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Spicy Roasted Pepitas

In the 00's, one of our favorite East Bay restaurants was Dona Tomas for their take on traditional Mexican ingredients and recipes. Our schedules were unpredictable and their tables were routinely jammed, so we did a lot of waiting and always nibbled on their spicy pepitas--pumpkin seeds--while we did. They were absolutely addictive.
Delicious with chilled drinks, they're also great to pair with fruitier red wines. They have a savory character that really pops flavor in a brighter red like Barbera, and plenty of smoky red spice just begs for Tempranillo.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 6


  • Baking Sheet
  • Oven
  • parchment paper (optional)


  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the pepitas on the baking sheet and add the olive oil to them. Stir to coat.
  • Mix the spices and salt together in a small dish. Sprinkle the spice mixture on the oiled pepitas and stir to disperse evenly. Spread seeds out on the sheet.
  • Roast pepitas on the middle rack of the oven until lightly browned. Time may vary for your oven and for the level of moisture in the seeds, so check them frequently after the first 10 minutes. You can give them a stir after the first 10 minutes if you want to even out the color.
  • Remove sheet from the oven and cool. Seeds can be eaten immediately or stored in an air-tight container--if you have any left.


This recipe scales well for a crowd. If you do increase it, make sure to spread the seeds out well and use additional baking sheets if necessary--the pepitas won't brown and crisp if they're piled too deeply.
Try changing up your spices. Try cumin and coriander. Drizzle in some maple syrup. More or less of any ingredient.  You choose.
You can use pumpkin seeds that you've harvested from a Halloween (or other) pumpkin in this recipe.  Rinse 2 cups of scooped seeds to remove any pumpkin fiber. Fill a large pot with 8 cups of water, and add the pumpkin seeds and salt. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the pumpkin seeds simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and dry before dressing and roasting.

The Pairings

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