Ellen’s Easy Focaccia-Flavored Popcorn…Plus Some Surprising Health Benefits of Popcorn

Focaccia-Flavored Popcorn

Focaccia-Flavored Popcorn

The Easy, Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nutritious Snack!

The aroma of warm, freshly baked focaccia bread wafting from the open doors and chimneys of Italian restaurants is irresistible to me (and you, probably)! It’s difficult not to gobble up several toasty pieces as it’s being served—and even more difficult to abstain from the herbs and spices dipping sauce placed right next to the bread basket.  Knowing I’ll almost certainly be full by the time the appetizer and main course arrive doesn’t seem to deter me either. Using this simple but high calorie, high refined and processed carb indulgence as inspiration, I attempted to tweek and improve on this savory combination (as if!) to come up with a healthy snack that could satisfy the taste buds craving this at home.

Popcorn has some interesting and surprising health benefits. Popcorn is an abundant source of fiber and provides some B vitamins and minerals such as manganese, magnesium, iron, zinc and phosphorous. University of Scranton, Pennsylvania, chemistry professor Joe Vinton studied various brands and types of popcorn and found that the hull is rich in polyphenols, which have antioxidants that prevent damage to cells and can help fight disease. Popcorn is a 100% whole grain and generally unprocessed.  Kantha Shelke, a spokeswoman for the Institute of Food Technologists and a food chemist in Chicago who has also studied popcorn, says that

“Popcorn has an antioxidant called ferulic acid that’s also found in beans, corn, rice, wheat, barley and many other grains. Ferulic acid exhibits a wide range of therapeutic effects against cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and neuro-degenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s) largely because of its strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.”

Whether popcorn stays in our digestive system long enough for the body to absorb all these nutrients is still being studied.

Plain fiber-rich popcorn is low in calories and provides plenty of volume to fill you up. You can make it last a long time, crunching away on the couch, watching a movie. Adding oil, sugar or all the other toppings does add calories, of course, and flavor.  Let’s face it, eating plain popcorn isn’t always the delicious snack we’re craving.  This recipe has just enough topping to mimic the fabulous taste of focaccia bread and dipping sauce.

Ellen’s Easy Focaccia-Flavored Popcorn


1 Tbs Earth’s Balance Natural Buttery Spread (Original), melted

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbs dried garlic powder

2 Tbs fresh or dried rosemary, finely chopped

1 tbs dried oregano

2 tsp dried basil

1 Tbs Nutritional Yeast

salt and pepper to taste


1) In a medium mixing bowl sized bowl with a cover, place the melted Earth’s Balance, Balsamic Vinegar and the olive oil and mix

2) Add the garlic powder, rosemary, oregano, basil and nutritional yeast. Stir to combine.

3) Pop a 3 oz. package of popcorn

4) Pour warm popcorn into the bowl.

5) Cover with a cover or foil and toss the popcorn around into the foccacia sauce. Flip upside down and shake to coat as much of the popcorn as possible.

6) Pour the coated popcorn into a serving bowl.  Scoop whatever sauce is left in the mixing bowl onto the popcorn.

7)  Serve warm and enjoy!

My Fresh Rosemary Growing in m Herb Garden

My Fresh Rosemary Growing in m Herb Garden



Ingredients Combined Before Adding Popcorn

Ingredients Combined Before Adding Popcorn

Focaccia-Flavored Popcorn

Ellen’s Easy Focaccia-Flavored Popcorn

I know Debby conjured up her own popcorn snack in her post titled, “Coconutty Popcorn,” which you can find by clicking here. Totally different but so delicious!


xox Ellen

VAP Photo of me retouchedDSCF0406-150x150




  1. Popcorn is my favorite snack, and this looks delicious! I agree with you that plain air-popped popcorn doesn’t always satisfy your cravings. This uses only a small amount of Earth Balance and oil too…just enough to give it flavor so I really like that! Your fresh rosemary in your garden looks beautiful too!

  2. Is that 1 “T”bs of dried oregano or 1 teaspoon?

    I made the recipe and i got a paste instead of a sauce like in your photo. Any idea why?

    Thanks for the recipe idea.

    • I used 1 tablespoon of dried oregano. I’m not sure why yours came out pasty. Was your Earth’s Balance fully melted? With the Earth’s Balance plus the olive oil and the balsamic vinegar, there should be enough liquid to keep it more fluid and not dry. Since we don’t want to add too many calories to the mix, which would happen if we added more olive oil or Earth’s balance, perhaps a few drops of balsamic vinegar would help.

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