Nutritional yeast popcorn is not only the best popcorn ever, it's the healthiest!
My dad wasn't a cook. I don't have a single memory of him even working the grill. Mom and I joked that he could rebuild a toaster, but clueless on toasting his own bread. To this day, I can't remember a single thing he ever cooked.
He was a master at popcorn, and poured any interest he had in cooking into this simple snack. He started with Jiffy Pop. Do you remember this one from your childhood? It's still (shockingly) available.
For those who don't, I have a link above. Jiffy Pop comes in a heavy foil pan suitable for stovetop cooking, filled with popcorn kernels, and covered with more heavy foil. As a child, it was fun to watch the foil balloon up as the popcorn popped on the stove.
But it often burned, and, sorry Jiffy Pop, it just wasn't very good.
So dad vigilantly researched popcorn makers in Consumer Reports, and a couple of times a year purchased a new one he was convinced would up his game. Unsurprisingly, he was the first in his circle of friends to have an air popper.
And he tested every popcorn kernel on the market, searching for the best kernel that would pop up into a fluffy morsel with just the right crunch. Orville Reddenbacher kernels were his personal favorite.
Get the Right Equipment
So when my husband and I recently decided to cut back on sugar, I decided popcorn was a good solution to desserts and snacks. First, I purchased this nifty popcorn popper in an after Christmas sale. It's GREAT. And here's why:
- It's specially designed to circulate hot air in the container to help prevent burning and promote getting all those kernels to pop.
- It's healthy because it's air-popped.
- The silicone top is handy because it's not only a lid, but it has 2 other purposes. It's the measuring cup for the kernels, so you don't need to go scrounging for a measuring cup. And it's perforated. That means if you really must have butter on your popcorn, just put a knob of butter in it before scooting it into the microwave. The butter melts over the popcorn, just like in the movie theaters.
- It's all dishwasher safe.
In fact, we liked this popper so well, we bought two: one for our home outside San Francisco + one for our condo in the mountains.
And now the folks at Micro Popcorn have introduced another popcorn popper. Their first product has been hugely successful. This new one offers everything the first one did, but it's half the size.
Get the Right Popcorn
Next I researched all kinds of kernels. After trying several, I found that Bob's Red Mill kernels popped up to almost one and a half times the size of other kernels. Seriously. When popped, Bob's Red Mill kernels completely filled the container. The other kernels I tried, filled the container ⅔ - ¾ full.
If you can't find them, and I don't always either, just order them! They're worth it, IMHO.
Nutritional Yeast Popcorn
And lastly, I started to experiment with adding flavors. Enter, nutritional yeast, the real secret to making addictive popcorn. It gives popcorn a cheesy flavor similar to Doritos, but omg so much healthier. (Sorry Doritos!)
Nutritional yeast is loaded with healthy nutrients, and is considered one of those super foods we should all be eating. It has lots of uses. And for vegetarians, and especially vegans, it's a complete protein. I add it to soups, pasta dishes and vegetables. It's great sprinkled on zucchini and then sautéed. I also shower it over delicata squash slices and then bake them up. But my favorite way of using this fabulous ingredient is making nutritional yeast popcorn. It's completely addictive. So, consider yourself warned.
I find nutritional yeast in the bulk bins at my market, but you can also purchase it pre-packaged.
Nutritional Yeast Popcorn (Best Popcorn Ever!!)
- Air pop the corn kernels - I pop mine in the microwave oven with the pictured glass popcorn popper.
- Spill the popcorn into a large bowl.
- Drizzle with olive oil enough to lightly coat. It's best to start with a couple tablespoons and add more as desired. Sprinkle with the seasoned salt to your own tastes - again it's best to start with a smaller amount as it's easy to add more if you want.
- Generously sprinkle with nutritional yeast - this is magic stuff that really makes this popcorn addictive.
- Toss with your hands to coat the popcorn and serve.
If you're looking for a great vegan recipe that includes nutritional yeast, check out these Sesame Crusted Sweet Potato Cakes. They're so healthy and delicious!
And this Cauliflower Scampi dish uses nutritional yeast as an alternative to Parmesan cheese.
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