Some people soak or boil their pumpkin seeds before roasting. But I know myself: If I don’t roast them right away, I will find a Ziploc bag filled with a stinky moldy stringy black seedy science project in the back of my fridge around Thanksgiving.
Thanks to a sweet and salty coating of balsamic vinegar, vanilla, brown sugar, olive oil, and salt, this recipe is a fun change from your typical roasted pumpkin seeds.
You can make the seeds sweeter or saltier. Or use butter instead of olive oil. Maybe even add some sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary. Play. This recipe is very forgiving. —Phyllis Grant
small sugar pumpkins (yielding about 2 cups of seeds)
balsamic vinegar (the thicker the better)
Cut the pumpkins in half. Scoop seeds and pulp into a large bowl. Cover with water. Stir a bit with your hands. Most of the seeds will float to the top. With a slotted spoon, scoop seeds into a colander. Remove as many of the remaining seeds from the pulp as possible. Discard pulp. Rinse seeds.
Spread the seeds out on a dishtowel and then blot with a second dishtowel (don’t use paper towels or you will be eating roasted paper). It’s a bit time consuming because wet uncooked pumpkin seeds are very sticky. So put on your favorite song, take some deep breaths, and commit to at least 5 minutes of blotting and unsticking.
Spread dry seeds out on a sheet pan covered with a Silpat or parchment paper. Sprinkle seeds with salt, brown sugar, olive oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Toss with your fingers until seeds are evenly coated.
Place in the preheated oven. Check after 10 minutes. Stir. Make sure they’re cooking evenly. Put back in the oven for a few more minutes. They take about 15 to 20 minutes. But keep an eye on them. They go from a lovely caramelized brown to black very quickly. Allow to cool on the sheet pan. Store in a jar at room temperature. They stay crispy for a few days.
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.