Mexican Chile-Orange Spiced Pepitas

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It’s pumpkin season, and you’re probably inundated with every pumpkin bread and pie recipe you’ll ever want to see.  But what about pumpkin seeds? I make these zesty, spicy, crunchy pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) for Dia de los Muertos, Mexico’s Day of the Dead, which is celebrated on the days around Halloween. These make a fantastic snack on their own, as a topping to salads or butternut squash soup, or as an addition to trail mix. I also used them to top my pumpkin flan.

From a health standpoint, many of the ingredients in this recipe are powerhouses! Pumpkin seeds are a good source of antioxidants and minerals, including  vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, zinc and iron, as well as protein.  And as a seed, they’re a good nut alternative for people who are allergic to tree nuts.  As a bonus, the spices also have therapeutic properties: cayenne has shown potential for weight loss and for digestive and circulatory issues, and cinnamon has been shown to help with both blood sugar and blood pressure control.

To your health!

The Doctor’s Spicebox Mexican Chile-Orange Spiced Pepitas

Serves: 4 as a snack



1 cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (not toasted), aka pepitas

1 teaspoon Canola oil

grated zest of one orange

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon



  1. Toast pumpkin seeds in oil in a 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Combine orange zest, salt, sugar, cayenne and cinnamon.
  3. Toss toasted seeds with the spice mixture until evenly coated.


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Nutrition Info: Cal 83, Fat 4g, Protein 3g, Sodium 6 mg, Sugar <1g