Saturday, April 13, 2013

Air-Popped Popcorn with Yummy Vegan Toppings

When I was a kid, my family used to always make popcorn using the air popped popcorn machine. I have so many fond memories of curling up on the couch to watch a movie or TV along with my family, with a big bowl of buttery, salty, delicious popcorn. It had been a while since I'd enjoyed some freshly popped popcorn, aside from buying some of the bags of organic salted popcorn at Whole Foods. Finally, I splurged and bought myself a popcorn popper!

I purchased the air popper at Bed Bath and Beyond (using a 20% off coupon, too....woo!) and chose this one by Nostalgia Electrics. It is a bit different than the one I had as a kid, where you pour the kernels into the bottom of the popper and a narrow metal arm moves the kernels around (so they don't burn) until they begin to pop. It wasn't too expensive and it definitely does the job of making a fluffy, crunchy, delicious treat!

When it comes to toppings and making some dairy-free vegan popcorn, it's easy! If you're looking for that classic, buttery popcorn, just melt down some Earth Balance or other vegan margarine in the microwave, and pour it on top. You can also use olive oil on the popcorn. Using the Earth Balance, coconut oil or olive oil allows any other toppings you put on top to stick to the popcorn.  My favourite popcorn right now uses melted Earth Balance, spoonfuls of nutritional yeast (a great way to add a cheesy taste and get your vitamin B12!), Trader Joe's garlic salt grinder (garlic, onion, parsley, and sea salt), and dried dill. 

Here are some other ideas for popcorn toppings!

* Classic - melted Earth Balance and salt
* Noochy - melted Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, and salt
* Spicy - melted Earth Balance with sriracha and garlic powder mixed in, along with nutritional yeast
* Asian-inspired flavors - sesame oil with sriracha and a tiny bit of soy sauce
* Sweet - olive oil and cinnamon sugar on top
* Kettle Corn - olive oil, sugar, and salt

If you don't like the nutritional yeast or other toppings falling to the bottom of the popcorn bowl, you can mix some of them into your melted Earth Balance first! With popcorn, feel free to add any of the spices that you love....smoked paprika, cayenne, chili pepper, thyme, dill, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, curry....the possibilities are endless!

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