Kids Can Make: Healthy Taco Popcorn

Nutritional yeast is our secret ingredient in this taco spice blend. Dried and not active, it's high in vitamin B12 and has a pleasant cheesy flavor, making it the perfect stand-in when dairy's not an option. (You can find it in the supplement aisles at grocery and health food stores.) For big and little kids: Let them help measure ingredients and toss the popcorn.
  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 20 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: Four 2-cup servings, plus leftover spice blend
  • Nutrition Info
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Ingredients

Taco Spice Mix: 

20 large sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed; about 3 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch strips

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Pinch cayenne pepper

Kosher salt

Popcorn:

1 teaspoon olive oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

Directions

Special equipment:
A spice grinder
  1. Make the Spice Mix: Put half the tomato strips in a single layer on a microwavable plate. Microwave in 30-second increments, checking the texture in between, until they begin to harden but are still red and slightly pliable, 1 to 2 minutes. (They may begin to brown and taste bitter if cooked too long.) Let sit until cool and completely hardened, about 2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining tomato strips.
  2. Transfer the cooled tomato strips to a spice grinder, and grind to a powder. Discard any pieces that won't grind. Add the nutritional yeast, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt, and grind to a fine powder.
  3. Make the taco popcorn: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the popcorn kernels. When one pops, cover the pot, and cook, shaking the pot constantly, until the popping subsides to 1 pop every 20 seconds. Pour in the melted butter, and toss to coat. Add 2 heaping tablespoons of taco spice and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss again to coat.
  4. Store the remaining taco spice blend at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. (You'll have enough to make 3 more batches of popcorn.)
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