Have you recently bought a new ingredient that is sitting in your pantry just because you really don’t know really how to use it? This month’s Recipe ReDux is challenging members to pick a new ingredient that you’ve been wanting to try… and cook or bake up a new recipe in the new year. I’ve had a container of nutritional yeast in my pantry collecting dust after the one time I used it and my recipe was kind of a disaster. Recipe ReDux has encouraged me to brush off the dust and get inspired to create a recipe using, of my choice, nutritional yeast!
I’m a few days late celebrating National Popcorn Day (January 19th), but I still wanted to celebrate with a delicious new popcorn recipe! Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks. Many people don’t realize, but popcorn is a whole grain. The white part that puffs up is the endosperm, the flakey part is the bran, and the part that usually gets stuck in your teeth is the germ.
Popcorn can be a healthy snack, but the issue is sometimes what we put on it (butter & salt) can turn a healthy snack into a treat snack.
So, you may be thinking… “what the heck did you say you put on this popcorn? Nutritional yeast?”
Nutritional yeast is made from a single-celled organism, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, which is grown on molasses and then harvested, washed, and dried with heat to kill or “deactivate” it. Because it’s inactive, it doesn’t grow like baking yeast does so it has no leavening ability. Yeasts are members of the fungi family, like mushrooms. (source)
The golden flakes of nutritional yeast have a nutty aroma and well known cheesy flavor, making it a go-to vegan substitute for Parmesan cheese. (Hence the quotes in the recipe title “cheesy”) If you like this recipe and don’t have or want to use nutritional yeast, simply swap with Parmesan cheese.
Using nutritional yeast is a great alternative for those with lactose intolerance or who are vegan. Plus, nutritional yeast is rich in Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate and Vitamin B12.
You could just sprinkle nutritional yeast on popcorn and call it a day, or add a few extra spices to kick it up a notch. I added salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and smoked paprika for an overall savory flavor profile.
And if you really just don’t want to pop your own popcorn, this is a healthy substitute.
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- ¼ cup popcorn kernels
- olive oil spray
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ⅛ tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add a few pieces of popcorn - if the corn slowly spins in the oil then the oil is hot enough.
- Add remaining popcorn and cover with a lid. Once the popcorn starts popping, shake the pot gently to have the oil evenly coat the kernels.
- Remove from heat when the popping stops (when you can count to 3 between pops) and transfer to a large bowl.
- Combine the nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika in a small bowl and mix to combine.
- Get a large serving bowl and place half of the popcorn in it. Spray generously with olive oil then sprinkle over half of the spice mix. Add the remaining popcorn and repeat once more. Toss to coat and serve.