Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Homemade, Savory & Vegan Friendly Protein Popcorn

I used to be a die hard savory popcorn fan until I discovered how to make a homemade vegan kettle corn a few months ago that's even better than the stuff they sell at the fair. Since then, I've made batches upon batches of kettle corn, eating most of it myself (eek). Eventually, I got tired of the sweet stuff and decided to switch back to my old favorite: cracked black pepper and parmesan.

Except this time, I skipped the parmesan, used nutritional yeast instead and didn't go back to my shitty-quality microwave-a-bag-of-popcorn days. 

In other words, I made it from scratch again. 

WOW. Nutritional yeast is 1000x more flavorful than cheese. AND guess what? Each serving (1 1/2 tablespoons) of this powerhouse ingredient has only 45 calories, 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, plus loads of vitamins. Sound good to you? Does to me! 

Now, when you make this homemade popcornits so easy and way healthier than the chemical and artificial ingredient laden store stuffyou should definitely use virgin coconut oil and nutritional yeast. 

Haven't heard much about either? Read my kettle corn post, which explains a bit about each ingredient and provides additional links to websites with more information. 

All right. Have at it. And please leave me a comment detailing how your version turned out! 

Homemade Vegan Protein Popcorn
A salty and savory popcorn that's made even more decadent by substituting virgin coconut oil instead of butter. The addition of nutritional yeast bumps up the cheesy flavor and provides an additional 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber per serving. Combine with cracked black pepper and cayenne pepper to give your popcorn a spicy kick. Quick, healthy and vegan friendly, this homemade coconut oil popcorn is the perfect snack.  
Adapted from Chew Out Loud's Kettle Corn Popcorn
Serves: 4-5


For the Popcorn:
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of virgin coconut oil (mine were heaping spoonfuls)
1/2 cup of popcorn kernels (use organic/non-GMO corn if possible)

For the Seasoning/Topping (add all to taste):
Fine sea salt  (I recommend Pink HimalayanCeltic or Utah sourced salt)
Fresh cracked black pepper
Nutritional Yeast (look for it in the dry goods section or find it here)
Granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
Cayenne Pepper (Add two dashes to start. Add more if you like it spicier.)

Recommended Equipment
stainless steel stockpot with lid or enameled cast-iron dutch oven

Measure out the popcorn kernels and place in a small bowl or plate. This is very quick and attentive process, so you'll want everything ready and at arm's length. Take a large, heavy bottomed pan (one you cook pasta in), place it on your largest burner and set it to medium-high. Scoop out 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of coconut oil, which will be solid at this point. Let the coconut oil melt and warm. After a few minutes, place 2-3 kernels into the oil with the lid off. Once one kernel pops, it is ready. Toss in the rest of the kernels, immediately cover the pan with a lid. Wait 3-5 seconds, then grip the handles or the sides of the pan with two oven mitts and push the pan back and forth across the burner for a few seconds. After doing this a few times, the kernels should begin popping like crazy. 

Keep repeating both steps—waiting then moving the pan across the burner every few seconds—until the popcorn has slowed down. When this happens, remove the pan from the burner and let it keep popping for another 30 seconds or so. Once most of the kernels have popped, dump the fresh popcorn into a large bowl and sprinkle with fine sea salt, black pepper, nutritional yeast, granulated garlic and a few dashes of cayenne pepper. If desired, melt another teaspoon or so of coconut oil and drizzle it over the popcorn. Taste, savor and try not to eat the whole bowl yourself! 

Notes & Tips
It's very important to make sure the oil is adequately heated before adding the kernels. If you don't do this, you'll only get burnt popcorn. 

After making this scores of times, I've found that not all pans are equal. My stainless steel stock pan gives me the most reliable results. When I used my Le Creuset pan (enameled cast-iron) it took much longer and not all the kernels popped. If you're using enameled cast-iron you might try heating the pan twice as long before adding the oil. This way it's nice and hot. Do let me know how it turns out (since I haven't had great results).

If you don't have access to nutritional yeast, substitute parmesan cheese. This is tasty, but be advised that the nutritional yeast is way more flavorful!  

Real Food Resources

Gluten-Free Vegetarian: 80+ Soy-Free, Meatless Real Food Recipes

"If you're looking for simple recipes that will inspire you to eat more vegetables and begin a clean eating lifestyle, look no further. Hannah's ebook is chalk full of flavorful, diverse dishes sure to make both your belly and body happy. Even better, the emphasis on fresh, approachable ingredients ensures the recipes are easily adaptable so that omnivores, pescitarians, vegetarians and vegans alike can enjoy this cookbook."

Real Food Survival Guide For Busy Moms

"This e-book is perfect for busy folks who need help maximizing their time in the kitchen so they can fix nutritious, real food snacks and meals to eat at home and on the go. In addition to realistic advice, this book provides recipes for real food staples you can make in bulk ahead of time, which ensures you always have nutrient dense foods at hand. And it’s especially helpful if you’re interested in implementing homemade fermented foods into your diet."

Question for Discussion: Which type of popcorn do you prefer: sweet or savory? Why? 

Answer in the comments section below or join the conversation on The Rising Spoon Facebook page. Prefer Twitter? And feel free to circle me on Google Plus or follow me on Pinterest.

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. However, I ONLY recommend helpful products that I myself would use. And I'm really picky about what I share with you guys. Because I myself am super choosy about what I buy and consume. Recommending products that I love or want to own helps me cover the costs of running this blog and keep providing you with free, helpful information. And it costs nothing extra for you. Thanks!

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