Vegan Spicy Nacho Pumpkin Seeds Recipe
Ok. I’m sad to say but pumpkin season is finally coming to a close here. I’m pretty sure that goes for most if not all of North America. I was at the grocery store last night and saw the huge bin of pie pumpkins at the front of the produce section was gone. In its place was a much smaller side bin with a few pie pumpkins that didn’t look very good. So it is officially over.
This will probably be my last post on pumpkin seeds for this year. In a sort of farewell celebration to pumpkins, I’m excited to share with you a savory and spicy roasted pumpkin seeds recipe that I stumbled upon the same weekend I put together my Spicy Maple and Rosemary Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. This recipe is incredibly healthy and low in calories but packed with flavor!
Do you like Doritos or other cheese flavored chips and crackers?
Say hello to my Vegan Spicy Nacho Pumpkin Seeds recipe! This is a smoky cheesy flavored pumpkin seed recipe that was inspired by two of my favorite simple snacks to make at home, cheese popcorn and nacho tortilla chips. Now as the name suggests this snack doesn’t have actual cheese in it. This recipe uses an ingredient you find commonly in vegan cheese, nutritional yeast.
Never heard of nutritional yeast?
If you aren’t a vegan, chances are you’ve not heard of this stuff. But don’t worry, I’ll be happy to talk with you about nutritional yeast in a little bit so bear with me.
Fresh Out of Pumpkins? Any Winter Squash Will Do!
For many of you, I’m sure this post is one month too late but maybe there are some folks out there who have been sitting on a pie pumpkin or two (or three like me) holding onto them for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Well, I finally roasted my last pie pumpkin the previous night getting some fresh puree together for Thanksgiving and freezing the rest for Christmas.
If you’ve not made a fresh pumpkin puree before, it’s incredibly easy to do. It makes those pumpkin pies and other treats taste so much better than the canned stuff. Plus you get the seeds!
However, don’t have any pumpkins? I also have some good news for you.
I sometimes forget in the hype of pumpkins that there are other winter squash varieties out there. Admittingly, pumpkins really do steal the show for me most of the time. If you thought pumpkin seeds were the only seeds that you could eat, I’m here to inform you that you can roast the seeds from any winter squash.
I did not know that myself until very recently so I gave it a try on a few breeds of acorn squash and sure enough, the seeds tasted exactly same! So if you thought your seed roasting days were over for the year, I’m happy to be the one to tell you, they aren’t. Isn’t that great news?
What Is Nutritional Yeast Anyway?
I was first introduced to nutritional yeast by a vegan friend of mine a few years back. The stuff has a nutty flavor that is reminiscent of cheese. By itself, you wouldn’t think so but added with the right other ingredients and you have a pretty good vegan cheese alternative that tastes like cheddar or other similar tasting cheese.
Now I’ve got an obsession with cheese that verges on unholy. I will by no stretch of the imagination say that this replaces actual cheese. It doesn’t. But it does taste surprisingly good and it will satisfy a cheese craving. Put in the right foods and it adds a cheese flavor to your dish.
This stuff should be treated as a supplement so I wouldn’t go too crazy with. But in small amounts, this stuff can be really good for you. Different brands host a wide variety of nutrients but they all seem to share a high amount of vitamin B and protein which are two things usually lacking in most vegan diets.
Still not too sure about it?
Give it a try! You can usually find it now in most bulk sections of any grocery store or online at places like Amazon.
Tips for Roasting Seeds and Spicy Nacho Mix
Here are a few things I thought I’d mention in regards to roasting pumpkin (or any squash) seeds.
First, don’t wash the seeds. Seriously. Not only does that take out the step of drying the seeds for a day (which I found extremely annoying) but it also adds a little flavor too. Usually, I just separate the seeds from the majority of the goop and then stick them in the fridge until I’m ready to use them. Or just coat them in some oil and pop them in the oven right away! Whatever works for you and your schedule.
Second, I break the roasting time into two parts. There is the first stage which just involves the seeds, oil, and salt (if desired). This stage takes about 1 – 1 1/2 hours at 250F. They are ready to eat after that if you like them plain. Otherwise, you move on the second stage. It’s that stage where you add your seasonings.
I tend to do large batches of seeds in the first stage and then break them up to do different seasonings in the second round. You can even store them for a few days before roasting them with the seasonings if you aren’t quite sure what you have planned for them yet.
Also, this recipe uses cayenne for the heat of the recipe but you can use almost any kind of hot pepper you desire. If you would like more heat, try a dried jalapeno or habanero powder. Alternatively, you can use ancho powder if you’d like a little less spice. And of course, you can reduce (or increase) the amount of cayenne in the recipe to suit your tolerance.
The oil I used for this recipe is extra virgin olive oil. But I have has great success with virgin coconut oil as well. If you don’t have either of these any light oil that can stand up to 350F will do.
Lastly, be a little generous with the oil. The nutritional yeast does absorb the oil and it helps the flakes to stick better to the seeds. Otherwise, all the flakes have a tendency to fall to the very bottom of the bowl.
That’s it! Let’s get started roasting!
This is a smoky cheesy flavored pumpkin seed recipe that was inspired by two of my favorite simple snacks to make at home, cheese popcorn and nacho tortilla chips.
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds shelled
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil heaping`
- dash Himalayan salt (optional)
- 1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast*
- 1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt (or more to taste)
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
Preheat oven to 250 F.
Separate seeds from the pumpkin pulp but do not wash.
Put seeds, oil, and salt in a plastic bag or bowl and toss to coat evenly.
Spread them on a baking sheet and place in the center of the oven.
Bake seeds for 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
Turn oven temperature to 350 F while seeds cool for about 10 minutes.
Place seeds back in the bag or bowl with the nutritional yeast, cayenne, salt, and paprika. Toss to coat seeds evenly.
Roast for 5-10 minutes.
Once cooled, they are ready to serve. Store in an air-tight container.
*1 tbsp. = 3 tsp. Serving size is 1/4 cup of seeds
Before you go, I’ve got a question I would like to pose to you.
It has been brought to my attention by readers that not everyone eats pumpkin seeds in the shell. I thought I would stress that this recipe is intended to be eaten with the shells on. I’ve just always thought that’s the way it was done since my family has done that my whole life. I wasn’t even introduced to hulled pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas, until a few years ago. So I would like to know how you like to eat pumpkin seeds.
Do you normally eat your pumpkin seeds shelled or hulled?
I would love to talk with you about this subject! If you would leave me a comment below, I can usually reply within a day.
I really hope you give this recipe a try! And of course, if you have any questions about it, don’t hesitate to ask. I’m always happy to help!
Looking for more inspiration? I have another Savory Pumpkin Seed Recipe that is an old tried and true favorite in our house and there’s a ton of good information on my entire process for roasting seeds there as well.
How about something sweet? If you are looking for some other pumpkin seeds recipes to try, I’ve got a Spicy Maple Pumpkin Seeds that might be right up your alley.