For my vegetarian and vegan athletes, or my omnivorous athletes who don’t eat red meat, I often recommend incorporating pumpkin seeds into their daily nutrition regularly. Pumpkin seeds are known for being a good source of protein and iron, but they also provide a fair amount of magnesium, zinc, and phosphorous which are important minerals for health.
A common question I get is “What else can I do with pumpkin seeds besides add them to salads or eat them as is?” For starters, you can add to homemade granola, mix into a whole grain dish, or add to a yogurt of your choice. But, what about a hummus?
Aha! It was time to experiment with a pumpkin seed hummus concoction.
If you search the interwebs for pumpkin hummus, you’re bound to see some recipes that call for pumpkin puree, spices such as cinnamon or ginger, and added sugar. That orange-creamy-sweet blend was not what I was aiming for here (although I typically love me some pumpkin puree in just about anything you can think of). I was looking for more of a traditional hummus feel…with chickpeas and olive oil.
As with many recipes I try, I tend to blend together ideas from multiple sources and then go by feel at some point. Since I am not a culinary expert, my creations do not typically make your eyeballs pop out of your head for their beauty. But I can ensure that the ingredients have nutritional purpose!
So, here’s my version of pumpkin seed hummus.
1 c raw pumpkin seed kernels (pepitas)
15 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (garbanzo beans; no salt added) - you can use homemade (~1.75 c cooked equivalent).
2 Tbsp tahini
~1/2 c extra virgin olive oil (you can adjust based on how smooth you want the consistency so start with less and then gradually add more)
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced (use more or less depending on how much you like garlic)
juice of small lemon or 1/2 lemon (more or less depending on how lemon-y you like)
sea salt, 1 tsp or more to taste
smoked paprika, 1 tsp to start
Toast the pumpkin seeds (dry, no oil added) in a skillet on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until a good portion of the seeds brown lightly. Stir often. Listen and watch for the ‘pop’ of the seeds as a fun bonus activity. Remove from heat to cool.
“Toast” the chickpeas in a skillet on medium heat for 5-10 minutes. The chickpeas I used weren’t dry yet, but I don’t think it was a big deal. Remove from heat to cool.
Add all ingredients to a food processor and GO! As mentioned above, you can start with less olive oil (and even lemon juice), mix for 20-30 seconds, and then stir the mixture to see how you are liking the consistency. I personally am not a huge fan of super creamy hummus varieties so you may end up using a different amount of the liquids than me.
Taste along the way and adjust to meet your flavor preferences! Spoon into a serving dish and optionally top with more smoked paprika, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and a light drizzle of olive oil. Try with veggies (rainbow carrots, bell pepper or jicama slices) or as a spread for a sandwich/wrap of your choice (lettuce wrap, tortilla, or a real deal sandwich).
I was anticipating a slightly bitter taste, but it was more rich-tasting than I expected - a win for the palate. I actually enjoyed the unique flavor and didn’t find it overwhelmingly pumpkin-y. What a nice alternative to the traditional hummus!
Yield: ~2 cups
Basic nutritional data for serving size of 2 Tbsp
4.5 grams carbohydrate (~1.5 grams fiber)
4.5 grams protein
13 grams fat
1:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio
Enjoy and let me know if you try it by tagging @nutritionmechanic on Insta or @mechanicdina on FB!