You see, I LOVE popcorn–lightly buttered (with vegan Earth Balance)–and sprinkled with nutritional yeast (nooch). Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. You know nooch, yes? It has a rich, cheesy flavor that can take on almost mushroomy notes in, say, a pot pie. A favorite recipe I make starts with a roux made of toasted flour, nooch and vegetable oil, and its aroma while cooking…oh my-heavenly. But I digress.
One day, craving a big healthy infusion of nooch, but not having any popcorn on hand, my eyes lit on Trader Joe’s roasted and lightly salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) in the pantry. A mere 5 minutes later, I was munching on the most delicious snack to enjoy with a glass of white wine. They are also delish sprinkled on a whole range of other dishes. And poured up into little jars, they make very festive gifts.
Can I just tell you how many times I have burned my mouth on this snack because I simply couldn’t wait? Sad, I know. But I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, only with a little more self-control!
Yield: 1 cup
1 tablespoons vegan butter (I like Earth Balance)
*1 cup roasted and lightly salted pepitas (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (Red Star brand contains B12)
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Pinch sea salt
Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add pumpkin seeds and toast, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and smoked paprika, and toast, stirring constantly, for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until nutritional yeast coating is golden and lightly toasted. The buttery yeast may smoke a little while toasting, so just watch the color and avoid overcooking. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in just a pinch of salt, and pour into a small bowl to cool.
Note: Feel free to try it with pumpkin seeds removed from a fresh pumpkin, but I love the green color and narrow size of the variety Trader Joe’s sells and have never seen them in any pumpkin I have ever purchased. Since Trader’s brand is already roasted, you’ll probably need to toast tfresh dried pumpkin seeds longer than my recipe calls for.