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Perfect Bar Unwrapped: Pumpkin Seed Oil

Posted by Cat Canada on

In Perfect Bar Unwrapped, we’re sharing exactly what goes into our bars that makes ‘em so darn good for you. This month, we’ll be highlighting one of the 20 powerful superfoods included in the Keith family’s age-old recipe, complete with all of its uses, benefits, and a recipe of your own to try. Because, when we find something amazing, we’re all about sharing the wealth with the people we love.

Meet This Month’s Superfood

We wouldn’t include it in our bars it wasn’t all sorts of awesome and pumpkin seed oil is just that. With a variety of uses and loads of health benefits, this is definitely something you’ll want to keep in your pantry and your medicine cabinet. Gosh, we just love a good multi-purpose ingredient.

What It Is

Let’s start with the basics. Pumpkin seed oil is derived from—you guessed it—pumpkins. Yes, those big lovely orange fruits are hiding a powerful little seed inside that when treated the right way will produce a deep amber or deep green oil that is nutty in flavor and chock full of health benefits. Making pumpkin seed oil is actually harder than you’d think if you want it to retain all of its benefits. First the pumpkin seeds need to be roasted at the optimum temperature to ensure that none of the good fatty acids are damaged by heat. The roasted seeds are then placed into a press that allows for the oil to be extracted—and then used by you!

The Benefits

One of the most nutritional oils available, you can reap its benefits by taking it internally or applying it topically, depending on your needs. Full of essential fatty acids, antioxidants, sterols, and vitamins (A, B, E, K), it’s no wonder that pumpkin seed oil does a body good. Some of its most heralded benefits include:

  • reduced inflammation
  • improved prostate health
  • improved kidney function
  • anti-arthritic effects
  • lowered cholesterol
  • combatting hair loss in men
  • preventing heart disease
  • healthier skin
  • treating diabetes
  • increased milk production in nursing mothers
  • anti-parasitic treatments

After that wow-worthy list, you’re probably wondering why pumpkin hasn’t been a bigger part of your life. Don’t worry—we’ll help get you there. Something this great shouldn’t be relegated to just a fall food. It’s time to get your pumpkin on all year long.

The Uses

So. Many. Ways. When it comes to cooking, its best to use the oil cold or in low heat so that it retains its beneficial properties—most consider this oil more of a finishing oil for meals rather than a ‘cooking oil’. Similar to how one would use olive oil, you can use pumpkin seed oil as a salad dressing, in the place of butter (with low heat), added into soups, drizzled over a freshly cooked meal, or even mixed into smoothies. Make sure when shopping for the oil to look for unrefined and cold pressed variations. As for cosmetic uses, the high levels of antioxidants, fatty acids and vitamin E in the oil make it your skin’s best friend when it comes to anti-aging. While the antioxidants and vitamin E neutralize free radicals fight against environmental elements that damage your skin and make it susceptible to wrinkles, and infection, the fatty acids are working hard to retain moisture in your skin. Similar to how one would use coconut oil, adding pumpkin seed oil to your skincare regime as a moisturizer or mask can leave your skin feeling and looking younger and healthier.

The Recipe

Like we said, pumpkin seed oil can be incorporated into your life in tons of different ways and we’re going to get you started with this nourishing and delicious recipe for Spaghetti Squash with Pumpkin Seed Oil Pesto.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1⁄4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup basil leaves, packed
  • 1⁄4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (plus more for garnish)
  • 1⁄4 cup cold pressed pumpkin seed oil
  • 2 clove garlic
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1⁄2 tsp lemon zest
  • 3⁄4 tsp salt
  • 1⁄2 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Wash squash, cut in half lengthwise and spoon out the seeds. Punch a few holes in outer skin with a fork. Place squash cut-side
  3. down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Take the squash out of the oven, let it cool and remove the flesh, separating the strands with the fork.
  5. Toast pumpkin seeds.
  6. Combine all remaining ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  7. Gently mix pesto with spaghetti squash and serve with extra Parmesan cheese on top. Serve hot.
  8. And voilà! Dinner is served. Nutritious and delicious, just the way we like.

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Well, what are you waiting for? Go out there and get yourself some pumpkin seed oil. Your body thanks you in advance.