The month of October is basically one long build up to Halloween. And somewhere in the middle of it, between picking out a costume and stocking up on enough candy for both yourself and your trick or treaters, you’ll find yourself lugging home a portly, orange pumpkin, disemboweling it, and carving into it a picture perfect jack-o’-lantern / black cat / replica of the Mona Lisa. Amateurs might throw out those goop-covered seeds, but Halloween pros know that they’re the holiday’s next best delicious treat (after chocolate bars and candy corn, of course).
Roasting your pumpkin seeds and eating them by the handful is a fine way to put those scraps to use, but it’s just a start. They’re also a nicely crunchy addition to sweets and baked goods, a means of thickening and adding nutty flavor to sauces, and are a fantastic garnish on virtually anything. So get creative with those leftover morsels: here are 13 ways to make sure that no part of the pumpkin goes to waste.
1. Roast and cover them in sugar and/or spice
Roasting alone makes pumpkin seeds snackable and tasty. But they also taste great with a wide array of seasonings. There are endless possibilities, from the sweet to the savory. We like to think that this nacho-esque take is especially brilliant, especially if you enjoy cheese-flavored everything. Get our Nacho Cheese Pumpkin Seeds recipe.
2. Plop them on salads
Every salad needs something crunchy, right? The seeds get along amiably with some of their squash brethren in this fall salad that also features sharp ricotta salata and a sherry vinaigrette. Get our Roasted Delicata Squash Salad recipe.
3. Use them to dress up pasta
Pumpkin-filled pastas are delectably creamy with a hint of sweetness. Take that pumpkin-bent even further by throwing some seeds on top. Get our Pumpkin Tortelloni with Sage and Pumpkin Seeds recipe.
4. Make pesto
Pumpkin seeds make for an intense pesto, with a robust earthiness that goes deep. Use a hearty green alongside them that will stand up to all that nuttiness, like the kale in this wholesome recipe. Get the recipe here.
5. Jazz up your soup
Pureed soups feel plain and blank without some sort of garnish. But sprinkling some seeds on top is akin to lighting up the night sky with stars. Get our Roasted Butternut Squash Soup recipe.
6. Blend them into salsa
Pepitas are used in Mexican cuisine to thicken and add flavor to moles, salsas, and other sauces. Their nuttiness plays well off of the raisiny flavor of pasilla chiles in this particular salsa. Get our Papalote-Inspired Salsa recipe.
7. Sprinkle them on meat
Pumpkin seeds, lime juice, cilantro and olive oil are tossed together to make a dressing that gets slathered all over these pan-seared pork chops. The chunks of winter squash on the side add extra pumpkin-y emphasis. Get the recipe here.
8. Tuck them into your veggies
Any mixed-veggie combination will benefit from the crunch that pumpkin seeds bring. They fit in just swell alongside zucchini, lima beans, and corn in this chunky succotash. Get our Barbecued Portobello Mushrooms with Black Bean and Corn Succotash recipe.
9. Get your hummus on
This hummus isn’t about being ethereally light and smooth—far from it. It errs on the side of the deep and dark, with character and grit, taking on a slightly rough texture and earthiness from the ground up seeds. Roasted Pumpkin Seed Hummus. Get the recipe here.
10. Bake bread
Pumpkin seeds look stunning sprinkled onto a loaf of bread, especially darker, whole grain loaves that can match their ruddy flavor. This Icelandic brown bread with rye flour is well suited for them. Get the recipe here.
11. Make them a part of your morning routine
Oatmeal, granola, and other cereals can all get a boost from pumpkin seeds. We’re particularly fond of them in this breakfast-appropriate porridge that’s made with the wholesome ancient grain teff and sweetened with honey and dates. Get our Teff Porridge with Honey and Dates recipe.
12. Be brittle
Super sweet and super crunchy, this candy made from nuts, seeds, and crystallized honey is the sort of gooey, stick-to-your-teeth treat that you’ll want to risk a cavity for. Get our Honey-Nut Brittle recipe.
13. Smother them in chocolate
When all else fails, chocolate makes everything better. Pumpkin seeds are sprinkled onto these chocolate pieces, which are given an extra spicy kick with a dash of cayenne. Get our Chocolate-Toffee–Pumpkin Seed Bark recipe.
Header image: Pumpkin Tortelloni with Sage and Pumpkin Seeds from Chowhound
Miki Kawasaki is a New York City–based food writer and graduate of Boston University's program in Gastronomy. Few things excite her more than a well-crafted sandwich or expertly spiced curry. If you ever run into her at a dinner party, make sure to hit her up for a few pieces of oddball culinary trivia.