In honor of National Popcorn Day, here is a quickie post for an easy recipe to make a show stopping treat for your next movie night, family gathering or Tuesday : Pesto Popcorn. It has all the flavors you would expect when you hear the word “pesto”: the sweet, earthy taste of basil, the zesty, salty yum of parmesan cheese and a nice zing of garlic. I forgot how much fun it is to make popcorn the good old fashioned way, in a pot with some oil and popcorn kernels. No plastic bag, no chemicals and no microwave involved. Actually, I believe that it is impossible to not smile when you are making popcorn. Try it. See…told you! You can’t not smile when you are shaking a pot back and forth with little mini white fluffy explosions going on…it’s just not possible.
OK – I said this was a quickie post, so lets get to it! You’ll want to make the pesto seasoning first so it’s ready to go when your popcorn in done. Grab some dried basil, parmesan cheese, garlic powder and salt and pepper. A spice grinder is ideal, but any blender with a grinder attachment or mini food processor will get the job done. Quite frankly, even if you do not have any of these items a mortar and pestle will work as well. Grind the spices really well however you do it, try and get it as fine as you can so it sticks well to the popcorn.
How to make Pesto Popcorn
Now for the fun part, time to make the popcorn! Add 3 tablespoons of oil and three kernels of popcorn to a 4-5 quart saucepan. Put the lid on the pot. Turn the heat on to medium and wait for those three kernels to pop. Now your oil is ready so let’s get poppin’! Put your popcorn kernels into the pot and with the lid back on move the pot back-and-forth gently once it starts popping. This helps the unpopped kernels to stay on the bottom of the pan so they have a fighting chance to fulfill their popcorn destiny and explode into a glorious piece of mouth-watering, fluffy popcorn. OK – that’s a bit dramatic, but you get the point. Once the popping slows to less than one per second, remove the pot from the stove, carefully remove the lid opening it from the side furthest away from you. This will help avoid getting a burn from the steam. Dump all of the popcorn onto a tray, large platter or cookie sheet. Spray the popcorn with a cooking spray or preferably some olive oil via a refillable spray container like a Misto, then immediately sprinkle the pesto seasoning all over the popcorn. Using your hands, toss the popcorn well so the pesto seasoning evenly coats all of the popcorn. Then all you need to do is try and get it into a bowl before you eat it all! Good luck with that!
Oh and by the way… you can sprinkle this seasoning mix on eggs, potatoes, cooked veggies and more – it’s pretty darn tasty. I hope you enjoy it – Happy Popcorn Day!!
- 3 Tbs fine grated parmesan cheese
- 3 Tbs dried basil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ½ C popcorn kernels
- 3 Tbs light olive or canola oil
- Place all of the pesto spice blend ingredients into a spice grinder for small food processor and process until well blended
- Place oil and three of the popcorn kernels in a 4-5 quart saucepan, lid on, over medium heat
- Once the three kernels pop add in the ½ C of popcorn kernels
- Move saucepan back and forth gently during popping
- Once the time between pop slows, remove from the heat
- Empty the popcorn onto a baking sheet or large platter
- Spray the popcorn lightly with cooking spray (Misto recommended)
- Quickly sprinkle on the pesto seasoning and toss to coat
- Place in a bowl to serve