6 Healthier Popcorns to Munch on During the Oscars

When it comes to TV-watching snacks, popcorn has always had a pretty good rep for being healthy. It's touted as a whole grain, and, when air-popped, is naturally low in calories and fat (unless you douse it in butter).

But then there's the matter of an estimated 90 percent of corn crops in the U.S. containing GMOs. On top of that, many popcorn manufacturers made headlines years ago when news broke that certain chemicals used in the liners of the microwavable popcorn bags were linked to cancer. Yikes.

That's why chefs, bloggers, and snack brands are going back to basics and making delicious, artisanal popcorn with just (non-GMO) kernels, the stove, and the yummiest additions of flavors like rosemary, dark chocolate, or goat cheese.

Plan to make a bowl for your Oscars viewing party—or ten, so you're not too busy popping more in the kitchen to catch the show. —Molly Gallagher

(Photo: Clean Food Dirty City)


Mr. PopularMr. Popular from Nourish Snacks

Registered Dietician and Today Show nutrition expert Joy Bauer's line of non-GMO and gluten-free snacks is healthy, but that's not the only thing it's bringing to the table (or couch).

"Most popcorn bags are filled with multiple servings so you eat way more than you bargained for," says Bauer. Her version comes in perfectly portioned bags, plus they're half-popped, giving you a crunchy new way to enjoy an old favorite.

(Photo: Nourish Snacks)


Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Popcorn green kitchen stories 2Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Popcorn by Green Kitchen Stories

Is there a way to improve upon the classic savory and sweet combo of sea salt and chocolate (AKA one of the best pairings, ever)? Yes, by using 80 percent dark chocolate and sea salt, and sprinkling it on organic popcorn, like David Frenkel and Luise Vindahl did in this recipe for their blog, Green Kitchen Stories.

For the full recipe, visit www.greenkitchenstories.com

(Photo: www.greenkitchenstories.com)


Gourmet Popcorn Au Chèvre Chef Tim WiechmannOrange-Rosemary Popcorn by Chef Galen Zamarra

Leave it to Galen Zamarra, the chef-founder of super-seasonal New York City restaurant Almanac, to create a culinary popcorn recipe filled with winter herbs, fresh orange zest, and chopped rosemary. Zamarra serves it at the restaurant's bar, where non-coincidentally everyone arrives early for their dinner reservation.

Orange-Rosemary Popcorn

2 cups of air-popped non-GMO, local popcorn kernels
2 tsp butter
1 pinch Fleur de sel
1/2 orange, zested
1/2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 pinch esplette pepper or paprika

Melt the butter with all the seasonings and toss the warm air-popped popcorn in it.

(Photo: Galen Zamarra)


Spirulina Herbal Popcorn by Clean Food Dirty City

"It's easy to pack smoothies full of superfoods, but I'm always looking for ways to add them to other dishes," says Lily Kunin, the healthy brains behind the pretty Instagram and blog, Clean Food Dirty City.

So she created an herbal popcorn, inspired by one from Erewhon market in West Hollywood, loaded with spirulina, turmeric, cayenne—and some Himalayan sea salt and olive oil for good measure.

For the full recipe, visit www.cleanfooddirtycity.com

(Photo: Clean Food Dirty City)


Cali_Olive_Oil_Quinn_popcornQuinn Microwave and Farm-to-Bag Popcorn

Quinn Popcorn makes brilliant flavor combinations—we're talking a kale and sea salt mix, and a cheddar and chipotle combo—and the company does it cleanly. Founder Kristy Lewis considers it her mission to clean up supermarket popcorn options, so she created the organic, non-GMO line with pre-popped snacks and a microwavable popcorn in a paper bag that doesn't use chemical coatings and is compostable.

(Photo: Quinn)


Gourmet Popcorn “Au Chèvre” (Aged Goat Cheese Popcorn) by Chef Tim WiechmannGourmet Popcorn “Au Chèvre” (Aged Goat Cheese Popcorn) by Chef Tim Wiechmann

French-trained chef Tim Wiechmann—of Boston's renowned Bronwyn and T.W. Food restaurants—makes this snack special with a touch of fromage. "Cheese popcorn is something I make at home for my wife—it's great for guests or just late-night snacking when we get home from the restaurant," says Wiechmann.

Gourmet Popcorn “Au Chèvre”
Makes 8 cups, popped

1½ Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp olive oil for topping
1/2 cup non-GMO popcorn kernels
3–4 Tbsp hard, dried goat cheese (Bucheron, Valencay, etc), grated
1 tsp sea salt

1. In a medium saucepan, add 1/2 tablespoon of the oil and heat over medium-heat. When the oil is hot, add the popcorn kernels. Cover with a lid and wait until you hear kernels start to pop. Once they begin, give the pan a good shake and repeat until kernels are popped. Remove from heat.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to bowl and add a solid handful of the hard grated goat cheese. Toss in the fresh-popped popcorn and swirl it around.

3. Add sea salt and toss to coat.

(Photo: Tim Wiechmann)


Parmesan-Popcorn1 More Reading

New twists on a snack staple: 3 healthy popcorn recipes
7 healthy versions of your junk food faves
9 healthy snack ideas (that aren’t carrot sticks)


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