My Favorite Guilt-Free, Delicious Popcorn

There have been plenty of reasons for us to eat popcorn nonstop around here. We LOVE ourselves a nice buttery, salty bowl of popcorn. We do it usually at least once a weekend and it is AWESOME! Some good reasons we should be eating popcorn are: 

Reason #1: Disney is coming up with all these live action remakes of all the great Disney movies from my childhood, so naturally you’ve got to cozy up and share a bowl of popcorn while you prep and watch all the cartoon versions first, and then watch the new ones. 

Reason #2: I have come to really enjoy watching the NFL with my hubs, but I’ll tell you--I, like many people, can’t stand watching Tom Brady and the Patriots easily cruise their way to the Superbowl every year and usually win the whole dang thing. So, there’s got to be something for me to look forward to while watching these games so I can ignore that fact year after year. Every year it feels like Groundhog Day that I wake up and boom--Tom Brady won the Super Bowl yet again (eye roll) over and over again. I’m sick of it. Popcorn helps. What can I say?

However, all this buttery popcorn, not to mention the little snacks that go with it like Hot Tamales or Milk Duds (so good--if you haven’t tried these candies in your popcorn bowl--you need to get on that ASAP!) are not so good for the waistline or my overall health--hey there, cholesterol and saturated fat, heeeeyy! So I had to come up with a solution and I found myself a winner. My new nutritional yeast popcorn (aka nooch) is actually super healthy for me and now I can enjoy my savory bowl of popcorn guilt free!

It is very simple--I just air pop some popcorn kernels, drizzle some olive oil, add some salt and add my crushed up nutritional yeast and stir to combine. The nutritional yeast turns into a powder that coats the popcorn, kind of similar to Cheetos powder, if you will. Nutritional yeast has a very nutty, salty kind of umami taste so it is very satisfying.

I swapped out the butter for olive oil because while the calories comparing the two are almost exactly the same, since olive oil is plant-based, there is no cholesterol or saturated fat. If you look at the Mediterranean diet, which is known to be the most heart-healthy diet, about 90% of their fats in their diet come from olive oil.

Here are just a couple of really cool things about nutritional yeast and why it is so healthy:

*What is nutritional yeast?  It is a species of yeast, the same type that is used to bake bread and brew beer. It is created by growing for several days on a sugar-rich medium like molasses. Then the yeast is deactivated with heat, harvested, washed, dried, crumbled and packaged for distribution.
*It is naturally low in sodium and calories, as well as being fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan.
*It is a complete protein (it has all nine essential amino acids) and 1 tablespoon contains 2 grams of protein.
*It contains many B vitamins. One tablespoon contains 30-180% of the RDI for B vitamins. When fortified, it is especially rich in thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.
*It contains trace minerals. One tablespoon of nutrional yeast contains 2-30% of the RDI for trace minerals, such as zinc, selenium, manganese and molybdenum. Trace minerals are involved in gene regulation, metabolism, growth and immunity.
*It may help lower cholesterol levels.
*It may boost immunity.
*It contains powerful antioxidants that protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals and heavy metals and help your body eliminate environmental toxins.

Another tip for this popcorn is that if it is your first time eating this, you might not want to skimp on the salt. The salt really helps make it taste more like the popcorn you’re used to. 

Here is the recipe for my favorite healthy, guilt-free popcorn. You’ll have to give it a try and see what you think. I really think it is delicious and I love how healthy it is at the same time!

Nooch (Nutrional Yeast) Popcorn

Serving size: 2

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup nutrtional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt (plain or truffle)

Pop the popcorn kernels with an air popper into a large bowl.

Drizzle with the olive oil.

With a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, grind the nutritional yeast and salt together until you have a fine powder. Sprinkle over popcorn and toss to coat.

Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.

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    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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