Are pumpkin seeds keto? Yes! Pumpkin seeds are compatible with the keto diet, as long as you don't add sugar to them! In this sumac roasted pumpkin seed recipe, we're going the savory route with our winter squash seeds. Learn to roast crispy pumpkin seeds that are lightly coated with a delicious blend of aromatic spices. Why make plain, salted pumpkin seeds when you can have these beauties?
Halloween is almost here, and as always, some in my household will be carving pumpkins. You can never be too old to carve a jack-o-lantern, right?
The flesh of carved jack-o-lantern pumpkins cannot be used for food if you leave them unrefrigerated. Leaving cut squash out at room temperature for days is pretty much an invitation for foodborne pathogens to invade. Please don't try to salvage a pumpkin for food that has been in this situation!
However, all is not lost. The seeds that get scooped out of the pumpkin can be used in this sumac roasted pumpkin seed recipe.
By the way, this recipe is great not only for pumpkin seeds. I roast pretty much any winter squash seed that makes its way into my house. This keto pumpkin seed recipe works for them all, though smaller seeds may require a shorter cooking time.
Here are some squash seeds that are delicious toasted in the oven:
- Acorn squash seeds
- Delicata squash seeds
- Butternut squash seeds
- Spaghetti squash seeds
- Honeynut squash seeds
With a teenager in the house, I need to stretch my food budget every way possible. Saving my pumpkin and squash seeds to roast is an extremely easy way to get something out of (almost) nothing.
We're saving on groceries and getting a healthy snack out of this deal. Works for me!
What is sumac made of?
Besides the pumpkin seeds, you will need to have a handful of spices available to make this recipe. The most interesting spice in our spicy roundup might be the sumac seasoning. Have you tried it?
Sumac spice is a popular spice in certain parts of the Middle East. It is made from dark red sumac berries that are ground into a coarse powder. Sumac is a common ingredient in the Middle Eastern spice blend zahtar (also known as "zatar" or "za'atar").
Sumac spice has astringent properties that some find similar to lemon juice. Aside from incorporating it into recipes like this one, some use ground sumac as a low-sodium salt substitute. It can also be used as part of a meat rub.
Speaking of salt, when purchasing sumac spice, the only ingredient should be the dried and crushed sumac berries. Some brands add salt or other ingredients to their sumac. This will alter the overall taste of the recipes you add it to, so try to get your hands on pure sumac spice.
As hikers may know, there is also a poisonous sumac plant that lives in forests and swamps. This plant is not the same as the culinary sumac here, though these two plants are related. One difference is that poison sumac has white berries, while the berries of edible sumac are deep red.
So now you have the 411 on sumac spice. How about we get back to the keto pumpkin seeds recipe?
Benefits of Making Keto Pumpkin Seeds
This sumac roasted pumpkin seed recipe is DELICIOUS, and not just for those on ketogenic diets! Here are some reasons why I'm really digging these spiced and toasted pumpkin seeds this season:
- Prevents food waste Hey, if your family is carving jack-o-lanterns this year, you're going to have pumpkin seeds. Instead of throwing them out, whip this up and get a nearly free snack from your pumpkin purchase. (I know I mentioned this above, but it's definitely worth reiterating!)
- Low carb, dairy free, soy free, gluten free, sugar free, nut free, vegan recipe (Whew!) This snack recipe is free of the eight major food allergens and fits (almost!) all of the special diets. Since pumpkin seeds are seeds (not nuts), even those with nut allergies can enjoy this healthy snack.
- Convenient snack to take on the go Going on a road trip or have a long commute to work? Bring some of these keto pumpkin seeds with you if you'll need something to snack on. I also like to take these when I go on bike trips or hikes.
- A fun way to try something new If you live in certain parts of the world (including the U.S.), there's a large chance that you've never tried sumac seasoning before. This recipe is a fun and easy way to try a new-to-you spice. You may find that sumac becomes your newest favorite secret ingredient when you want to punch up the flavor of a dish!
Keto Pumpkin Seeds Ingredients
Most of the ingredients for this toasted pumpkin seed recipe can be found in a regular grocery store. However, you may need to pick up the sumac spice powder on Amazon.
- Fresh, raw pumpkin seeds (rinsed and dried)
- Avocado oil or olive oil
- Sumac powder
- Coriander spice
- Salt and black pepper
In addition, you'll need a large baking sheet and some parchment paper to make these oven roasted pumpkin seeds. I prefer to use unbleached parchment paper, which can be found in stores or on Amazon.
How to Make Sumac Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Through the years, I've tried to roast pumpkin seeds in a variety of ways. In this recipe, I will show you my favorite way to get crispy, dried pumpkin seeds.
First up, scoop the seeds out of your pumpkin. I use a combination of clean hands and an ice cream scoop to get the job done.
Pull as much of the stringy "pumpkin guts" as you can off of your seeds. Now put the seeds in a bowl with cool water and let them soak for about 5 minutes. This will help remove any gooey pumpkin still stuck to the seeds.
Lay some paper towels or a clean kitchen towel out on the counter. I use my hands to scoop the pumpkin seeds out of the water and spread them on the towels. You could also drain the seeds using a colander.
Try to get the seeds in a single layer and then gently pat the seeds' tops dry with a paper towel. Let them sit for about an hour to dry more if you have time. Otherwise, continue with the recipe by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a dark baking sheet with parchment paper. Put your pumpkin seeds in a medium-sized bowl and stir in the avocado oil. Next, add the sumac, paprika, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper, and give it another stir.
Spread your seeds out on the parchment-lined baking sheet, trying to spread them into a single layer. Put the baking sheet in the top third of your preheated oven. Toast the pumpkin seeds for 25 minutes total, giving them a flip and stir every 10 minutes or so.
How to Substitute for Sumac Spice (if you don't like it)
If you decide you don't like sumac, I still recommend sticking with savory pumpkin seed recipes. I've noticed that pumpkin seeds with added sugar tend to burn much easier in the oven. (Additionally, using sugar means that your pumpkin seeds will no longer be keto-compatible.)
In terms of what to use in place of sumac, how about chili powder? You could also try curry powder if you think you'd prefer the flavors of Indian cuisine. Pumpkin seeds are essentially free, making them the perfect canvas for a little kitchen experimentation!
Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). Pumpkin and squash seeds are very energy-dense foods, meaning they provide a lot of calories in a small volume. While I would consider pumpkin seeds to be a healthful food, I don't consider them the best snack option for those with a weight loss goal.
That said, pumpkin seeds in their shells are considerably less energy dense than shelled seeds. One-fourth cup of unshelled pumpkin seeds provides 71 calories. In comparison, one-fourth cup of shelled pumpkin seeds provides 169 calories. It's a big difference!
(This calorie information was provided by Cronometer, and the values are approximate.)
In general, if you have a weight loss goal and would like to enjoy nuts and seeds for a snack, in-shell is the better choice. In some cases, like with these pumpkin seeds, the shells help provide a larger volume snack for the calories.
For nuts with inedible shells, like pistachios, choosing nuts in the shell forces you to eat more slowly and mindfully. I tend to think the nuts in their shells taste fresher as well, but that is just my opinion.
What is the best way to use pumpkin seeds?
Sumac roasted pumpkin seeds make the perfect snack by themselves! If you'd rather use pumpkin seeds as a crunchy topping on an entrée or side, try sprinkling them on one of these healthy recipes:
- Pantry Staple Meal: One-Pan Sardine Bake
- Pureed Cauliflower Soup with Garam Masala Granola
- Plant-Based Meal Prep: Tropical Lentil Bowls with Coconut Rice
- Kale Apple Slaw with Brussels Sprouts, Tahini, and Dates
- Air Fryer Carrots with Herbs, Tahini, and Pomegranate Seeds
- Air Fryer Chicken Shawarma Bowls
You could also use these seeds as part of a trail mix or as a healthier substitute for croutons on salads. Unlike your typical crouton, these keto pumpkin seeds have no refined grains and offer up healthy fats.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are pumpkin seeds good for you?
Yes, pumpkin seeds are good for you, in the sense that they are a rich source of certain nutrients. According to Cronometer, ¼-cup of unsalted, unshelled pumpkin seeds provides 13% DV magnesium and 20% DV zinc. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in fiber as well as heart-healthy unsaturated fat.
The potential downside of nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds, is that they are very energy dense. That means that they pack a large number of calories into a relatively small volume. If you are using a keto or low carb diet for weight loss, overeating nuts and seeds may end up sabotaging your goals.
An additional downside of pumpkin seeds is that they contain phytates that inhibit certain minerals' absorption, including zinc. This is part of the reason why the iron and zinc from animal-based foods (such as beef) is more bioavailable than from plant foods. That doesn't mean don't eat seeds, but it's good to be aware that you may have much higher zinc needs if you are vegetarian or vegan.
How many net carbs are in pumpkin seeds?
Per Cronometer, ¼-cup of unshelled, unsalted pumpkin seeds provides 5.7 grams of net carbs. To calculate this, I took the total carbs (8.6 grams) and subtracted the fiber (2.9 grams).
Which seeds are keto friendly?
It's not difficult to fit just about any seeds that you want on a ketogenic diet! That is because seeds should be thought of as primarily a source of fat, not carbohydrate.
Seeds also provide some protein. However, it's better to look to lean meats, eggs, low-fat dairy, and legumes if you want a lower calorie protein source. The high fat content of seeds means that they are very energy dense.
Some seeds that you may want to consider adding to your very low carbohydrate diet include:
- Pumpkin seeds
- Other squash seeds (e.g., delicata squash, butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash)
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
What is the best way to dry pumpkin seeds?
After picking as much stringy pumpkin flesh as possible out of your seeds, give them a good rinse in cool water. To dry the seeds, spread them out in a single layer on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel. Then gently pat the tops of the seeds dry with another paper towel or clean kitchen towel.
I like to let my seeds sit on the paper towels for about an hour before proceeding with this pumpkin seed recipe. This drying step aids in ensuring that I get the crispiest pumpkin seeds possible when roasting them in the oven. This helps avoid the dreaded soggy pumpkin seed situation that can arise when trying to toast wet seeds.
Is it safe to eat raw pumpkin seeds?
Yes, it is safe to eat raw pumpkin seeds. That said, I don't think that they taste very good raw.
I highly recommend giving your pumpkin seeds (and other squash seeds) a run through the oven before eating. Your taste buds may be very happy that you made the decision to toast the seeds!
Are pumpkin seeds good for dogs?
Dogs can safely eat pumpkin seeds and canned pumpkin. However, these foods are not meant to replace the dog's regular (i.e., nutritionally complete) diet. I would choose plain pumpkin seeds, not these sumac roasted seeds, if feeding them to a canine companion.
You May Also Enjoy These Healthy Keto Recipes
Have you checked out the other very low carb recipes on the site yet? If not, here are some of my favorite keto diet recipes to get you started:
- Keto Parmesan Crisps | High Protein Chips
- Keto Blueberry Smoothie Recipe
- Air Fryer Rotisserie Chicken (Swap the side of corn for cauliflower or another non-starchy veggie to make it a keto meal.)
- Keto Zucchini Boats with Chorizo
- Pork Belly Air Fryer Recipe | Crispy Skin!
- Cloud Bread with Greek Yogurt – Keto-Friendly Recipe!
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And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
"Keto" recipes on the web may not be appropriate for those using ketogenic diets as part of their medical nutrition therapy. That includes this recipe.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats with yogurt post. Let's get cooking!
Keto Pumpkin Seeds | Sumac Roasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe
- Scoop the seeds out of your pumpkin, pulling as much of the stringy "pumpkin guts" as you can off of your seeds.
- Put the seeds in a bowl with cool water and let them soak for about 5 minutes. This will help to remove any gooey pumpkin still stuck to the seeds.
- Scoop the pumpkin seeds out of the water and spread them out in a single layer on paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
- Pat the tops of the seeds gently with a paper towel or kitchen towel to help them dry. Let them sit for about an hour to dry more if you have the time. Otherwise, continue with the recipe.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a dark baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put your pumpkin seeds in a medium-sized bowl and stir inthe avocado oil. Next, add the sumac, paprika, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper, and give it another stir.
- Spread your seeds out on the parchment-lined baking sheet, trying to spread them into a single layer.
- Put the baking sheet in the top third of your preheated oven. Roast the pumpkin seeds for 25 minutes total, giving them a flip and stir every 10 minutes or so. Let cool and enjoy!
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). Pumpkin and squash seeds are very energy dense foods, meaning they provide a lot of calories in a small volume. While I would consider pumpkin seeds to be a healthful food, I don't consider them the best snack option for those with a weight loss goal. That said, pumpkin seeds in their shells are considerably less energy dense than shelled seeds. One-fourth cup of unshelled pumpkin seeds provides 71 calories. In comparison, one-fourth cup of shelled pumpkin seeds provides 169 calories. It's a big difference! (Nutrition information was provided by Cronometer, and the values are approximate.) In general, if you have a weight loss goal and would like to enjoy nuts and seeds for a snack, in-shell is the better choice. In some cases, like with these pumpkin seeds, the shells help provide a larger volume snack for the calories. For nuts with inedible shells, like pistachios, choosing nuts in the shell forces you to eat more slowly and mindfully. I tend to think the nuts in their shells taste fresher as well, but that is just my opinion. Nutrition information is for one serving of the recipe.