Italian Herb Popcorn {Gluten Free & Vegan}

This Italian Herb Popcorn is a nice twist on your traditional butter topping and just as addictive

This Italian Herb Popcorn is a nice twist on your traditional butter topping and just as addictive

The countdown is officially on for Sunday.  Our menu is set, our shopping list is written up, and we’re ready to gorge ourselves while watching commercials and Katy Perry cheer on the Patriots.  It took a while to get to this point, though.  You see, when I was going over the menu the other day, I realized we had nothing munchy.  You know, something crunchy that you can eat by the handful.  Sure potato chips or pretzels would have sufficed, but I’m into something a little bit more elegant than that (yes, even for a football game).  Thus, we’ll be having this Italian Herb Popcorn.

I may have eaten a whole bowl of this by myself.  But popcorn is healthy, right?  Don't judge.

I may have eaten a whole bowl of this by myself. But popcorn is healthy, right? Don’t judge.

Popcorn itself is a pretty perfect party food.  First, it is so budget friendly.  Seriously, an entire bag of unpopped kernels sells for under $4, and you can get literally gallons of popcorn out of it!  More than that, though, it is addictive as heck.  I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who smells freshly popped corn and turns up their nose.  Nope, it’s a definite crowd-pleaser.  And, I might be the only person who cares about this for the Super Bowl, but it’s a relatively healthy alternative to the rest of the junk food spread that typically accompanies a party.

Happy little popcorns!

Happy little popcorns!

There is one problem with typical popcorn, though: the butter.  It can get so oily and messy, and once it cools down you have this weird residue that sticks to the corn.  No thank you.  This Italian Herb option helps solve that problem.  Unlike butter, the olive oil gives some fat and moisture and helps the seasoning stick, but it doesn’t get gross when the popcorn isn’t hot.  And the salt and herbs give it the same addictive quality as traditional movie popcorn, only with a novel twist.  It’s almost like when you go to an Italian restaurant and they have seasoned olive oil on the table to go with bread, only in easily snackable form.  And when you top it with some freshly grated cheese, it has a crisp salty bite to it.  So.  Good.

This popcorn is delicious and simple and will be a great addition to your Super Bowl Spread.  Or, you know, as a late afternoon snack while your home alone watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix.  Either way, you can’t go wrong.

Italian Herb Popcorn

It's optional, but when you top this popcorn with cheese it adds just the perfect salty bite!

It’s optional, but when you top this popcorn with cheese it adds just the perfect salty bite!

Ingredients

  • 7-8 cups freshly popped popcorn (I use an air popper; it’s so simple)
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • Pecorino Romano Cheese for serving, optional

Directions

  1. Put popcorn in a large bowl, or container with a lid.
  2. Heat olive oil in the microwave for 10 – 20 seconds to get it warm.
  3. Combine basil, parsley, red pepper flakes, and salt.
  4. Sprinkle herb mixture onto hot popcorn and drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Toss mixture, either by placing lid on the container, or using two mixing bowls together to make an egg-shape.
  6. Serve hot, with optional cheese.
Italian Herb Popcorn uses olive oil instead of butter for a healthy, vegan twist on this snacking staple

Italian Herb Popcorn uses olive oil instead of butter for a healthy, vegan twist on this snacking staple

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