Latin ingredient of the week: How to roast your own pepitas (RECIPE)

I have a confession to make: Until this past year, I had never actually tried pepitas. Pumpkin was just not something my family ate very much, and so I was sadly lacking the roasted pumpkin seeds in my life until I finally decided that I just had to try them. Since then, I have fallen in love with pepitas in recipes like our ruby salad with crumbled feta and spicy pepitas, the spinach, radish slaw with crispy chiles and pepitas and the pumpkin pie with pepita nut and ginger topping.

My only regret so far is that I typically depend on store-bought pepitas and have yet to make them myself. Well, after discovering just how easy it is to roast your own pepitas, I don't know what I was waiting for!

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Typically, pepitas are pumpkin or squash seeds that have been roasted until crunchy and then salted. Of course you can still buy them already made, but you can also try making them yourself with relative ease.

Once you're done, you can use pepitas to sprinkle on top of your salad, as a healthy mid-afternoon snack, in granola bars or even as part of a dessert. The seeds are great sources of protein, iron, zinc, magnesium and potassium--so don't be afraid to eat up! It'll be good for you.

How to Roast Pumpkin Seeds into Pepitas (recipe courtesy of About.com)

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh pumpkin or squash seeds, rinsed to remove pulp.
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Heat oven to 350°F. Rinse the seeds under water to remove as much pulp as possible. Dry them well with a towel and place them in a bowl. Drizzle the oil over the top and toss them with the salt until they are evenly coated. Spread in large baking dish or cookie sheet and bake for about 15 to 18 minutes or until they are lightly golden and crunchy. Let them cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Image via  jaxzin/flickr

Topics: latin ingredient of the week  snacks