Just when I thought I had tried every starch free ingredient under the sun to bake with in the kitchen, I discover a new ingredient that surpasses my expectations for grain-free, starch-free, baking. This new discovery really surprised me! A search through google led me to realize the potential of this neat little seed hasn’t yet been explored as I could not find any recipes for using watermelon seeds as a “flour” except for a few studies that were done by a government agency, otherwise nothing. I believe I am the first blogger using these seeds in baked good recipes! And I can tell you I have so many recipes I can’t wait to try these seeds in! I also plan to start infiltrating some of my almond flour pastries with one part watermelon seed, more on that below…. And while at first it seems like a strange concept to bake with watermelon seeds, think of all the recipes out there with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, etc.
A couple weeks ago this 10 oz. bag of sprouted watermelon seeds caught my eye at Whole Foods, for $7.99 (works out to $12.78/pound), putting them right in line with hemp seeds and organic sprouted almonds price wise. I also found them available at less than $10 a bag on amazon and Lucky Vitamin. When it comes to foods, I pretty much rely on gut instinct to keep my thriving and fighting this dreaded autoimmune disease I live with. And when I tried these watermelon seeds they really resonated with me! I was instantly hooked. And I started dreaming up ways to incorporate them into recipes. I have a special paleo granola recipe planned, and then I started grinding them up in my coffee grinder to see how they’d do in place of almond flour. And they rocked it! These little watermelon seeds gave me better results in my waffles, crepes, and pancakes than almond flour.
The fact that the watermelon seeds I am using are sprouted is key. This means the fabulous folks at Go Raw activated these little seeds by first soaking them and then letting them “sprout” and come to life for a day or two before dehydrating them at a low temp under 105*F. When you “awaken” a nut or seed by sprouting it starts to break itself down, predigesting some of itself as it “sprouts” to life in anticipation of becoming a full on watermelon plant. Sprouted nuts and seeds are so much easier to digest and are said to have a better ratio of bioavailable minerals and nutrients for our bodies to soak up as they enzyme inhibitors and phytic acid that protect these little nuts and seeds have been deactivated with the proper sprouting process. It’s the true essence of eating “live” foods.
Okay, so here is why I am uber excited about watermelon seeds! When you grind them up they honestly make better grain-free, paleo, baked goods than almond flour, at least in the recipes I have tried so far. I still have so much “testing to do”! The sprouted seeds grind up into a super fine “flour” in 10 seconds in the coffee grinder, and this fine watermelon seed flour creates pretty awesome crepes and waffles. They are soft and light, yet also hold together really well. The seeds themselves taste a little bit like sunflower seeds, but with a more mild taste, and once added to pancakes and waffles I honestly don’t notice the seed taste at all. And while they give as much protein per ounce as hemp seeds, I like watermelon seeds sooo much better, as they just resonate with my body better. And I honestly think they make better pancakes and waffles than any other nut or seed I have tried yet! Chia, flax, and sesame do wonders with baking and come in close all tying for second place in grain-free bakers pantry.
Here is a quick run down one some of the benefits of Sprouted Watermelon Seeds:
- High in protein, 11 grams of protein per ounce.
- Low in carbs, 4 grams of carbs (3 net carbs).
- Watermelon seeds are said to be helpful to bladder and kidney health, see some testimonies here about drinking the watermelon seed tea. According to Edgar Cayce, “Watermelon seed tea is a diuretic recommended in the readings, particularly as a stimulant to cleanse and purify the kidneys and bladder.” You can read more about watermelon seed tea and see Edgar Cayce’s recommendations for drinking the tea through this link.
- The flavor of the seeds is light on the palate, more mellow than a sunflower or hemp seed. They are light and crunchy and a fabulous addition to granola and snack mixes.
- Right now at an average of $12.78 per pound they are competitively priced with organic hemp seeds, almonds, and other nuts. And who knows, maybe as they grow in popularity, their price will come down overall. As it stands now I use 1 ounce per serving, so each serving of seed “flour” costs $0.79 cents per serving, plus the cost of the egg + a little sweetener (which includes 3 crepes). (You can find roasted watermelon seeds for $5.99 per pound online, but so far I have only worked with Go Raw’s organic sprouted seeds. I will update if/when I try the roasted ones.) I prefer the SPROUTED seeds as they are much easier for our guts to digest and get nutrients from (see notes on sprouting above).
- When I played around with pancake/waffle recipe I normally use by replacing 1/2 of the almond flour with an equal part of watermelon seed flour I got good results (especially in the waffle version), so this may be an ingredient that can be a good compliment to other standard grain-free recipes. So you don’t have to use watermelon seeds entirely on their own, but instead find recipes where they may be able to offer improvements. And honestly when I did cook with just watermelon seed flour as in my recipe below, it made the best, most ‘wheat-like’ crepes I have ever had in my starch-free, grain-free life!
- I have read that historically watermelon seeds have been enjoyed by many cultures around the world, including in Asia and the Middle East. I believe they are traditionally roasted and eaten like sunflower seeds, where the exterior black shell is cracked before eating the little white seed inside, though some varieties may be eaten whole. I am still researching the different ways people eat them…
- Starch Specific Info for those with AS: If you have the same autoimmune disease as me that makes you super sensitive to starches, like me, then you will be thrilled to see that the sprouted watermelon seeds are virtually starch free. The iodine test I did showed no color change in the watermelon seeds (except for a few teeny tiny specks). Based on my iodine testing I personally consider sprouted watermelon seeds to have less starch than un-sprouted or un-blanched almonds or walnuts. You can totally ignore this data if you are not sensitive to starches. Bonus points for watermelon seed “tea” as it came up as a helpful benefit for those fighting the AS autoimmune disease I have.
I have purchased Go Raw Sprouted Watermelon Seeds for $7.99 at Whole Foods, and found them for less than $10 a bag on Amazon and Lucky Vitamin also. I have seen roasted watermelon seeds online for around $5.99 per pound (though I think a lot of them are roasted with a shell that has to be removed liked a sunflower seed) and so far I have only used Go Raw’s organic sprouted seeds in my recipes, as the outer shell is sprouted off. I have read that watermelon seeds have been enjoyed for many years in Asian and Middle Eastern cultures.
Watermelon Seed Pancakes, Crepes, Waffles
1/2 cup sprouted watermelon seeds
(option for waffles, you can use: 1/4 cup watermelon seeds + 1/4 cup almond flour, OR just use all watermelon seeds – waffles pictured were made with only watermelon seeds)
1 to 2 pastured eggs
1 to 2 Tablespoons coconut/nut/seed “milk” (omit if using an extra egg)
1/2 Tablespoon of honey (or other sweetener in liquid or powdered form – or a little stevia)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
4 drops medicine flower vanilla extract (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
optional: tiny pinch of sea salt (as sprouted watermelon seeds are already salted)
coconut oil (or other oil/fat) for cooking
Recipe works great with either 1 or 2 eggs. If you want the extra protein, use 2 eggs, and you likely won’t need any “milk”, but if you only use 1 egg, you will likely need a splash of “milk” to get the batter to the right consistency. Note: The watermelon seed batter will be thinner and more runny than a typical almond flour batter, but it bakes up very nicely in the waffle maker or skillet.
Grind watermelon seeds in a coffee grinder, takes about 10 seconds.
Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Baking soda + cream of tartar makes a starch free “baking powder” its okay to omit cream of tartar if you don’t have it.
Heat up a saute pan or skillet to low/medium heat. Or turn on waffle iron. Add oil.
When oil is thoroughly heated, spoon in a circle of batter, about 5 inches wide.
Let pancakes cook about 1 minute per side, or until lightly golden brown. Or cook waffles according to machine instructions.
Enjoy with fresh fruit, berry preserves and/or real maple syrup.
This recipe makes 6 pancakes or 4 waffles, a total of 2 servings. 1/2 cup of sprouted watermelon seeds weights approx 2 ounces, so it works out to an ounce of seeds per person, so each serving has: 17 grams of protein, 14 grams of fat (+ extra fat for cooking pancakes), and 4 carbs per serving (if 2 eggs are used, and stevia or a low carb sugar).