Today is the 19th of January, and guess what day that is? International Popcorn Day! I used to wonder how one could possibly enjoy popcorn without butter. Or without caramel (i.e. butter, cream and sugar).
Fear not, there are so many ways to still enjoy this delicious snack on a plant based diet and this is one of them.
It’s not particularly low fat or low sugar, so enjoy it in moderation. However, you can feel a little bit better about this vegan salted caramel popcorn because it uses coconut sugar. You’ll often see me using coconut sugar instead of the regular stuff because it’s a healthier choice for the following reasons:
- It has a higher vitamin, mineral and phytonutrient content
- It has a lower glycemic index (around half that of white sugar) which means it doesn’t cause your blood sugar to spike as much
- It’s better for the planet – the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation dubbed it the most sustainable sweetener in 2014.
Just remember it’s every bit as “sugary” as the real thing and too much sugar is actually the Devil in disguise, so go easy kids!
What’s Coconut Butter?
I know some of you are going to ask, because it’s not nearly as common as coconut oil. It has a very different flavour profile and consistency to coconut oil and it truly makes this salted caramel sauce!
So what’s the difference? Coconut butter is just pureed coconut flesh (hence, creamed coconut), while the oil is just the extracted oil from the flesh. It’s like tahini vs sesame oil, or peanut butter vs peanut oil. Each have their own unique taste and uses.
You can find coconut butter in vegan grocers, health food stores, some supermarkets and online. OR, you can even make it yourself by chucking desiccated coconut (organic please!) in your food processor for about 7-10 minutes!
It’s amazing. You will think nothing much is happening then it will suddenly start to transform into a beautiful, creamy and DELICIOUS butter. I love this stuff on toast and drizzled on steamed veggies. It’s so good.
Now, the popcorn.
2 things that are important:
- Use organic popping corn kernals – it’s almost just as cheap and this will guarantee it’s free from icky pesticides (often plentiful in corn production) and non-GMO. My general rule for corn products is always get them organic!
- Don’t be tempted to use the microwave. You and your household do not need the radiation, and besides, it tastes so much better done in a pot!
Enjoy this popcorn immediately after you’ve tossed it through the caramel sauce as it will go a bit stale if you try to save it for later. If you want to reduce the fat in this recipe use an air fryer or popcorn maker, in which case you can skip the coconut oil.
Hope you love this super tasty treat!
- 1/2 cup organic popping corn
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup coconut butter (creamed coconut)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp water
- good pinch fine salt
Add all ingredients for the caramel to a small pot and stir with a wooden spoon over low heat until it starts to bubble. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, place the coconut oil in a large pot with 3 or 4 corn kernels. Place the lid on the pot and turn the heat onto high. As soon as the kernels in the pot have popped, add the remaining kernels. Turn the heat off once you can count to 3 between pops.
Drizzle the hot caramel sauce as evenly as possible over the popcorn, then return the lid to the pot and shake it like a Polaroid picture. No, shake it quite a bit harder than that actually.
If the caramel is still not evenly distributed you can use a spoon to get in there and mix it around until each piece has a nice coating.
Enjoy immediately 😉