Small yet powerful, seeds offer a satiating combo of protein, fiber, and healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats. Stock up on these tasty varieties, store them to maximize freshness, and enjoy often.
1. Pumpkin seeds
Also known as pepitas, these in-season, chewy green seeds have a lightly sweet, nutty taste. Per tablespoon, they offer about 14 percent of your daily phosphorus need—this mineral works with calcium to build strong bones and teeth. You also get 5 percent of your daily protein need and 4 percent of your daily iron.
GOOD FOR Topping a yogurt parfait or soup, or adding to mole sauce
In a pot, bring 3 cups broth, 2 cups pumpkin purée, ½ cup chopped onion, and 1 clove minced garlic to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, 30 minutes. Purée with an immersion blender; simmer, 30 minutes. Top with roasted pumpkin seeds; serve.
2. Sesame seeds
Sesame seeds have a rich, nutty taste and delicate crunch, and come in brown (unhulled), black, white, and red hues. Per tablespoon, the hulled variety contains almost 4 g of heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats and only a little saturated fat. And the seeds provide several key minerals, including potassium.
GOOD FOR A finishing touch in stir-fries or as a crunchy coating for mushrooms, tofu, or chicken
In a pan over medium heat, sauté mushroom slices in a thin layer of broth until liquid is mostly absorbed. Dip mushrooms in egg, then coat with a mixture of sesame seeds, bread crumbs, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Bake at 425° on a greased cookie sheet, flipping once, until cooked through, 6–9 minutes. Serve with honey mustard.
3. Hemp seeds
Sometimes called hemp hearts, these cream-colored seeds have a subtle crunch and nutty taste, and they contain all nine of the essential amino acids we need to build muscle. Hemp seeds provide 3 g protein per tablespoon, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber to keep your digestive system humming.
GOOD FOR Mixing into a smoothie or muffin recipe, or as an ice-cream topping
Blend hemp seeds with plain kefir, frozen banana, frozen blueberries, almond butter, and cinnamon.
The New “It” Seed
Dried lotus seeds are growing in popularity, and for good reason: An ounce provides about 10 percent of your daily protein need, plus 8 percent of your daily potassium. Eat roasted or add to soup. Find sellers at amazon.com or buy lotus snacks at poppedlotus.com.
How to Prep Seeds
Use these tips to get the best taste from seeds.
Hit the bulk section if you need only a small quantity, since seeds go rancid quickly due to their oils. For larger quantities, pre-packaged tends to be a better deal.
Cold temperatures help keep seeds fresh longer: Store in a sealed bag in the fridge for up to six months or in the freezer for up to a year.
Roast seeds to improve flavor: Preheat oven to 350°. Place seeds on rimmed cookie sheet in a single layer and bake until golden, stirring occasionally, 5–10 minutes.