Pumpkin Isn’t Just for Fall: pumpkin seed pesto, pumpkin seed oil vinaigrette & pumpkin seed oil gelato


I grew up with a tradition of Sunday suppers. No matter what the week held or how busy the weekend my mom always prepared something a little extra special to end the week around the table together. Oh, and there was always dessert!

This past Sunday I was ready to spend a day puttering around the kitchen raiding my pantry for flavorful ingredients to create a special meal. End of winter and early spring can be tough at the grocery, but root vegetables and hard squash are always available. I had a little fun creating a themed menu with pumpkin seed oil as the star. Below find my new favorite flavor bomb for just about anything, a pumpkin seed pesto, along with a strong dressing ready for warm winter salads, and a tasty frozen treat.



Pumpkin Seed “Pesto”

This flavor packed “pesto” is perfect for topping any number of things. Most recently we swirled it into a carrot ginger turmeric soup and dressed a simple salad of roasted beets, thinly sliced red onion, feta, hemp and nigella seeds. Tightly sealed it can keep for a week in the fridge and freezes well with oil to seal the top. Sweet potato tacos are delicious with this, and it jazzes up a plain baked potato or quick bowl of lentils or pasta as well. Like a little spice? Add a small jalapeno seeded and diced.

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1 bunch of cilantro bottom stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 medium clove garlic
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seed oil
  1. Toast pumpkin seeds with 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet until brown and popping. Set aside to cool.
  2. Combine pumpkin seeds, lime zest and juice, cilantro, nutritional yeast, salt and garlic in a food processor or blender to combine into a rough paste. Add 1 tablespoon water if needed to combine.
  3. With the motor running slowly add pumpkin seed oil in a constant stream until combined.




Pumpkin Seed Oil Miso Lime Dressing

This is strong dressing ready to stand up to hearty grains, kale and roasted veggies. Most recently we drizzled it on roasted kabocha squash on a bed of arugula with golden raisins and spicy candied pumpkin seeds. Haven’t tried kabocha squash? I highly recommend you seek it out. I love that the skin is thin enough to eat (it makes prepping so much easier!) and the creamy sweet flesh is such a gorgeous color and unique flavor. Throw in that it is one of the few things that I seem to be able to grow with no issues in Flagstaff and it’s a house favorite.

  • ¼ cup pumpkin seed oil
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon manuka honey
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Two good grinds of pepper
  • 6-12 tablespoons water
  1. Combine first six ingredients in a high speed blender, taste and add water as desired to thin the dressing.

Roasted Kabocha Squash Salad

Note: we made this salad as a side, to make it a main meal add ½- 1 cup cooked grain or your choice (Krauer favorites are wheat berries, farro, barley, and quinoa)

  • 4 big handfuls of arugula
  • 1 small kabocha squash, washed
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • ⅓ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds ( roasted in a pan or candied spicy recipe below)
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Cut squash in half. Remove seeds and stem and thinly slice into half moons. Coat in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and spring with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-40 minutes on a large sheet pan lined with a silpat liner or parchment paper turning over slices halfway. Set aside to cool slightly
  2. Put arugula in large shallow bowl.
  3. Pile on the rest of the ingredients, drizzle with dressing and serve.

Spicy Candied Pumpkin Seeds

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon manuka honey and 1 tablespoon brown sugar or two tablespoons of either one
  • 1 heaping teaspoon red pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Heat oil and maple syrup in a small saucepan for a few minutes until hot
  3. Combine pumpkin seeds, honey, red pepper and salt in a small bowl
  4. Pour over oil and syrup mixture and stir until seeds are coated
  5. Place on a baking sheet with silpat liner or parchment paper
  6. Roast for 10-15 minutes, stir and continue baking another 5-10 minutes until golden
  7. Remove from oven, let cool and break up into small clusters



Pumpkin Seed Oil Gelato

Inspired by the delicious olive oil gelato I inhale routinely at local hotspot Pizzicletta; I thought I would give pumpkin oil a try. The nutty flavor and gorgeous color make an incredible treat, and the spiced seeds above are a great topping.

  • 1 3/4 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup fine sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup pumpkin oil
  1. Heat milk, cream, ½ cup sugar, pinch of salt just until bubbles start to form and sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
  2. Whip egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar on high speed until creamy.
  3. On slow speed pour cooled milk in slowly until combined.
  4. Return to the pan and cook over medium low heat until thickened.
  5. Pour into a bowl and place in a water bath.
  6. Chill for at least 4 hours,  preferably overnight.
  7. Whisk in oil and put in ice cream maker following manufacturer directions.
  8. Place in a container in the freezer to firm up for 1-2 hours.




One Comment Add yours

  1. Nice recipes. Pumpkins seeds are really nutritious!

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