What’s Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Pumpkin Seed Pesto is a different spin on an Italian favorite.
When I think of pesto, I think of an Italian sauce that I add to my pasta salad or lather on slices of crusty Italian bread. It’s traditionally made with handfuls of flavorful basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil.
This Pumpkin Seed Pesto is still a flavorful sauce, but instead of pine nuts, pumpkin seeds are used. And I sub cilantro for the basil, and lime juice for the lemon juice (although lemon juice will work with this recipe, too). The results are so delicious and perfect for a plate of pasta, roasted fall vegetables or to just dip slices of crusty Italian bread into.
What are the Health Benefits
- Pumpkin seeds and cilantro are loaded vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
- Pumpkin seeds contain zinc, which can boost the immune system and improve prostate health.
- Both pumpkin seeds are good source of fiber. 1 ounce of pumpkin seeds provides almost 9 grams of fiber. Since we need 25-30 grams of fiber a day, and most of us only get around 16 grams, adding pumpkin seeds to our diets may be a good choice. Cilantro also has some fiber to help keep the digestive system healthy and help control bad cholesterol.
- Some studies show that pumpkin seeds may even improve sleep and prevent hair loss, and cilantro may help improve mild seasonal allergies.
What’s In Pumpkin Seed Pesto?
- Raw (green) pumpkin seeds (be sure the seeds are raw)
- Lime zest and juice
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Pinch of red pepper flakes (or jalapeno) to spice things up, if desired
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
How to Make Pumpkin Seed Pesto
- Toast raw pumpkin seeds over medium-high heat in a large skillet with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil until the seeds begin to puff and turn brown. Cool before using.
- Combine the cooled pumpkin seeds with remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- Pulse until a coarse paste forms and serve.
Other Favorite Fall Recipes
Pumpkin Seed Pesto
- 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cups packed cilantro rough chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon lime juice
- zest of 1 small lime
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan optional
- 1/2 jalapeno seeds removed (optional)
- In a large skillet, TOAST pumpkin seeds in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until seeds begin to puff and turn brown—2 to 3 minutes.
- REMOVE from heat and COOL.
- COMBINE cooled pumpkin seeds and remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender.
- PULSE until a coarse paste forms.
- TASTE and SEASON with additional salt, if needed.