March Madness Party Snacks: Gourmet Popcorn Recipes

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on March 23, 2012

Who doesn’t love eating popcorn while watching a great game?

It’s the perfect healthy snack – 3 cups of air-popped with no butter (which is, frankly, a TON of popcorn) has only 100 calories, 4g fiber, 3g protein and virtually no sugar.

Popcorn is actually really easy to make from scratch – so easy that the husband made it all by himself at home when we were watching a movie.

He was really proud of himself :)

And it’s impossible to mess up. The husband’s popcorn tasted delicious and was much better than those microwaveable bags of popcorn. And the best part is, if you make it at home you can control the seasonings, oil / butter and flavor to spice it up in any way you want (so you can make it taste great but still be really good for you).

Here are four awesome recipes courtesy of the International Olive Council, who asked if they could contribute these recipes – and they were so delicious, I couldn’t say no! Hope you enjoy them – you’ll end up with a healthy, delicious, and flavorful game-day snack!

Option 1: Basic 

You Will Need: 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn

This Makes: 12 cups of popped popcorn

The Directions: Pour olive oil in heavy Dutch oven or large pot. Sprinkle popcorn evenly over oil. Cover loosely to allow steam to escape. Heat over medium heat. Allow corn to pop until popping slows to 1 to 2 seconds between pops. Remove from heat; let stand 10 to 15 seconds to allow popping to stop. Season with salt, if desired. Pour onto parchment paper or clean paper bag to cool or serve immediately.

. . .

Option 2: Curry Spiced

You Will Need: 

  • Basic Olive Oil Popped Corn (see recipe above)
  • 1-2 tablespoons plain or extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

This Makes: 12 cups popped popcorn

The Directions: 

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil and garlic in small saucepan over medium heat until garlic is light golden; do not brown. Remove from heat; remove and discard garlic.
  2. Blend in curry powder, cumin and salt. Stir or whisk until spices are dissolved. Set aside.
  3. Pop corn as directed for Basic Olive Oil Popped Corn.
  4. Pour seasoning mixture over popcorn while tossing or stirring to coat evenly.
  5. Season with additional salt if desired. Pour onto parchment paper or clean paper bag to cool or serve immediately.

. . . 

Option 3: Buffalo Wing Spiced

You Will Need: 

  • Basic Olive Oil Popped Corn (see recipe above)
  • 1-2 tablespoons plain olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed and slivered (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons (about 1/2 of a 1.6-ounce envelope) Original Buffalo Wings seasoning mix
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt

This Makes: 12 cups popped popcorn

The Directions: 

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in small saucepan with garlic over medium heat until garlic sizzles. Remove and discard garlic. Remove from heat; add seasoning mix and stir or whisk to dissolve seasoning. Set aside.
  2. Pop popcorn as directed for Basic Olive Oil Popped Corn.
  3. Pour seasoning mixture over popcorn while tossing or stirring to coat evenly.
  4. Continue to toss popcorn to evenly coat with mixture. Season with additional salt if desired. Pour onto parchment paper or clean paper bag to cool or serve immediately.

. . .

Option 4: Caramel (This one is more like dessert :) )

You Will Need:

  • Basic Olive Oil Popped Corn (see recipe above)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1-2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

This Makes: 12 cups of popcorn

The Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 250°F. Pop popcorn as directed for Basic Olive Oil Popped Corn. Meanwhile, blend brown sugar, oil, whipping cream, agave syrup and salt in small saucepan. Cook and stir constantly over medium-low heat until mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
  2. Pour mixture over popcorn while stirring and tossing to coat. Continue to toss popcorn to evenly coat with mixture. Pour into large shallow baking pan(s) in shallow layer.
  3. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes to set coating. Pour onto parchment paper or clean paper bag to cool completely. Break cooled popcorn into smaller clusters if desired.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Nina Aggarwal March 24, 2012 at 8:38 am

Thanks for posting this! I purchased a stir crazy by westbend popcorn maker which is absolutely awesome and has never burned a kernel and I am always making popcorn :) Great tips and ideas for seasoning! i’m looking forward to having more time to try these yummy variations!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater March 24, 2012 at 11:14 pm

No problem! I can’t wait to hear how you like these and which one’s your favorite! :)

Reply

Anna Marie March 26, 2012 at 1:50 am

Hi! I find all these ideas great! I can’t wait for the evening…

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater March 26, 2012 at 10:49 pm

Thanks!! I’m sure you will love them!

Reply

Kati Mora, MS, RD, Kellogg's FiberPlus(R) Wellness Advocate March 27, 2012 at 6:48 am

Isn’t popcorn great? I love how fiber-licious it is and I love how you’ve made popcorn even more fun with all these fab recipes. Yum! I don’t know which I’m excited to try more – they all look great!

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater March 27, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Totally!! So glad you like these recipes – can’t wait to hear which one is your favorite!

Reply

dixya September 4, 2012 at 11:42 am

Popcorns are the best! I am so exicted to try the spicy popcorn. I usually pop my own because they taste better than bags and so much healthier :)

Reply

Anjali @ The Picky Eater September 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm

I totally agree Dixya! Popping your own popcorn is actually super easy, and yes – tastes much much better than the bagged / microwavable ones :) Hope you liked the spicy popcorn when you made it at home!

Reply

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