Healthy Lemon Parmesan Popcorn Recipe: The New Way to Popcorn by Ann Marie Patitucci
Popcorn is and always has been my favorite snack. This is a family thing; I grew up eating popcorn with my parents, siblings and cousins, often while watching movies or favorite TV shows like The Little House on the Prairie, The Cosby Show, Lassie and Dukes of Hazzard. We always joke that even our dogs (Daisy, Ronnie, Cheyenne, Piggy and Phin) love popcorn. When I was younger I suppose what I loved about popcorn was the taste and the tradition, the routine of being with family. These days I still love the taste and eating it with my own little family, but also appreciate other aspects of the popular snack: it’s a whole grain, it’s filling and it’s healthy. It’s also a budget-friendly way to feed your kids and all their friends for a movie night or slumber party.
You can make popcorn a variety of ways. I started out using an air popper, then moved to the Whirley Pop popper and now I make my popcorn on the stove, and have been doing so regularly for years now. Popcorn is healthy – but only as healthy as you prepare it. Because you have control over the ingredients when you pop your own at home, you can make popcorn both healthy and flavorful without adding too many calories or extra salt. This is something you cannot control when you make microwave popcorn.
With the popping technique below, you’ll find that nearly all of the kernels pop and you won’t burn the bottom of your pan. Success! With this lemon Parmesan popcorn recipe, you can also turn an ordinary night into a special one when you impress the kids with this “fancy” popcorn. They won’t even realize it’s healthy!
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Servings: Makes 2 quarts
- 2 teaspoons oil (I use extra virgin olive oil, though I think other oils are more popular for popcorn)
- 6 tablespoons popcorn kernels (will yield 3 cups popcorn)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- dried oregano or parsley flakes (optional)
Here’s how to make it:
- Make sure the inside of your 3-quart heavy-bottomed sauce pan is completely dry before heating the oil in it to prevent oil from sputtering. Once it’s completely dry, heat the oil on medium-high heat.
- This may be a new step for some people, but it’s a great one: Put three or four popcorn kernels into the oil (still on medium-high heat) and wait for the kernels to pop. When they pop (wait until they do!), add the rest of the popcorn kernels in an even layer to the pan.
- This is another great trick: Cover the pot, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. If you have little ones, you can ask them to count with you! (Removing the kernels from the heat for just half a minute brings the other kernels to near-popping temperature; when they are returned to the heat, they all should pop at about the same time.) For the very best popcorn, I suggest keeping the lid slightly ajar to let the steam release.
- Once the popcorn slows to seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat. Next, remove the lid and pour the popcorn immediately into a large, wide bowl. (Note: Don't add any toppings or flavor until after the kernels have fully popped. Some ingredients, like salt, may prevent kernels from popping properly. It's better to wait until after the popping is done.)
- Now it’s time to add your seasonings. This is where you can customize your popcorn to your tastes and control the ingredients, too. For a delicious, healthier popcorn, whisk oil, lemon pepper seasoning and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Drizzle over popcorn and toss to coat. Add additional salt if you like (I only use a tiny bit). Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately.
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