Gluten Free School Snacks – Sea Salt Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Our new journey to becoming a totally gluten free household, due to Coeliac Disease, is leading me to discover many new and exciting ways to use the parts of food that we would normally throw out.
My latest discovery is ideal for gluten free kids with Coeliac Disease as a healthy and nutritious school snack. Really! These sea salt roasted pumpkin seeds are a great gluten free snack for any time you fancy. My problem is that I can’t make them fast enough! Our kids literally eat them straight out of the oven! If there’s any left over they are popped straight into their lunch box.
Roasted pumpkin seeds are nothing new. Eating the seeds of pumpkins originated in Mexico. In Spanish the saying is pepita de calabaza which translates into ‘little seed of squash”.
Pumpkin seeds are nutrient rich with a high content of protein, dietary fibre and micro-nutrients.
In the past I have always bought Pepitas from our local health food store as a healthy snack for myself when I’m peckish – a much better choice than eating a bag of chips.
Then it dawned on me… why not try and make roasted pumpkin seeds myself at home? I mean, how hard can it be right?!
As it turns out, it’s not hard at all.
All you need is:
– An oven – check!
– Pumpkin seeds saved from a pumpkin – check!
– A little olive oil – check!
– Sea salt flakes – check!
Imagine my delight when my kids, especially my daughter, the one with Coeliac Disease, loves the way I make them and actually asks me to make Pepitas for a school snack in her lunchbox!
Gluten free Sea Salt Roasted Pumpkin Seeds – Pepitas
1 whole pumpkin, any variety
Olive oil or any nut/seed oil to your taste
sea salt flakes
Large chopping board
Cut pumpkin into quarters and carefully scoop out all the soft, fleshy pulp that contains the seeds. Set aside the pumpkin for another use.
Spread out the pumpkin pulp and use your fingers to separate the pumpkin seeds form the pulp. I usually wear rubber gloves for this otherwise you will end up with orange stained hands! The pulp can go straight into your worm farm or compost and no, you won’t have pumpkin plants popping up in your garden!
Once you have all the seeds, pop them in the colander and rinse well under cold water. Use you hands to move the seeds around a little under the water.
Cut a piece of baking parchment to the size of your baking tray and spread out the pumpkin seeds as much as possible.
Leave overnight to dry.
Do not use paper towel as the seeds will stick to it whilst they are drying. I learnt this the hard way!
Once the pumpkin seeds are completely dry, preheat you oven to 180°c.
Drizzle the seeds with a little olive oil or oil of your choice and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Give the pumpkin seeds a slight toss just to get the oil and salt onto all seeds.
Place the tray with the seeds onto the middle rack in your oven and roast for 55-60mins or until the seeds are a light golden brown.
Note: The drying process can be sped up by turning your oven on to the defrost setting, place the tray with pumpkin seeds on the middle rack for 40 mins (depending on your oven) until they are dry.
Be creative and have a play with different seasonings! I’ve tried creating flavored pumpkin seeds by sprinkling with a little smoked chilli powder, curry powder or lemon pepper seasoning.
Of course my kids prefer the simplest and original flavor, sea salt.
Have fun & enjoy,