About a year ago, I was getting popcorn in the bulk section at Seward Co-op when an earnest young man with dreadlocks and carrying a sweet, sleepy baby in a front pack approached me. He said “I see you make your popcorn on the stovetop.”
He launched into ten full minutes of extolling the virtues, wonders and sheer ecstasy of sprinkling your popcorn with nutritional yeast. How could I not try it after a sales pitch like that?
I was dubious that night when I broke it out of the fridge for a trial run. It looks, and even kinda smells, like fish food. But we popped up some popcorn, tossed it with melted butter, salt, pepper, and a solid 1/4 c. of nutritional yeast.
You can guess the end of this story. One time and we were hooked. HOOKED, I tell you. The taste is reminiscent of the Old Dutch cheese popcorn we all knew and loved. But instead of being kinda horrible for you, this version actually has some benefits. Nutritional yeast is listed here as a superfood: it’s full of B vitamins, and a complete protein. Many vegetarians/vegans swear by it.
New Dutch cheese popcorn
2 T. sunflower or walnut oil
1/2 c. popcorn
2-3 T. good quality butter
1/4-1/3 c. nutritional yeast
salt & pepper to taste
Pop the popcorn in the oil in a heavy pot on the stove (full instructions). Toss with butter, yeast, salt & pepper while still very hot. You’ll be a convert, too.
Nutritional yeast is available in the refrigerated bulk section of most natural food stores.
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July 7, 2011 at 9:55 am
oh YES! i have been making popcorn this way for at least five years ever since i tasted it at a party when i lived in berkeley. it is my number one go to snack. (or dinner!)
July 14, 2011 at 4:23 pm
oh my. i’ve only been tossing in a tablespoon or 2 of yeasty-cheezah! clearly i need to step it up. YUM.
August 13, 2011 at 1:19 am
YUM!!! I first tasted popcorn sprinkled with nutritional yeast at the Oriental Theater in Milwaukee around 20 years ago. I love this flavor so much that I will not make popcorn if we’re out of the yeast. I’m so glad to learn of other enthusiasts who eat popcorn this way! Stovetop popping (we use a Whirlypop) is the best way to make popcorn.
September 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm
This how we made popcorn growing up. I thought it was called “Boo-er’s Yeast” well… for an embarrassingly long time. 😉
January 2, 2012 at 11:28 pm
I’m just wondering if the reason it tastes so good is because nutritional yeast has high levels of processed free glutamic acid in it (the ingredient that makes MSG do its tastebud magic as well as its major smackdown to the sensitive such as I). Given the research I’ve read, I’m not so sure that glutamic acid (and thus nutritional yeast) is all that good for even non-reactive folks.
January 3, 2012 at 9:37 am
Wow, that hadn’t occurred to me, dude. Will look into it. Thanks!