Pumpkin seeds star in Halloween snack mix

  • By Sara Moulton Associated Press
  • Friday, October 18, 2013 1:44pm
  • Life

With Halloween looming, I decided to cast toasted pumpkin seeds as the star of a healthy snack mix. It makes a great after-school or party treat.

Pumpkin seeds, like most seeds, are good for us. They’re a great source of magnesium and zinc, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.

I rounded out this snack mix with dried cranberries and nuts. It happens to be cranberry season, but any of your favorite dried fruits would do. I’m partial to pistachios, but go with what you like best. As for the seasoning, extra-virgin olive oil and salt comprise a simple and tasty accent.

Finding the best way to toast the pumpkin seeds for this healthy Halloween snack took several trials.

I tried high-heat roasting and low-heat roasting before deciding — following a tip from a Twitter buddy — that sauteing them in a skillet on top of the stove produced the most succulent result. Dry the wet seeds in the oven for 10 minutes before toasting them in the skillet.

This recipe pairs pumpkin seeds with a fellow good-for-you all-star: chickpeas.

A staple of soups, stews and salads, chickpeas lately have been popping up as a crisp snack. Who knew they could cross over into potato-chip land?

And it’s easy, too. Just dry them, toss them with a bit of oil (and spices, if you’d like), then bake them in a 400-degree oven for 25 to 35 minutes.

Healthy Halloween snack mix

  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons spice blend, such as curry powder, garam masala, chili powder, divided (optional)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups raw pumpkin seeds, cleaned and drained, but not patted dry
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries, dried cherries, raisins, or a mix
  • 3/4 cup unsalted raw or roasted pistachios, peanuts, almonds or cashews

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Dry the chickpeas thoroughly by spreading them on a large plate and patting them dry with kitchen towels. Transfer to a bowl, then toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the spice blend, if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Once the chickpeas are evenly coated, transfer them to a baking sheet and spread them in a single layer. Bake on oven’s middle rack until golden and crispy, 25 to 35 minutes, shaking the tray to toss after the first 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the chickpeas to a serving bowl. Reduce the oven to 300 degrees.

Arrange the pumpkin seeds in a single layer on the sheet pan. Bake on the oven’s middle rack for 10 minutes.

After the pumpkin seeds have baked, in a large skillet over medium, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the pumpkins seeds and cook, stirring, for 7 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining teaspoon of spice blend, if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook, stirring, until the pumpkin seeds are golden and crispy, another 3 to 5 minutes.

Transfer the seeds to the serving bowl. Add the cranberries and pistachios and toss well.

Makes about 3 cups. Per 1/4-cup serving: 305 calories; 180 calories from fat (59 percent of total calories); 20 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 21 g carbohydrate; 4 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 14 g protein; 335 mg sodium.

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