I love popcorn. It’s my guilty pleasure. I eat a pretty low-sugar diet. Until I walk into a movie theater. It’s awful. The worst part is, I will see anything. Someone can say, “Do you want to go see a movie?” My answer is immediately, “Yes.” It doesn’t matter what; I don’t wait to hear what they want to see. I’m not a movie buff. I’m a popcorn junkie. As someone relatively informed about her health, I know what they sell at the theater is wildly bad for me. I do not care. I eat it with reckless abandon. I’ll double down on exercise classes and be even more careful about what I eat to accommodate my vice.
But there is a healthier way to indulge in a little popcorn. You do have to make it yourself. I can even skip it at the movies if I know I have one of these full-flavor recipes waiting for me. I also feel more balanced and more fit to lead when I skip the double butter at the theater and make one of these healthier and yummier recipes. There are three great reasons to love these recipes: as a healthy-option treat, a healthy alternative and as a quick fix for guests.
With a little more effort than unfolding a microwave bag and pressing “start,” for new a healthy, yummy treat, these results are amazing.
If you’re just looking for an alternative to pouring on the butter, binging on Smartfood or snacking on Cheetos, these are great alternatives.
Finally, this is way more fun than chips and dip or hummus and carrots. It’s yummy and a healthy alternative to chips and salsa. It’s also novel and unexpected after how many bowls of hummus. The ingredients keep, so you can have them on hand to feed an impromptu party or a friend who’s coming over just to hang out with a little more care than throwing down dip and not too much more effort. You’ll have happy, healthy guests.
You will need the right toys. I think of kitchen gadgets, tools and equipment as “kitchen toys.” These items are not strictly necessary to make popcorn. You can use a pot and oil. They are necessary if you want to make popcorn without any additional fat and super helpful to reduce the fat in the topping. Again, these choices are yours.
You’ll need an air popper. These come in two forms, countertop and microwave. The countertop models run between about $19-$37.00 and the microwave models start at $8.99.
The other gadget is less essential but helpful. An oil mister will set you back about $7 and not only evenly disperses the topping, it allows you to use a lot less. Alternatively, there are now olive oils that are sold as sprays and intended to be used directly on food (not as cooking sprays). They are 100% olive oil and come in flavors like chili, garlic and truffle oil, which is super fun for popcorn and one spray is 15 calories. These are a great option to help make your popcorn healthier.
Basic Popcorn Recipe for air popper:
½ cup kernels*
Add to air popper. Have a bowl ready. Enjoy.
*Air poppers generally have a cup at the top for melting butter. This also double as the perfect size for the amount of popcorn needed. It measures to approximately ½ cup.
1 Recipe Popcorn
2-3 pumps/sprays truffle oil spray, such as Mantova Spray Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Truffle or truffle oil from an oil mister
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
Chives, fresh, to taste, chopped from 1 small bunch
Especially if you use the spray, this healthy and yummy recipe is a great alternative to so many junk foods, and it is a huge hit with guests. If you don’t use the spray, truffle oil sounds extravagant but it’s olive-oil based, many grocery stores carry it, a small bottle costs about $12, and a little goes a long way. If you don’t have a mister, it drizzle a small amount and toss. Parmesan is a hard cheese that is relatively low in fat, so it’s a great choice in small quantities.
Prepare popcorn. Spray oil. Toss with cheese. Toss chives. Enjoy!
1 Recipe Popcorn
2 pumps/sprays garlic olive oil spray or garlic-infused olive oil from an oil mister
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, more to taste
¾ teaspoon oregano
Sun dried tomatoes, to taste, diced
Make popcorn. Spray with oil, toss. Add cheese, toss. Spring in oregano and sundried tomatoes, toss.
For an even lower fat option and a different variation, you can try a butter-flavored spray, a ½ teaspoon of garlic powder and replace the parmesan with ½ cup shredded fat-free mozzarella (more if you like it cheesy).
1 Recipe Popcorn
½ c Wasabi Peas, more or less to preference
1 Package Seaweed Snacks (Suggested: Sea Salt, Chili or Wasabi) snack strips
2 tsp Wasabi Powder
2 Sprays Olive Oil Spray, toss, such as Mantova Extra Virgin Oil Spray (enough to get the seasonings to stick)
2 tsp sea salt
3 TBS Brummel and Brown yogurt butter
1 TBS Soy Sauce
Make the popcorn. Add or skip as many of the add-ins as you like here. If you’re using the spray, spray and toss. Then sprinkle all over with the wasabi powder and sea salt, and toss again. The peas will be heavier than the popcorn, so toss the seaweed in first. Then gently sprinkle the peas over top. If you’re using the yogurt butter, combine the yogurt butter, soy sauce and wasabi powder and microwave. Allow to cool slightly. Yogurt butter isn’t as thick as oil ,and it can make the popcorn damp, especially in this combination, so I recommend putting a little in the bottom on the bowl and mixing it in and gently pouring the rest around – avoid dumping it on when both are hot if you can. Add the seaweed, gently mix. Sprinkle peas on top.
So for your next movie night in, the next time you have guest or two or three, or you’re just looking for a little healthy treat, get out a bowl, pick out your toppings and enjoy!