Healthy Lunch Recipes

Pumpkin Seeds Are One of the Top Sources of Sleep-Boosting Magnesium—Here’s How To Use Them in Every Dish

Photo: Stocksy/Nadine Greeff
Of all the squashes in the world, pumpkins may be the most well-known (sorry, zucchini)—but not necessarily for their nutritional value. We tend to think of pumpkins as decorations or dessert filling, and forget about them after fall. But what you may not know is that the health benefits of pumpkin seeds are pretty spectacular, and reason enough to incorporate them into your diet year-round. “With protein, good fats, fiber, and more, pumpkin seeds are a nutrient powerhouse,” says registered dietitian Marisa Moore, RD.

In particular, pumpkin seeds are a great source of magnesium. “Just one ounce of pumpkin seeds delivers almost 40 percent of the daily value for magnesium in addition to other nutrients,” Moore says. “Magnesium is important in hundreds of processes in the body from energy production to nerve function and bone structure. It helps promote healthy blood pressure and is known to help with relaxation.”

At optimal levels, magnesium also helps boost your mood, improve your sleep quality, and support your gut health. Unfortunately, over half of all Americans are magnesium deficient, maybe as many as 75 percent, which means eating magnesium-rich foods needs to be a real priority for most people. And pumpkin seeds are one of the best sources of the multi-tasking mineral, not just because they contain a high concentration of magnesium, but also because they’re versatile enough to eat in all sorts of dishes.

“I love adding pumpkin seeds to recipes and snack mixes for friends or guests with nut allergies,” Moore says. “And you can always season them up—I like toasting them with chile and lime seasoning.” Sprinkling pumpkin seeds on top of salads or toasts is also an easy option, but that’s only the beginning.

Below are 5 pumpkin seed recipe ideas to try cooking at home

1. 3-Ingredient Pumpkin Seed Milk

Jordan Younger's 3-ingredient pumpkin seed milk
Photo: Stocksy/Marti Sans

Jordan Younger, aka The Balanced Blonde, shared her go-to alternative-milk recipe with Well+Good awhile back, and it still slaps. Sweetened naturally with medjool dates, and spiced with cinnamon, it’s great on its own, poured over granola, blended into smoothies, or used as a substitute in dessert recipes.

Get the recipe: 3-Ingredient Pumpkin Seed Milk

2. Super Seed Grain-Free Crackers

Photo: My Fresh Perspective

The only thing that can make your dip game stronger is by making your own crackers, like this easy recipe that incorporates seven different types of seeds—from pumpkin to hemp—to ensure that you have all of your nutritional bases covered.

Get the recipe: Super Seed Grain-Free Crackers

3. Salted Honey Pumpkin Seed Bars

Photo: Desserts Done Light

Pumpkin seeds play a lead role in this five-ingredient recipe, supported by honey, coconut oil, oat flour, and salt. They’re ideal for an on-the-go breakfast, but could be a nice addition to a charcuterie board, too.

Get the recipe: Salted Honey Pumpkin Seed Bars

4. Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Photo: The Spruce Eats

Traditionally, pesto is made with pine nuts, but they’re swapped out in this recipe for pumpkin seeds, and quite frankly, you won’t miss them. This pesto is so good you’ll want to eat it by the spoonful, but may we suggest pouring it over your favorite pasta, or adding it into your scrambled eggs instead.

Get the recipe: Pumpkin Seed Pesto

5. Pipián Verde

Photo: Maricruz Avalos

Take your taco Tuesday (or any day) to the next level with this pumpkin seed green mole sauce that is just begging to be slathered over some chicken. Or, as Maricruz Avalos, who shared this delicious Mexican recipe on her blog, notes: It goes great with pork, fish, or vegetables, too.

Get the recipe: Pipián Verde

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