Chef Ingrid Hoffmann on the health benefits of pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are used in many Latin dishes to thicken sauces, but they are also packed with healthy vitamins and minerals. Chef Ingrid Hoffmann, of The Cooking Channel’s “Simply Delicioso," shares some recipes from her new book “Latin D’lite” that are perfect for the fall season.

“What do pumpkin seeds have? They’re loaded with protein, iron, zinc and magnesium,” Hoffmann said. “Imagine that 1/4 cup of pepitas has already 50 percent of the magnesium intake that you require in a day and 20 percent of the zinc and the iron. So it’s a superfood, obviously.”

Some of the recipes in Hoffmann’s book feature innovative uses for pumpkin seeds – including one recipe for healthy pepita muffins, made with natural, organic applesauce instead of sugar.

“They are low in sugar, low in fat, a healthy breakfast,” Hoffmann said.

Another of Hoffmann’s favorite recipes is pepita pesto, made with cilantro, garlic and a base of toasted pepitas.

“The beauty of using sauces like this is that you’re flavoring your food naturally,” Hoffmann said. “You’re not using fats, you’re not using creams and butters, you’re using natural ingredients which your body recognizes. There’s no preservatives or additives in it, it’s all herbs, garlic, shallots and the seeds, toasted.”

Pumpkin seeds can be purchased at most grocery stores and come in several varieties including hulled, unhulled, toasted raw, salted and unsalted. For cooking, Hoffmann said she prefers to buy unsalted seeds so she can better control the levels of sodium in each dish.

For more recipe ideas and information on Hoffmann’s new book, visit