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Wholesome Snacking with Pepitas

Pepitas Trail mix_left

For those of you who have eaten yourself right out of your “turkey eatin’ pants” and can’t fathom the thought of another meal… I’ve designed this wholesome little snack for you! Out of all the tree nuts and seeds available, I have to admit my fondness for pumpkin seeds or pepitas. The name comes from the Spanish phrase, “pepita de calabaza” which means “little seed of squash.” These seeds were at the same time exotic and familiar to me. Exotic because pepitas seemed to belong to their own world and traditions far from the comforts of my home in central North Carolina. And familiar because my mom would buy them any time she wanted to make mole, a popular sauce used in Mexican cooking. Her variation included adding ground pepitas and the process always started with pan toasted pepitas. I especially enjoyed snacking on freshly toasted pepitas.

Nutritionally speaking there are many attributes that make pepitas special. Pepitas are:

  • Rich in protein and even though protein requirements vary from person to person, if consumed on a daily basis (100 grams) pepitas can provide 54% of the daily protein requirement.
  • A good source for vitamin B like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, panthothenic acid, vitamin b6 and folates
  • An excellent source of zinc with 10.1 mg in one serving (1 cup) or ~70% of the recommended value.

With the many nutrients that pepitas provide in mind, here’s an easy trail mix you can prepare the next time you need a wholesome snack.

Pepitas toasted

Ingredients & Method  (Makes 2 1/3 cups of trail mix)

  • 1 cups pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/4 cup craisins (died cranberries)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 peanuts
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted almonds
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • Coarse salt, to taste

Preheat over to 300 degrees F. Line one baking sheets with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds, almonds, and sunflower seeds to combine. Then spread onto baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Be sure to stir the mix a few times during the baking process .  Remove pan from oven and let the mixture cool for several minutes. You can store you trail mix in an air tight container for up to 2 weeks.

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