Are you ready for the most rockin’, kickin’, full-on flavor ambushin’ roasted pumpkin seeds you’ll ever taste? Good, because I have the recipe you need – for Sriracha Roasted Pumpkin Seeds. They’re a healthy snack you can feel great about eating, but most importantly, they’re 100% devourably addictive. Wait until you taste them – if you’re a lover of the hot n’ spicy, you may not be able to stop tasting them ’til they’re gone!
Most of us munch pumpkin seeds because we like their nutty, slightly sweet taste, little knowing that those tasty little devils are a nutritional goldmine – or mineral mine, actually. A mere quarter of a cup of pumpkin seeds delivers almost 17% of our daily required zinc, which helps us build and maintain strong and healthy immune systems – hence its inclusion in so many over-the-counter cold remedies. Whole pumpkin seeds contain the most zinc, so when you’re buying them (as opposed to digging them directly out of a pumpkin), make sure they’re unshelled.
That same quarter cup serving gives us a whopping 73% of our daily required manganese, an antioxidant mineral which plays a role in body processes ranging from blood sugar regulation to fat and carbohydrate metabolism to sex hormone function – yowza! If you aren’t finding those compelling reasons to eat pumpkin seeds, I think we’re done here.
C’mon Baby, Light My Fire
If you’re an adventurous eater, chances are you’re acquainted with the fiery concoction known as Sriracha or “Rooster” Sauce. For the as yet un-scorched, here’s the scoop: it’s a pungent paste made from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt, named for the city of Si Racha in Thailand. Though its origins are Thai, versions of the sauce are popular across Asia – and now, thanks to Huy Fong Foods, purveyors of fine hot sauces, it’s available all over the US as well.
According to the Chinese Zodiac, Huy Fong’s founder David Tran was born in the Year of the Rooster – hence the distinctive cocky bottle design. And no, Huy Fong doesn’t mean “Rooster Sauce Empire;” it was the name of the freighter that took Tran from Vietnam to Hong Kong in 1978. In 1980, he immigrated to the US and began making his now-famous hot sauce in LA’s Chinatown – topping the bottles with bright green caps in tribute to the fresh chilies inside.
If you’re lovin’ you some Sriracha, you’re in good company: Bon Appetit named it 2010’s Ingredient of the Year, and even shares 25 inventive ways to use Sriracha – note that they totally missed roasting pumpkin seeds in it. And be sure to check out The Oatmeal’s Ode To Sriracha, too.
Sriracha Sauce is very hot, no doubt, but not so hot it makes grown-ups cry. It rates only about 2200 on the Scoville scale, a heat ranking system which compares the hotness of a food or sauce to a jalapeno. A score of 2200 means Sriracha has about 44% of a jalapeno’s heat. If you can take on a plastic box of jalapeno nachos at the ballpark, you’re more than ready for the spicy bliss that is Sriracha.
I find that raw Sriracha right out of the bottle has a lot of bite, but when it’s cooked, its flavor softens and mellows. Sriracha Roasted Pumpkin Seeds are a good get-acquainted recipe, as the roasting process takes a great deal of the sauce’s hard-hitting sharpness away, but leaves plenty of heat and flavor intact.
Sriracha Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
around 2 cups whole pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1-2 tablespoons Sriracha Sauce (use more if you’re feeling brave)
1-2 teaspoons lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar (I used dark brown for more flavor, but light brown would work ok, too)
If you’re using pumpkin seeds scooped from a pumpkin, you’ll need to dry them out before roasting them. Rinse them thoroughly, blot them dry with a paper towel, and arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Let them air dry overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Dump the pumpkin seeds into a medium bowl. Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat, and stir until they’ve melted together into a smooth sauce. Once you have a sauce, pour it over the seeds and stir them thoroughly to coat.
Cover a cookie sheet with foil for easy clean-up, and arrange the coated seeds on it in a single layer. Bake for about 30-40 minutes. Store the roasted seeds in an airtight container; they’ll stay fresh and delicious for at least a week. I don’t know what happens after a week, because mine have never remained uneaten longer than that.