Spicy Pumpkin-Spiced Pepitas



So I roasted pepitas with ghee and a pumpkin spice blend, amped up with a smidge of cayenne. I’ve been sprinkling them on my food like crunchy, crispy, savory confetti ever since. It’s a Halloween party in my mouth!


If you’ve carved a pumpkin, you’ve probably roasted the leftover seeds: the fibrous, pale shells are hiding the pepitas inside. While it’s just fine to eat those husks, the tiny nut inside is the true prize.

Pepitas were valued by Native American tribes for their medicinal properties because they’re a good source of iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, phosophorus, copper, and potassium — all in one tiny, tasty snack. Today, China produces more pumpkins and pumpkin seeds than any other country.

But pepitas are nibbled all over the world. In India and Asia they’re prized for their traditional healing properties. In Greece, they’re eaten roasted and salted and given the name passatempo (“pastime”). They’re also popular in other parts of the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, as well as Mexico and the U.S. Congratulations, Illinois! You’re the numero uno American producer of pepitas.

If you want to give these a try, you can use the spice blend below on the big white seeds you pull from your pumpkin — or you can be lazy practical like I am and buy raw or roasted pepitas at your local store or online. I like them because they add a crunch to other things I like to eat, but the whollop of nutrition is a nice bonus. All treat, no trick.


Spicy Pumpkin-Spiced Pepitas

Prep 5 minutes | Roast 12 minutes | Whole30 compliant (omit sugar)

  • 1 tablespoon ghee

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves

  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

  • 2 cups pepitas (raw or roasted will work)

  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar (omit to make Whole30 compliant)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Preheat the oven to 350F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.


Heat ghee in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and cayenne. Stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Remove from heat.


Place pepitas in a large mixing bowl. Pour the spiced butter over the pepitas, add the sugar and salt, then toss to combine.


Spread the pepitas on the baking sheet in a single layer and roast until slightly toasted, about 10-12 minutes. Cool completely before storing in a sealed container.

Tasty Ideas

Sprinkle a few of these spicy pepitas on the following goodness to make goodness+goodness:

— roasted sweet potatoes, cut in half, spread with a little ghee

— roasted winter squash like butternut or acorn, spread with a little ghee

—green salads, especially good with bitter greens and golden raisins or dried cranberries

—chopped melon or berries

— Sweet Potato Soup With Bacon or Golden Cauliflower Soup or Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup

You could also mix about 1/4 cup into raw ground meat to make into burgers or meatballs. Yummy! (Or if you’re super low-energy, just sauté the meat and the pepitas until the meat is nicely browned and serve over a roasted sweet potato, mashed cauliflower, or zucchini noodles.)

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