Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Little Seed Of Squash

On the way home from the gym today I stopped at a produce market to get some inspiration for dinner.  I grabbed a beautiful head of lettuce from a local grower, but nothing else called to me until I saw a display of butternut squash, with a sign that said it was only 99 cents a pound.  After I paid for my items and left the store, I realized I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to incorporate both ingredients into a meal, but I was confident I'd come up with something.  I always do.

When I got home I did an internet search.  There were a lot of good-sounding recipes, but I ended up using Martha Stewart's Chili-Lime Roasted Butternut Salad as a springboard. Her recipe called for romaine lettuce, Cotija cheese, and pepitas (pumpkin seeds). I used leaf lettuce and roasted chickpeas in place of the cheese, but I was at a loss for a substitute for the unavailable hulled pumpkin seeds. There were walnuts and almonds in the pantry and sesame seeds in the spice cabinet, but none of them came close.  It wasn't until I was cutting up the squash that I had an inspiration. Squash and pumpkin are similar, and I've substituted the flesh of one for the other a couple of times. I wondered if squash seeds would be any good?

I decided to try.  The first step was a quick internet search, which gave me several different options.  I decided to follow the steps in the first link.   I put the seeds in a coffee cup, covered them with water, and nuked them for 30 seconds in the microwave.  Next I drained them, then rolled them in a towel to dry them off.

When I started the hulling process I realized that it might have been a better idea to toast the seeds first to crisp them up, but I worked with what I had. I used the 'sunflower seed' technique--hold a seed between your thumb and index finger, then apply pressure to the most prominent part of the edge until the pointed part of the hull splits open. However, unlike sunflower seeds the squash shells were soft and peeled off in small pieces. But come off they did.

When I was finished I put the seeds into a small skillet and toasted them on the stove. They made a nice accent to the top of the salad.

Pepitas are hard to see, but they're there


  1. That's a great idea, never tasted squash seeds!

  2. I wonder if you have and didn't know it. They put pepitas on a lot of the breads at Whole Foods.