Mexican chile-orange spiced pepitas

This tasty snack can help with weight loss, blood sugar, and blood pressure control.

Mexican chile-orange spiced pepitas

In the fall, you’re probably inundated with every pumpkin bread and pie recipe you’ll ever want to see. But what about pumpkin seeds? I make these zesty, spicy, crunchy pepitas (green pumpkin seeds) for Dia de los Muertos, Mexico’s Day of the Dead, which is celebrated on the days around Halloween. 

These are fantastic as a snack on their own, as a topping to salads (in place of nuts) or butternut squash soup, or as an addition to trail mix. From a health standpoint, many of the ingredients in this recipe are powerhouses!

Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein, as well as antioxidants and minerals, including vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, zinc and iron. And as a seed, they’re a good nut alternative for people who are allergic to tree nuts. 

As a bonus, the spices also have therapeutic properties: Cayenne has shown potential for aiding in weight loss and for improving digestive and circulatory issues, and cinnamon has been shown to help with both blood sugar and blood pressure control. 

To your health!

Servings: 4 quarter-cup snacks


  • 1 cup green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (not toasted), aka pepitas
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • Grated zest of one orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Toast pumpkin seeds in oil in a 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Combine orange zest, salt, sugar, cayenne and cinnamon. 
  3. Toss toasted seeds with the spice mixture until evenly coated.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 83
  • Total fat: 4 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Sodium: 6 mg
  • Total sugars: < 1 g