Pumpkin Seeds: One of the Best Vegan Sources of Protein

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Pumpkin seeds are what we’ve all tossed into the trash in giant hunks every Halloween when emptying out our Jack-o-lanterns. What a waste! These seeds are incredibly high in protein, as well as one of the best sources of magnesium found in nature — a vitamin that many traditional Western diets are deficient in; just 1/4 cup of shelled pumpkin seeds can provide 40% DV for magnesium.

Random fun fact about pumpkin seeds: they are often used as a natural parasite remedy, particularly against tapeworms.

Like most nuts and seeds, pumpkin seeds can be eaten whole or made into a variety of delicious products like seed butter or flour. These seeds are also easy to travel with; keeping a sack of them with you ensures you get a good meal virtually anywhere.

Nutrition Info

The complete nutrition information for pumpkin seeds can be seen in the USDA Nutrient Database here.

How to Eat Pumpkin Seeds

As a snack, pumpkin seeds can be eaten with or without the shell on; both styles are enjoyable. The shell (also known as the husk) has a popcorn-like eating experience and also adds bulk to the snack, ensuring a more filling experience. There is no need to remove the shell like with sunflower seeds; pumpkin seed shells are a good source of fiber. The added bulk from eating the shells also helps to cut down on the actual amount of seeds eaten, which can be helpful when you’re hungry (want filling) but don’t want a large amount of calories.

Quick Eating Suggestions:

  • Seasoned or plain pumpkin seeds make an excellent snack
  • Sprinkle shelled pumpkin seeds onto salads or yogurt
  • Mix into warm dishes like rice, pasta, or quinoa
  • Chocolate-covered pepitas are a delicious sugary option that can be eated alone of sprinkled onto other desserts like ice cream
  • Pumpkin seed butter can be used as any other nut butter: spread over toast, drizzled over potatoes, stuffed into strawberries, blended into smoothies or dolloped onto yogurt.

Tips for Buying Pumpkin Seeds

  • The Spanish name for pumpkin seeds is “pepitas” and they can often be found with this name on the label.
  • Watch out for extra ingredients on pumpkin seeds or in pumpkin seed products as some may contain sugar, salt or other additives.
  • Be sure to look for the country of origin as these seeds are often found to be grown in China.

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