Flash in the Pan: Sweet Curry-Cinnamon Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

[Sometimes, you just want a dish that’s quick and easy–no fuss.  I’ve decided to offer a mini-post every once in a while, for a dish that comes together incredibly quickly or else is so simple to make that no recipe is required. Here’s today’s “Flash in the Pan.” (For other FitP recipes, see “Categories” at right).]

By most people’s standards, I was a tomboy  nerd  goody two shoes pretty good kid growning up. (Well, there was that one time my college room mate and I put laundry soap in the school fountain. . . but we were unduly influenced by every coming-of-age movie from the previous four decades, so it wasn’t really our fault).  Still, despite the fact that my sisters and I never did drugs, drove responsibly, and never acquired a criminal record, my dad was fond of ranting and railing about how tough it was to live with four women, being the only male in the household (technically, our dog was male, but after the vet had a go at him, he no longer really counted).

The one thing that set my dad off more than anything else was his idea of wastefulness.  Why did we require seventeen tissues to remove our makeup, invariably clogging the toilet? Why couldn’t we use one, like he did? Why couldn’t we manage with just two pairs of shoes (as he did), instead of dozens, most of which we never wore? (Really, Dad, c’mon. Duh.). Why did we leave every light on the main floor blaring like a New York office tower at midnight, even though we’d left the rooms? (Frequently, I’d find myself already curled on the couch downstairs, ensconced in the green-and-rust hand-crocheted quilt my mom had made, all ready to watch my favorite show–and would cringe at the sound of my dad’s muffled cursing as he stomped overhead, striding from room to room flicking off the lights).

Given my background, it seems I’ve acquired my  parsimonious  frugal  thrifty economical nature quite honestly. If I can make it myself, do it myself, refurbish it myself, grow it myself or in some other way re-create it myself, I will.  In my 30s, I sewed all my own clothes; even before the ACD, I cooked just about everything from scratch; when we first got The Girls, I made all their food and treats myself (a pox on my lack of time these days!), and the HH and I spent two entire weekends in our previous house painting all the walls, then adding texture with sponges, feathers, newspapers and crinkled garbage bags because I thought it was cheaper more fun than wallpaper. Basically, I stopped just short of cutting open the toothpaste tube and scraping out the dregs of toothpaste, as I’d read about in the original Tightwad Gazette (though I’m still kind of intrigued by the idea).

So when I bought my first sugar pumpkin (ever!) last week, then roasted it and cut it open to scoop out the softened flesh, my first thought was, “how can I waste these perfectly good seeds?” What I decided instead was to wash them, pick off the stringy bits (or most of them, anyway), toss them in a mixture of mild curry powder, cinnamon and stevia and roast them for a sweet take on the usual roasted pumpkin seeds.  With a classic sweet-and-salty flavor profile and the added dimension of warming spices, the seeds were more reminiscent of salted caramel than spicy curry.  I literally couldn’t stop eating them.

As it turns out, roasting the seeds after they’d already been baked inside the squash resulted in lighter, crispier kernels, too. (In her post yesterday, Angela suggested boiling the raw seeds before roasting them to achieve the same crispy result. To my mind, baking them in the moist cavity of the pumpkin itself accomplishes the same effect–either way, the perfect roasted seed!).

Another bonus from pumpkin seeds is their super-powered nutritional profile.  Apart from delivering a great dose of zinc, good for anyone’s immunity (and particularly healthful for the male prostate gland), pumpkin seeds offer healthy oils, fiber, and anti-parasitic properties (key benefits for those of us on the anti-candida warpath).

My thrifty side loved using up all the consumable parts of the pumpkin. My healthy side loved having a snack that’s free from all the unsavory ingredients you get with most pre-packaged roasted seeds. And my gourmand side just loved eating them.

I’m linking this recipe to Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

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Last Year at this Time: Baked Apricot Swirl Cheesecake Bars (gluten free; ACD Stage 3 and beyond)

Two Years Ago: Fresh Plum Sauce or Topping (gluten free; ACD all stages)

Three Years Ago: Potato Bruschetta (gluten free; ACD Stage 2 and beyond)

Four Years Ago: Banana Berry Breakfast Cakes (not gluten free; ACD maintenance)

© Ricki Heller, Diet, Dessert and Dogs

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  1. I used to do everything myself, too — made my own clothes, made my kids’ clothes, cooked everything from scratch after buying it in bulk. I remember spending two weeks before we moved into our house just caulking before I painted all the rooms. I feel so lazy, now. I think I’ll go buy a sugar pumpkin just so I can toast some seeds. 🙂

    • Ah, yes, the caulking. I feel lazy now, too–I don’t do any of that stuff any more. Then again, cookbook creation does seem to be a rather time-intensive pursuit! 🙂

  2. “In my 30s, I sewed all my own clothes.” Ricki, you seriously put all us wannabe over-achievers & tightwads to shame. Have you ever heard of Dave Ramsey? He would LOVE you. I aspire to your kind of frugality (but I don’t think I’m quite to the point yet where I’ll scrape the last bits of toothpaste from the tube!).

    I love pumpkin seeds, I love the spices you used in these.

  3. Oh yummy Ricki! I love roasted seeds!

    I haven’t purchased a pumpkin yet this year. I hear it has been a tough year for farmers. We usually get pumpkins in our CSA share by now, and haven’t received any…might have to hit a farmers market this week to see how others have done.

  4. I love everything about this post. The not-crazy-naughty-rebel childhood, the not-wasting, the flavours, the pumpkin seeds themselves! I’m so excited by all the gorgeous little different pumpkins here in the US (and, clearly, Canada); in Australia we only have biiiiiiig pumpkins (Jap, Queensland Blue, butternut). I’m excited to try sugar pumpkins, and spaghetti squash, and the seeds…. Yay!

    • I remember being confused by the Australian “all-squashes are pumpkin” when I first began reading Aussie blogs. Now, I don’t even blink. 😉 Excited for you to see all the varieties, too! 😀

  5. I felt so guilty last week when I wasted some good squash seeds. Sometimes I just lack the inspiration. Love this flavor idea, and will give it a go!

  6. I too am frugal by nature – every time I have an old sock, I wanted to keep it to make it into a duster like we learnt at girl guides – but really I just don’t use dusters enough 🙂

    These look so delicious. I have never roasted the seeds from our pumpkins but I wonder if it works for all pumpkins or just some varieties (esp given what we call pumpkin is called Squash in america and who every heard of squash seeds!)

    • Ha ha! I kept a few as dusters, too, but then realized years later I had never used them even once. 😉 I’ve done it with butternut “pumpkin” seeds (very good) and kabocha/buttercup (okay but boy are those tough skins to chew!). I found the acorn seeds too small. So I guess it does depend on the type of pumpkin/squash!

  7. I loved that you baked your own pumpkin and used the seeds from inside! I know totally where you’re coming from, I hate waste too! If my husband cooks we tend to be eating the left overs for the next couple of days – he still cooks for 6! I had to look up Sugar Pumpkin on the net and we can actually buy these in the UK! I must try to roast one!

    I love your spicy mix, I think sweet cinnamon goes so well with other spices! Lovely!

    • Thank you, Vicky! As long as I was scooping, it suddenly hit me that it would be such a waste to just throw them out. . . now looking for more pumpkins so I can do it all over again. 😉

  8. Oooohhh….That looks amazing! I haven’t made them in a few years, I think you’ve inspired me to revisit that!

  9. I too have never bought a pie pumpkin, and I’d love to try this! Bookmarked this page and am rereading now before I head to the farmer’s market to get a pumpkin tonight. Let me ask you though: what temperature did you use to bake it, and for how long? The internet is all over the place with different guidelines. Did you let it completely cool before cutting in?

    • Thanks for pointing that out–I’ve gone in and added directions for baking the pumpkin. I think it doesn’t make a huge difference as long as you bake until perfectly soft. . . but here’s how I did it (in the recipe). 😀 Thanks!

  10. I love this! I just roasted a few plain butternut squash seeds but next time I will try flavoring them with this mixture.

  11. I usually stick to simple with coarse sea salt when i roast my seeds, but this might make me buck tradition 😉


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