Whether you loved carving the Jack O’ Lanterns or not, most of us have very fond memories of roasting or burning, they both count, pumpkin seeds afterward. The salty, nuttiness of roasted pumpkin seeds is a taste we know quite fondly, but what we didn’t know then is that pumpkin seeds by themselves are a great low-calorie source of protein, fiber and Omega-3 and 6’s. All those nutrients make for great overall health including our mental health. According to different health sources, the complex make up of pumpkin seeds nutrients can act as an antidepressant. According to https://www.enzo.co.nz, ‘Tryptophan is found in many proteins, however as it competes with other amino acids for uptake into the brain the best way of boosting brain serotonin levels is to consume foods that have a high tryptophan to total protein ratio. These foods are pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds’.
Now that we are all grown up, we can give those old school roasted pumpkin seeds an upgrade. Below is a recipe that takes pumpkin seeds to a whole new level. When incorporating new foods into your diet to purposely help with mood or other health concerns, please always consult your therapist and/or doctor before starting a new regiment. The following recipe is a fun, healthy twist on an appetizer or snack of classic stuffed mushrooms with added pumpkin power!
Pepita Pesto-Stuffed Mushrooms
• 40 small cremini or white mushrooms, stems removed
• 6 tablespoons unsalted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted and divided
• 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
• 1 cup cilantro leaves
• 2 ounces cotija or fresh Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup)
• 3/4 teaspoon grated orange rind
• 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 1 garlic clove, chopped
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
How to Make It
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange mushroom caps, stem sides up, in pan; cook 5 minutes, shaking pan occasionally. Turn mushrooms over; cook 5 minutes, shaking pan occasionally. Place mushrooms, stem sides down, on paper towels to drain and cool.
Place 4 tablespoons pepitas, parsley, and next 7 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor; process until chopped. With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute; process until well blended.
Fill each mushroom cap with about 1 teaspoon pesto; top evenly with remaining 2 tablespoons pepitas.
Calories 48, Fat 3.3g, Satfat 0.9g, Monofat 1.6g, Polyfat 0.6g, Protein 2.9g, Carbohydrate 2.7g, Fiber 0.5g, Cholesterol 2mg, Iron 0.6mg, Sodium 77mg, Calcium 45mg
By Garcsa Brooks,
Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc.