popcorn, flavored popcorn, holiday treats, green holiday ideas for kids

1. Gather the ingredients.

As always, we recommend using organic ingredients whenever possible.

For the caramel popcorn:

  • 15 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup  corn syrup or honey (but keep in mind honey isn’t vegan)
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy butter, such as Earth Balance
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

For the cheesy popcorn:

  • 8-10 cups popped popcorn
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • 1-3 Tbsp olive oil

For the festive, red and green popcorn:

  • 8-10 cups popped popcorn
  • 1-2 sheets of nori
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red chili powder (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil

caramel popcorn, vegan caramel popcorn, holiday popcorn sampler, recipe

2. Make the caramel popcorn.

Place the popped popcorn on a cookie sheet (one that is somewhat high-sided). Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut sugar, corn syrup or honey (but note, honey isn’t vegan), Earth Balance, and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring well until the mixture is well-combined and starts to boil. Continue stirring for three to four minutes, then turn off the heat, stir in the baking soda (which will lighten the color and texture of the mixture), and then pour over the popcorn on the baking sheet, trying to spread the caramel mixture over as many kernels as possible. Do the best you can-the rest of the pieces will get covered throughout the baking process.

Place sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove sheet from the oven and toss the popcorn with a wooden spoon or spatula, again trying to coat as many pieces as possible with the mixture. Return the sheet to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes. Repeat process until the popcorn has cooked for an hour. Remove the sheet from the oven and let popcorn cool, using the spoon to break up any large popcorn clusters and to make sure the popcorn doesn’t stick to the pan. Try not to eat the entire pan in one sitting. Want to make it even more decadent? Drizzle a few tablespoons of melted dark chocolate over the kernels!

vegan cheesy popcorn, how-to, kid friendly, holiday snacks

3. Make the “cheesy” popcorn.

This is an easy recipe for the kids to help with. Place popped popcorn in a large bowl or container that has a lid. In a small bowl, mix nutritional yeast, mustard powder, salt, turmeric (if using) and olive oil. Sprinkle the cheesy mixture over the popcorn. Work in the mixture with clean hands or place lid on top of the bowl or container and shake it up! The extra nutritional yeast mixture will eventually settle on the bottom, so shake well right before serving to re-coat the kernels.

popcorn, popcorn sampler, vegan popcorn, how-to

4. Make the red and green popcorn.

In lieu of making the basic, super buttery popcorn that usually comprises the third component of the popcorn sampler, we made a festive, simply flavored popcorn that incorporates the colors of Christmas: red and green. The red comes from paprika (and also from chili powder if you are so inclined) and the green comes from a type of seaweed often used for sushi-making called nori. This is another recipe that the kids can help with.

Place the popped popcorn in a bowl. Place one sheet of nori in a high-speed blender or food processor and pulverize, processing until the nori becomes as powder-like as possible. Add the nori powder and paprika and chili powder, if using, to the popcorn bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss the mixture with your hands, attempting to coat as many of the kernels with the red and green colors as possible.

vegan popcorn sampler, holiday snacks, food, recipe

5. Serve or package and munch!

If you have an old-school popcorn sampler tin, put your new and improved popcorn versions inside. In order to fill it, you will need to double each of the recipes. You can also serve the popcorn varieties individually or package them for teachers or friends. The caramel popcorn will stay good for a week or two (though we can never resist it for that long). The other two flavors should be consumed within a few days. Happy, healthy holidays!

popcorn sampler full

Vegan-Friendly Holiday Popcorn Sampler

For the caramel popcorn:

  • 15 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup  corn syrup or honey (but keep in mind that honey isn’t vegan)
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy butter, such as Earth Balance
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

For the cheesy popcorn:

  • 8-10 cups popped popcorn
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • 1-3 Tbsp olive oil

For the festive, red and green popcorn:

  • 8-10 cups popped popcorn
  • 1-2 sheets of nori
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp red chili powder (optional)
  • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil

Gather the ingredients. As always, we recommend using organic ingredients whenever possible. Make the caramel popcorn. Place the popped popcorn on a cookie sheet (one that is somewhat high-sided). Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut sugar, corn syrup or honey (but keep in mind that honey isn’t vegan), Earth Balance, and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring well until the mixture is well-combined and starts to boil. Continue stirring for three to four minutes, then turn off the heat, stir in the baking soda (which will lighten the color and texture of the mixture), and then pour over the popcorn on the baking sheet, trying to spread the caramel mixture over as many kernels as possible. Do the best you can-the rest of the pieces will get covered throughout the baking process. Place sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove sheet from the oven and toss the popcorn with a wooden spoon or spatula, again trying to coat as many pieces as possible with the mixture. Return the sheet to oven and cook for another 15 minutes. Repeat process until the popcorn has cooked for an hour, turning the coating the kernels every fifteen minutes. After an hour, remove the sheet from the oven and let popcorn cool, using the spoon to break up any large popcorn clusters and to make sure the popcorn doesn’t stick to the pan. Try not to eat the entire pan in one sitting. Want to make it even more decadent? Drizzle a few tablespoons of melted dark chocolate over the kernels!

The “cheesy” popcorn version is an easy recipe for the kids to help with. Place popped popcorn in a large bowl or container that has a lid. In a small bowl, mix nutritional yeast, mustard powder, salt, turmeric (if using) and olive oil. Sprinkle the cheesy mixture over the popcorn. Work in the mixture with clean hands or place lid on top of the bowl or container and shake it up! The extra nutritional yeast mixture will eventually settle on the bottom, so shake well right before serving to re-coat the kernels.

In lieu of making the basic, super buttery popcorn that usually comprises the third component of the popcorn sampler, we made a festive, simply flavored popcorn that brings in the colors of the holiday-red and green. The red comes from paprika (and also from chili powder if you are so inclined) and the green comes from a type of seaweed often used for sushi-making called nori. This is another recipe that the kids can help with.Place the popped popcorn in a bowl. Place one sheet of nori in a high-speed blender or food processor and pulverize, processing until the nori becomes as powder-like as possible. Add the nori powder and paprika and chili powder, if using, to the popcorn bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss the mixture with your hands, attempting to coat as many of the kernels with the red and green colors as possible.

If you have an old-school popcorn sampler tin, put your new and improved popcorn versions inside. In order to fill it, you will need to double each of the recipes. You can also serve the popcorn varieties individually individually or package them for teachers or friends. The caramel popcorn will stay good for a week or two (though we can never resist it for that long). The other two flavors should be consumed within a few days. Happy, healthy holidays!