christmas popcorn

Do you remember having fundraisers as an elementary schooler? We used to bring home Christmas catalogs full of candles and chocolates and wall plaques that said things like, "Joy and Peace." My mom called most of this stuff "junk." But she usually ended up buying a roll of wrapping paper or two, and if we were lucky, a tub of popcorn.

Do you remember that popcorn? It came in a giant tin with a Santa or wintry scene printed on its side. There were three types of popcorn inside: buttered (which was always finished last), caramel, and...cheese. Glorious, glorious artificial cheese.

I once read somewhere that real cheese has addictive properties. Artificial cheese is worse. I am ashamed to admit how much I love fake powdered cheese, purposefully designed to make me lick out the inside of the bag on the very rare occasion that I eat Cheetos.

This Christmas we're still eating cheesy popcorn, but this version is healthier. It uses the new and improved form of artificial cheese: nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is safe for vegans and those with gluten intolerance. It's not safe for those with candidiasis or a fear of eating foods produced by microorganisms. That being said, it is called nutritional for a reason. The label on mine says that one heaping tablespoon provides 3 grams of protein, almost 2 grams of fiber, and more vitamins and minerals than 20 bowls of Total cereal. (Someone check my math on that one?) It's delicious and nutritious.

Artificial Cheese Popcorn*
*With no artificial ingredients

2 tbsp popping corn
1 tbsp canola oil (or another oil with a high smoke point)
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/16 to 1/8 tsp salt (1/8 will be really salty, but I have to admit I kind of like it)

Mix the seasonings ahead of time and keep next to your stove, so you can add them quickly at the end. In a large pot with a well-fitting lid, add the oil and 2-3 kernels of corn. Cover, then heat on medium-high, tossing a bit to coat the kernels. When those kernels pop, add the rest of the popcorn. Continue to heat, shaking periodically, until all kernels have popped. (They will slow down to 1-2 seconds between pops, just like microwave popcorn.) Turn off the heat, add in the seasonings, and shake well. Transfer to a bowl (or tin!).

This makes one conservative serving.

I feel this makes up for my kettle corn fail.


  1. Okay, first of all, YES! I remember those popcorn tins! Our Christmas ornaments are still held in those containers! And secondly, YUM! This looks amazing. We're totally making some to eat on our holiday movie night!

  2. I've been wanting to make this! I saw a version on the Chew using nutritional yeast and thought that was so clever! I'm going to have to give this a try. Thanks for the reminder :)

  3. Yum ;)
    but I would have to hold off on the yeast ;(

  4. the photos look real nice... i'm wishing for some buttered popcorn now :D

  5. @Ella: =( I tried to see if there are any non-dairy and non-yeasty cheese powders out there...no luck. Let me know if you find anything! Otherwise, homemade popcorn is good plain. =)

  6. Ooh may have to make this Friday night - Friday night is popcorn and home movie night!

  7. So great to meet you in person Clair!! Looking forward to hanging out again!

  8. I DO remember those tins of popcorn! For some reason I loved eating the caramel and artificial cheese at the same time :) This looks amazing, I'm going to have to try it out!


Thanks for making me smile. =)