top and salt to taste.
You can enjoy these deliciously roasted pumpkins as a side dish, such as mashed pumpkins: (use a vegetable puree tool) with a sprinkling of brown sugar and butter. It can also present as butternut squash or even turn into a delicious pumpkin soup. Whatever way you choose to serve pumpkins it will bring the season into full bloom.
How to roast perfect pumpkin seeds:
It’s time to roll up your sleeves and clean out your pumpkin.
Remove the seeds and the gooey membranes from the pumpkin. Clean away as much of the guts as possible and soak the seeds in water (the membranes of the pumpkin will fall to the bottom of your bowl and the seeds will float to the top).
Lightly dry off the seeds and place them into a bowl. Toss the seeds with salt and any seasonings. If there is a bit of the pumpkin membrane still attached, don’t worry. It will add to the taste. After seasoning, let the seeds dry, laying them out on a cookie sheet.
Before cooking, mix the seeds up to make sure they are dry.
If the seeds are dry, I find they will not stick to a non-stick cookie sheet or cookie sheet with parchment paper. They can also be roasted on a cold baking stone (do not preheat). If you do not have a non-stick sheet non-burning baking paper or stone, lightly grease your cooking sheet or sturdy aluminum foil, folded on the sides to make a sheet.
Flip the seeds in the pan to make sure they do not burn.
Place the seeds into a 225-degree oven and toast for until you can start to smell them roasting. Slow roasting will keep the “meat” inside the seed from drying out. Anticipate it will take at least two hours to slow roast them.
Once they are fully cooked, warmed all the way through, add crunch to the exterior of the pumpkin seeds by increasing the temperature to 325 for six to eight more minutes but keep a close watch so they don’t burn.
Once the seeds are nice and toasty check them to see if they need any more salt or your favorite seasonings.