A simple, healthy snack, these Pumpkin Spiced Pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds) couldn't be more simple! Mix up homemade pumpkin spice, or use your favorite brand... Your new favorite healthy fall snack is ready in minutes!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Recipe Inspiration
Pepitas make a tasty, healthy snack, and I keep them on hand in both raw and unsalted, and toasted and salted forms. With fall upon us, and all things pumpkin making an appearance, it seemed logical to combine two favorite ingredients - pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and pumpkin pie spice. If you're opposed to "all things pumpkin," maybe this isn't the post for you!
I love the simplicity and ease of "kicking it up a notch" with pepitas. In this case, we make a quick caramel with sugar, toss them with pumpkin pie spice (homemade recipe included), and salt them.
As I mention in my homemade tajín and mole spice blend, I love homemade spice blends. Sure, you can buy pumpkin spice, but when time allows, I love to make my own. With a very specialized spice like pumpkin pie spice, I find I end up throwing it away as I use it so infrequently. However, I always have cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg on hand. This is a great way to use these warm spices!
🎃 About Pepitas
Pepitas may be small, but they pack a nutritional "punch." A handful provides healthy fats, magnesium, and zinc. Compared to nuts, they're relatively low in calories. From Healthline's Top 11 Science-Based Health Benefits of Pumpkin Seeds per 1 ounce serving:
- Calories: 151
- Fiber: 1.7 grams
- Carbs: 5 grams
- Protein: 7 grams
- Fat: 13 grams (6 of which are omega-6s)
- Vitamin K: 18% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 33% of the RDI
- Manganese: 42% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 37% of the RDI
- Iron: 23% of the RDI
- Zinc: 14% of the RDI
- Copper: 19% of the RDI
They also contain a lot of antioxidants and a decent amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, potassium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and folate.
🥄 About Pumpkin Pie Spice
I do not fundamentally understand when or why we collectively got so damn riled up about pumpkin-spice flavored everything. But enough is enough.~~ USA Today, Can we just admit pumpkin spice has jumped the shark?
In 2020, it is possible to find pumpkin pie spice (which actually does not contain pumpkin 🤨) in everything from pizza to dog treats. This is just a "bridge too far" in my opinion, but in many cases, you have to consider what ingredients create that flavor?
"Most pumpkin spice mixtures don't involve an actual pumpkin. Typically it contains ground cinnamon, nutmeg, dry ginger and clove or allspice mixed together, said Kantha Shelke, a food science communicator for the Institute of Food Technologists and a scientist at Corvus Blue, a Chicago-based food science and research firm.
When many food companies use a pumpkin spice flavor, they often develop a synthetic version with various compounds and aromas designed to trick your brain into thinking you actually consumed a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices."
As with my tajín recipe, homemade spice blends allow you to control what does and doesn't go into it. Yay! This pumpkin pie spice is JUST SPICE... no fillers or preservatives. An added benefit? If you don't use ground spices very often, it's a great way to use them up before they get stale and flavorless.
What is "pumpkin pie spice?"
Pumpkin pie spice is an American spice mix that becomes ridiculously popular in the fall. It typically includes cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. Weirdos (like me) like to include cardamom.
Obviously, you'll find pumpkin pie spice, or the afore mentioned spices, in pumpkin pies. In recent years, though, it has become a fall phenomenon!
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe
- ground ginger
- ground nutmeg
- ground allspice
- ground cloves
- ground cardamom (optional)
Pumpkin Spiced Pepitas Recipe
- pumpkin pie spice (ingredients above or purchased pumpkin pie spice)
- sugar - I like raw sugar, but white sugar is fine.
- pepitas - Start with raw pepitas or see Tips.
- salt - I use fine sea salt
- Make the pumpkin pie spice - Combine spice blend ingredients in a small mason jar, and shake vigorously to combine.
- Toast and salt the pepitas - Add the raw pepitas to a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Cook them until they begin to get some browned edges, and glisten a bit as they release their oil. Stir often to keep them from burning. This will take about 5 minutes (depending on heat). Salt generously, and remove from the skillet.
- Make the caramel - Add the sugar (raw or white) to the same skillet over medium-high heat. Once the sugar begins to melt, stir constantly until the mixture is completely caramelized. Reduce heat to medium.
- Candy the pepitas - Add the toasted pepitas back into the skillet, along with the pumpkin pie spice. Using a spatula, stir vigorously to combine with the caramel. This will take some effort!
- Finish - Scoop the pepitas onto parchment, waxed paper, or foil. Sprinkle or grind a bit of sea salt over the top. Allow them to cool completely. Break into clusters, and add to an airtight container.
🧂 Useful Stuff
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So, I'm curious how you feel about all things pumpkin spice this time of year? I'd love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments box below, and Happy fall!