- Food and Cooking
Roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds
Why I always keep freshly roasted seeds in the pantry
The smell of roasted seeds spreads around the kitchen: nutty, salty, warm, tempting. I shake the pan clumsily and take it off the heat. Then I burn my fingers as I impatiently grab a couple of sunflower seeds and pop them in my mouth. It is crunchy, yet chewy, delicious and hot. Oh-so-hot! I shake my insulted fingers and wonder why I do this every time.
The answer comes to me right away. Because roasted seeds are the best, that's why. I brace myself and grab another one from the pan.
All photos are my own.
My husband and I often have porridge for breakfast, and I used to make it with a bit of salt, lots of milk, and serve with sugar or apple jam on top. But then we decided to cut back on salt and sugar. Unfortunately I hate plain porridge clumped in a bowl, so I came up with a way to make it more tasty.
In the bottom of the bowl I pour a little honey, and on top - a sprinkle of roasted seeds.
These seeds are not only tasty, they are also good for you. Both sunflower seeds and pepitas are high in fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. As if that wasn't enough, they are also believed to help lower blood pressure as well as bad cholesterol.
They are clearly also suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and proves to be a valuable source of protein.
You can of course roast your seeds in the oven, but I haven't tried this yet. For now I am using a frying pan, since I am only making small portions at a time. Once I get my hands on bigger bags of seeds I will roast more of them at once, and will try out a roasting trey instead.
Prep Time: 1 minute
Total Time: Max. five minutes + cooling time
- Non-stick frying pan
- Your seeds of choice (I use pepitas and sunflower seeds)
- Airtight container
- Put your nonstick frying pan over low to medium heat until it is warm
- Add the seeds you want to roast to the pan - no oil is needed
- Toss the pan Jamie Oliver style now and then. (Okay, I am terrible at this. I just shake the pan a little, and sometimes use a wooden spoon to turn them over)
- The seeds are done when they have a golden colour and smell heavenly. Take care not to burn them. We are looking for roasted, not blackened
- Take off heat to cool and then transfer to an air-tight container
- Do not put the lid on the container until the seeds have completely cooled, or else vapor will gather under the lid and make the seeds go soft.
I buy a bag of mixed seeds, containing pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) and sunflower seeds for this. You should be able to find them easily at the supermarket, or you could buy a bag of each and mix them yourself.
I am considering buying a big load of each of the seeds, as it will be cheaper than continuing to buy small packages of mixed seeds. If I lived in America I would give these sunflower seeds from Bob's Red Mill a try. 80 total ounces of seeds for an affordable price.
When I started roasting my own seeds I wasn't sure how much of it we would eat, but now I can't imagine a day without them. Imagine how long these four 24-ounce bags of pumpkin seeds would last! That is a lot of pumpkin seeds!
How to eat them - I have become addicted to roasted seeds and use them for anything that I can
- Porridge: I sprinkle a small handful of the seeds on top of our breakfast porridge for an added nuttiness to the otherwise dull flavour of the oats.
- Cereal: My favourite breakfast at the moment (apart from porridge) is all-bran cereal with a sliced banana, roasted seeds, and milk.
- Salads: Oh, believe me! The seeds make for the perfect topping on salads! I used to add salted peanuts or cashews to my salads, because I used to find them lacking some flavour. But now I find the seeds do the same trick of adding both a nutty and a little salty flavour without the actual added salt. Win - win!
- Snacks: These seeds actually taste delicious in themselves, and I have on many occasions sat down with a handful of them instead of the chips I actually wanted when watching television at night. Or just as a healthy between-meal snacks.
- Lunch box "side dish": When I did an exchange semester at a university in Ireland I noticed many students had a small bag of chips or salted popcorn with their sandwich for lunch. This surprised me as back in Norway where I grew up, chips was something we would only eat on weekends. But I tried it, and found that tee was something rather satisfactory about the saltiness next to the bread. Now, I have adopted this in the form of roasted seeds as a side instead, and I think this will be another keeper.
You can of course do this with only one type of seed, or you can find more seeds to mix in. I will imagine sliced almonds are a healthy and tasty addition.
For a variation on the taste you can also roast them with different spices. I am going to try them with my home made pumpkin pie spice later, and will get back to you on that experiment at a later date.