Vanilla and cinnamon roasted pumpkin seeds

When I was little we would make cinnamon toast at home for tea on weekends. Maybe it was to taste like the amazing American cereal named after it (closely rivalled in the cupboard by Golden Grahams. Anyone here under 25 probably has no idea what I’m talking about). It consisted of freshly buttered toast (salted butter, for best results) sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. It was amazing.
It wasn’t until the other day, bored of eating plain pumpkin seeds from my giant bag in the kitchen, that I realise show much I loved that flavour. Without much forethought I turned on the oven, roasted the seeds in some vanilla paste and a sprinkle of cinnamon, dusted them with a little salt and coconut palm sugar and are almost the whole lot before my trusted taster-husband-critic got home.

Pumpkin seeds are nutritional powerhouses and one of my favourite snacks. They have lots of zinc, vital for immune function and a mineral which which often consume insufficient amounts of; they have even more iron, magnesium and vitamin E, and hold both sweet and salty flavours well. They’re also a powerful natural anti-parasitic, so useful for travelling abroad and fighting parasites or helminths.

I use cinnamon a lot in sweet snacks as it is a great blood sugar balancing aid and helps prevent those unwelcome energy dips that often follow glucose intake. (You can read more about this in my book which covers it in depth). And as for vanilla… I just can’t imagine my kitchen without it. Here I use the organic paste which often has a little sweetness added – you can also use powder or the seeds from a fresh pod if you have one.

For me, replacing processed snacks with healthy ones requires serious attention to flavour and sensory pleasure if I’m not to feel a little disappointed at the wholefood version of what I think I’m craving. It also has to be quick to make and not cost the world. With just three essential ingredients, roasted seeds like this are perfect for your handbag, your kitchen cupboard, even your bedside table if you’re that way inclined. The only challenge is not eating them all at once and for that I recommend bull baking.

You can also roast a mixed bag of seeds with tamari for something savoury and beautifully easy; or a little cumin and curry powder to sprinkle on salads and veggies.

Enjoy, and happy Easter


Makes one bowlful

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1 tsp vanilla paste

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder or more to taste

a sprinkle of salt

coconut palm sugar to dust – optional

Preheat the over to 140 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the seeds, vanilla paste and cinnamon and transfer to a baking tray. Bake in the oven for five to six minutes until golden (but be sure they don’t burn); remove and leave to cool. Sprinkle with a little salt and optional coconut palm sugar, adjust any spice or saltiness to taste and store in a jar out of direct sunlight for up to two months.

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