Add ground pumpkin seeds for gluten-free, healthy shot to dishes. Sprinkle over salads, vegetables, or switch in for breadcrumbs.

pumpkin seed meal

My pantry is still going through a serious makeover as boxes full of ingredients I can’t pronounce are being tossed. Processed foods are being exchanged for whole foods; or in some cases, just less processed ones — Rome wasn’t built in a day, after all, and neither is creating how I want to eat for the rest of my life.

Just like building Rome, or so I imagine, I had to get the lay of the land before setting my foundation. Of prime consideration is how I live my life: I travel and eat out quite a bit; am married to a carnivorous maximus who still expects to see meat on the plate; and periodically cook for a new extended family which includes grandchildren with food opinions. In other words, this new way of flexitarian/vegetarian eating I’m determined on must be realistic, sustainable, and flexible. Otherwise it just won’t work.

Revamping the pantheon of pantry helpers in my kitchen has been part of laying that foundation. I’ve written about some of them here, but I’m really excited about this new addition to the group: pumpkin seed meal made from ground pumpkin seeds. Now this might seem like a really small thing, and admittedly it’s barely a recipe, but you’d be surprised how many ways its faintly nutty flavor amps up a dish while ushering in all kinds of health benefits. And it reminds me anew how small things can make such a difference to a day.

Rescuing a spider hopelessly trapped in a bathtub, as it attempts, Sisyphus-like, to climb out.

Walking to lunch instead of driving.

Finding out the car in front of you paid your bridge toll (not insignificant, these days).

A quick story. Years ago, pre-rollerbags, I dragged an over-packed suitcase through downtown Pittsburgh on my way to my dad’s office. I was hunched over the bag, scraping it across the sidewalk, wondering why on earth I had packed so many clothes, and not at all happy about the warm, sunny day. A complete stranger, witnessing my struggle, and perhaps more of my legs than intended, offered to carry it for me. That simple, genuine offer lifted my day immeasurable, and obviously stayed with me.

This pumpkin seed meal is that helping hand. I’ve toasted it and made it into a roux to thicken stews and posoles; scattered a bit over salads; and switched it in for breadcrumbs in recipes to make it gluten-free. Come on back later this weekend to see a recipe I’ll be posting for Quinoa Potato Cakes Florentine that incorporates this new pantry item.

Next I want to try baking with it. I think it would make an awesome bread.

A Helping Hand
Pumpkin seed meal makes a healthy, delicious substitution for bread crumbs, and can be added to soups, stews, salads, or pasta. And so easy to make!
  • 1 bag of shelled pumpkin seeds
  1. Place the pumpkin seeds in a small food processor or spice grinder. Whirl like crazy until it becomes a thick meal.
  2. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To see my other pantry friends, look at the Pantry tab and see what’s there. Or just click on any of the below links to go to a recipe.

Gremolata Breadcrumbs

Browned-Butter Breadcrumbs

Brown Sugar

Farmer’s Cheese


Chipotle Spice Mix that’s good for both veggies and Myles’ steaks and pork chops



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15 Responses to “Pumpkin Seed Meal” Subscribe

  1. LiztheChef March 9, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    Your creativity in the kitchen continues to “wow” me, Susan!

  2. gluttonforlife March 9, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    Excellent, thought-provoking post, Susan, and a great tip as far as the pepitas (as I call them). They’re a staple in my pantry but I see I haven’t maxed out their usefulness. As for the carnivorous maximus–isn’t he sort of a captive audience? Unless he’s going to cook, he’d better be grateful for whatever you put on his plate…

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian March 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      I would love to hear what additional uses you come up for the pumpkin seed meal if you make some, Laura! And my CM lacks that gratefulness response if he doesn’t see meat – but we’re working on that, and I cracked up when I saw your comment. He has in fact resorted to buying meat to make sure he gets some, and will make it himself if need be. It’s all a work in progress I suppose :-) For awhile I thought I’d call my blog Steak and (K)ale because I eat so much kale and he eats so much beef….

  3. Norma Chang March 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    Pumpkin seeds meal such a creative use of pumpkin seeds, I use it whole but your making it into meal and use it in place of flour is a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian March 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

      Thanks Norma! If you like pumpkin seeds / pepitas, then you will like the meal form of it too. I’d love to hear any uses for it you come up with it too!

  4. The Wimpy Vegetarian March 10, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    Well, my pantry is much the same, so I’m using this in the figurative sense. One cupboard is dedicated to all things baking, dried beans, and grains. One is for spices, oils and vinegars, and some canned things I keep around – like canned tomatoes for when I run out of my own. And I have an entire shelf dedicated to chocolate :-) My biggest problem is I need a bigger refrigerator and freezer…

  5. Mare March 10, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Susan, I love this post! I will be back in a couple of weeks and we should g et together!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian March 10, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

      I would love to, Mare!! We were gone a lot of February, but am home now and loving it. We head back to Tahoe end of the month, but will be around all of April (at least so far). Would LOVE to get together! Drop me an email when you’re back in town!

  6. Julie @SavvyEats March 10, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

    I LOVE that you’ve added a pantry tab!

  7. Liz March 11, 2012 at 4:34 am #

    I’ve never thought of using pumpkin seeds in anything beyond garnish or in a seedy snack mix. Thanks for the inspiration!


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