Here are flavoring ideas for embellishing freshly made popcorn. These recipes make enough to flavor a 10-cup batch (from about 1/2 cup kernels). If you air-pop or use fat-free microwave popcorn, you might like to drizzle 2 tablespoons or so of melted Earth Balance or coconut oil into the popcorn just before adding the seasonings. My favorite way to pop corn is in an Old Fashioned Popcorn Popper like the one made by Jacob Bromwell. Very low-tech, but it seems to bring out the best flavor from the popcorn. I like to start with 2 tablespoons or so safflower or organic virgin coconut oil per 1/2 cup of kernels.
Add salt to these mixes, or not, as preferred, and increase or decrease the amount of seasonings suggested here to your taste.
CHILI-SPICED POPCORN: Combine 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin. Sprinkle over hot popcorn and toss well.
PIZZA-FLAVORED POPCORN: Combine 1 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons tomato powder, and 1/4 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes.
HERB-AND-SPICE POPCORN: Simply sprinkle hot popcorn with a teaspoon or two of your favorite seasoning blend, like Mrs. Dash or Spike.
NUTRITIONAL YEAST AND/OR A FLAVORED OIL: A great combo is flavored oil (like garlic-infused olive oil) instead of the aforementioned Earth Balance or coconut oil) a generous sprinkling of nutritional yeast — an easy way to get flavor and Vitamin B12!
PUMPKIN PIE POPCORN: Melt 2 tablespoonsEarth Balance or organic virgin coconut oil in a small saucepan. Stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice and 3 tablsespoons agave nectar or maple syrup. Drizzle evenly over hot popcorn.
CARAMEL OR PEANUT-CARAMEL POPCORN: For a Cracker Jack-type mix, melt 2 to 3 tablespoons Earth Balance or organic virgin coconut oil in a small saucepan. Stir in 3 tablespoons natural granulated sugar and stir until melted. Stir 1 cup peanuts into the popcorn. Drizzle the mixture from the saucepan over the popcorn and peanuts and toss well. Let cool completely before serving.
ALMOND-MAPLE POPCORN: Melt 2 tablespoons Earth Balance or organic virgin coconut oil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in 3 tablespoons maple syrup. Stir 1 cup toasted almonds into the popcorn. Drizzle the mixture from the saucepan over the popcorn and almonds and toss well. Let cool completely before serving.
Combine your freshly popped corn with nuts, dried fruits, tiny pretzels, and whatever seasonings you fancy at the moment, and don’t shy away from combining sweet and salty flavors!