Pumpkin Seed Salsa | Cooking Class Giveaway

February 3, 2019

Pumpkin Seed Salsa is made with nutty toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped and mixed with fresh red salsa ingredients. It’s a perfect wintertime snack – a delicious taste of sunshine.

pepita salsa


When the folks at Rancho Vignola approached me to sponsor another cooking class giveaway for my loyal fans and followers, I immediately knew two things: that I was feeling a wholehearted YES about the idea, and that I was going to launch the giveaway with my dearly-loved pumpkin seed salsa recipe.

Pumpkin seeds don’t often elicit the kind of fanatic devotion that, say, pine nuts or hazelnuts do. However, if you have access to really fresh ones, pumpkin seeds are amazing. They have a full, rich, nutty sweetness, with a complexity of flavour that suits all kinds of recipes. They have off-the-charts health benefits. They last a long time without going rancid. And did I mention they are delicious?

[umpkin seed salsa ingredients

We tend to snack on pumpkin seeds in nut mixes and granola, but they can be used in any sweet or savoury dish where you might use nuts (pesto, I’m talking to you). Mexicans are way ahead of us in this respect; pepitas (as they are called in Spanish) are used to enhance and garnish all kinds of foods.

My pumpkin seed salsa is a basic fresh tomato salsa with finely chopped toasted pumpkin seeds mixed in, adding a rich, nutty flavour, and soaking up some of the liquid produced by the fresh tomato and lime, helping to make the salsa more chip-scoop-friendly. It’s a great recipe to crack out in the wintertime, when the tomatoes might not be at their best – the toasted pumpkin seeds (with friends fresh lime and cilantro) cover for a slightly sad tomato.

salsa with pumpkin seeds

Of course, I wholeheartedly recommend using Rancho Vignola organic pumpkin seeds. As you know, I am a huge fan of their products – the absolute freshness and quality of everything they sell, from nuts, to seeds, to dried fruit, to confections, is bar none. As such, their pumpkin seeds are always fresh, always full of flavour, and always come in an unusual very dark green (almost black) colour that I have come to adore.

Rancho Vignola pumpkin seeds

Toasted on the left, raw on the right.

Which brings me to this month’s cooking class giveaway. . . This is not a true give-away in the strict sense of the term. Rancho Vignola has sponsored half of the cost of running an entire cooking class (as well as provided all the new-crop nuts and dried fruit that we’ll need for our menu), so there will be 14 spots to sell at a 50% discount. That’s $50 per person for a Chef Heidi cooking class! Three hours of instruction and hands-on learning, a recipe booklet, and a full multi-course meal for $50. In other words, A Great Deal!

This hand-on class will run on Sunday, February 24th, 2019, at from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the beautiful London Chef teaching kitchen in downtown Victoria. The menu will be a hybrid Indian-Moroccan explosion of flavour, and the entire menu with be GLUTEN FREE. There will be both vegetarian and meat-lover’s options to enjoy, and, as always in one of my classes, many tips on how to get the most out of the spices and cooking techniques and pantry items.


1. You are entering to win a discount on a Chef Heidi cooking class. Her classes are normally valued at $100. Draw winners will pay only $50.

2. No purchase necessary to enter the draw, but if you win the discount, you will be expected to pay the remaining 50% value of the cost of the cooking class – in this case, $50 plus GST per person.

3. Enter the draw three ways: 1) by commenting on the blog post, 2) by commenting on the link in my facebook fanpage 3) by commenting on my post in Instagram.

4. The Discount Giveaway will run for ten days and close at noon on Wednesday, February 13th. The 14 winners will be chosen by random draw and announced on Thursday, February 14th – Happy Valentine’s Day :)

5. This discount giveaway is open to any Canadian or U.S. resident who can make it to Victoria for the date of the class (Feb 24th, 2019).

7. This discount cannot be applied to any other cooking class. It applies only to the Rancho Vignola sponsored cooking class offered Feb 24th, 2019.

PHEW! Now that that’s all over and explained, let me just give you that recipe. And don’t forget to post your comments here or over on my facebook fanpage  or Instagram post for your chance to WIN the discount!

Makes 3 cups

This nutty, flavourful salsa is a delight in the winter months.

160 ml (2/3 cup) raw green pumpkin seeds
2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 large shallot, peeled and chopped
1 small jalapeno, seeded and chopped
30 ml (2 Tb) extra-virgin olive oil
4 ml (¾ tsp) sea salt
2.5 ml (½ tsp) white sugar
45 ml (3 Tb) fresh lime juice
2.5 ml (½ tsp) chipotle puree (I make this myself using canned chipotle, pureed with a hand blender)
½ bunch of cilantro, leaves and soft stems included
750 ml (3 cups) roughly chopped ripe tomatoes (go for the pricier small vine-ripened tomatoes in the winter months)

Toast the pumpkin seeds in your toaster oven until most of the seeds pop, but make sure they don’t burn. Stir once or twice while the seeds are cooking. They will take from 5 to 8 minutes to toast. Set aside to cool.

In a food processor, puree everything except pumpkin seeds and tomatoes. Add the pumpkin seeds and process until the pumpkin seeds are finely ground, but not totally to a puree. Add all the tomatoes with their juice and process again until the tomatoes are chopped small. Taste for salt, sugar and lime – you may need to add more of each.

The finished salsa will be on the smooth side, a bit runny, but still scoopable with a tortilla chip. And most importantly, it will be delicious.

pumpkin seed and salsa

Comments (81)

  1. Hi Heidi. Thanx for the great info. It wouldn’t be the 1st or last time I’ m wrong, but I don’t believe you mention if or where these products can be purchased locally. Cheers!!

  2. You are a terrific teacher! It’s always a treat when you are supervising chef at Soup Sisters and I would love to take one of your classes. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Heidi, the Indian/Moroccan fusion sounds like a great class. I would love to know more about cooking with seeds, nuts and fruit. I totally enjoyed the Rancho Vignola show in Victoria last year. I would love to attend this class.

  4. Hi Heidi, Indian/Moroccan fusion makes my mouth water, thinking of all the favours infused in these cultures.

    1. Cathleen, I usually puree the whole can (or two cans) in a food processor. But if I were to use a hand blender, I would put the chipotles in a mug, to contain the splatters.

  5. I love all your recipes. The tours of nutitional Victoria have been brilliant. I look forward to the class with or without the duscount.

  6. I mastered (in my own way :)) Thai cooking after taking your fabulous classes – so maybe now it is time to move on to something new!

  7. Curious to know if you would sacrifice much flavor if you got rid of the sugar entirely or replaced it with something like erythritol.

    I am also excited to possibly be part of a half-price cooking class especially catered to the gluten-free. I am celiac but also love good food, and am just beginning to learn to do gluten free in a healthier way.

    1. You can remove the sugar, for sure. It’s just to make up for winter tomatoes which don’t have the sweetness of summer ones. You can also reduce the lime by a bit if you want it less tart.

  8. These pumpkin seeds are the darkest, richest and tastiest pumpkin seeds ever! Trust you to source only the best!

  9. Heidi, I’d love to take another one of your delicious cooking courses. Your classes are the best, I’ve learned all sorts of tips from you!

    I finally found one of those coveted lime/lemon juicers that you use .

  10. Sounds delicious
    All the things you make and teach us are delicious…
    And full of multi -different mouth stimulating tastes, let alone satisfied stomachs and minds.

  11. Heidi: I am going to make your salsa for dinner! Your special promotion on your class is very innovative. Every recipe of yours I make gets rave reviews.

  12. I would love to take part in this class. I Have switched my diet to a mostly gluten free one and am anxious to learn some great recipes.

  13. Moroccan- Indian fusion sounds like a winner combo. BTW- we make a version of your baked tofu almost DAILY at my house- so, so, so yummy. I learn something from every class I’ve taken– would love the opportunity to learn something else!

  14. I’m very excited to try the recipe. Looks amazing! Would also love to be included in the 1/2 price class! Exciting! Paula M

  15. What a great contest! Would love to do the cooking class! I’m very interested in trying Rancho Vignola products – where can I purchase them? Thanks, Lan

  16. what an amazing sounding class! My son is gluten free and I love finding new recipes so the whole family can share the same meal. Would love to take this class. Can’t wait to try making the pumpkinseed salsa.

  17. Thanks for the delicious salsa recipe! I tried it and loved it :-)
    Looking forward to attending your Feb 24 cooking class.

  18. Hello,
    This soonest like a wonderful cooking class. While I have taken a class or two with Heidi, it was Lin ago. I am so excited about taking one that is gluten free-a problem when your daughter is Celiac and your old receipes are not. For me, I just love pumpkin seeds. Currently, I use them in granola, on top of salads or in muffins. I would love to take this class.

  19. Hello. Looking to enter your draw for a discounted cooking class.
    Just in time for our 43rd Wedding Anniversary on Valentine’s Day.
    Thanks Kindly!!

  20. Hi Heidi
    I am always wanting to expand my knowledge of using great ingredients, changing my usual habits that make my food always taste the same and incorporating unique ethnic flavors. Cooking to me is the art of color, flavor, play and love.


  21. Hi Heidi, Thiis recipe sounds delicious and I am excited to try it. Would love to join you for another class, they are always so informative and fun to attend.
    Thanks Jane

  22. Hello Heidi.. I’ve never tried Moroccan but look forward to the the class if chosen. Please enter my name. Rada

  23. This class sounds amazing! I love your Indian classes and would very much like to take this one for Moroccan and Indian cuisines. Recipes for warm, healthy and flavour-filled dishes sounds simply perfect right about now.

  24. Fingers crossed that I may win this contest! Love your cooking classes and their products. Thank you Rancho Vignola and chef Heidi Fink!

  25. I went to the Rancho Vignolas fruit and nuts sale this year as a result of going to one of Heidi’s classes. It was a tasting delight and bought lots. I will go again next year. Thanks Heidi the class was grand too. Have cooked the Thai dishes many times since. Already signed up for more classes.

  26. Haven’t had one of your wonderful classes in quite some time Heidi. Thanks Heidi and Rancho Vignola for opportunity to win.

  27. Would love to return for another one of your classes Heidi! I would also love to take my daughter as she needs gluten free meals.

  28. If I should win Ron would like to come as well. He had to miss your last China Town class. He is willing to pay full price.

  29. This class sounds amazing! I have always wanted to learn how to cook Moroccan food and to have a Indian-Moroccan sounds sounds so cool. I hope I am one of the people chosen for the class. Thank you Rancho Vignola and chef Heidi Fink for offering this discount.

  30. I’m stoked to be a part of your cohort Heidi! Thanks for all you bring to keep the food profile high in Vic!

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