Homemade Popcorn with Vegan Parmesan Cheese

The whole family will love this homemade popcorn with vegan parmesan made with cashews, nutritional yeast, and a special blend of herbs and spices.

Popcorn is always a hit

When you make popcorn from scratch, you can actually make it into a healthier snack food. Homemade popcorn with vegan parmesan is our family’s favorite, made with cashews, nutritional yeast, and a variety of spices (turmeric, rosemary, and sage).

Although popcorn is often thought of as a movie theater snack, it can also be served as an appetizer or an after school snack, and can even be made over a campfire.

When my daughter was little, I served plain popcorn and butter for dinner once when I was too tired to put a balanced meal on the table. She didn’t complain, and an otherwise stressful evening turned into almost a party! No matter where or when it is served, it’s always a hit!

What about microwave popcorn?

I’d like to dispel the myth that it is more difficult to make popcorn on the stovetop than it is to make it in the microwave. Microwave popcorn has dangerous chemicals in it that have been linked to cancer. Why risk it? You’ll see how easy it is to make homemade popcorn in just a few minutes without using the microwave! And it’s fun and interactive, waiting for the corn to pop and wondering if it’s going to overflow the top of the pot!

Tips for making homemade popcorn

Here are some tips for making popcorn without burning it, or having unpopped kernels left at the bottom of the pot.

  • Use a pot with a heavy bottom (and a lid) to prevent burning. If you only have lightweight pots, use low heat for making the popcorn.
  • My recipe calls for 2/3 cup dry popcorn. This will make enough to fill a 6-8 quart pot. You can reduce the amount if you only have a small or medium saucepan.
  • Heat up the oil with just a few kernels of popcorn over medium heat (not high heat), put lid on, and wait for those to pop. When they pop, turn heat off and add the rest of the popcorn. Replace lid and let the popcorn sit in the hot oil for 1 minute (with heat off). This softens the kernels, helps them cook more evenly, and helps prevent burning.
  • After waiting for 1 minute, turn heat back to medium and shake the pot from side to side until you hear popping. When popping starts to subside, turn heat off and let the remaining kernels pop.
  • Now it is ready to put in a big bowl and mix in your favorite topping!
My daughter and I demonstrate how to make this recipe on our Wednesday live show

Popcorn with Vegan Parmesan

Here’s what I put in my vegan parmesan:

  • Raw cashews (roasted cashews tend to turn into cashew butter much easier than raw cashews when blended)
  • Nutritional yeast (I like NOW brand)
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Turmeric powder
  • Ground rosemary (when it is powdered it sticks better to the popcorn)
  • Dried sage (blends up easily in the food processor)

It’s amazing how much flavor the little bit of rosemary and sage add to the popcorn. It goes from being mostly salty to super flavorful.

Popcorn toppings other than vegan parmesan

Here we make popcorn with vegan parmesan, but you can try making other toppings depending on your mood and what you have available:

  • melted butter or earth balance
  • melted butter + cinnamon + sugar
  • grated parmesan cheese + dried herbs
  • chile powder + sea salt
  • melted butter + almond butter + maple syrup + sea salt (like caramel)
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Homemade Popcorn with Vegan Parmesan • Cook Love Heal by Rachel Zierzow

Homemade Popcorn with Vegan Parmesan Cheese

  • Author: Rachel Zierzow
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 mins
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


Cashew Parmesan

1/3 cup raw cashews

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, NOW brand recommended

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

a few grinds black pepper

1/4 tsp ground rosemary (optional)

1/4 tsp dried sage (optional)


1/4 cup olive oil

2/3 cup organic popping corn


Cashew Parmesan

  • In a food processor, blend cashews, sea salt, garlic powder, turmeric, black pepper, and rosemary and sage (if using). Pulse until cashews are texture of sand. Do not overland as you could make cashew butter! Set aside in a bowl or jar.
  • Heat olive oil and 3 popcorn kernels in large soup pot over medium heat and cover with lid. When you hear the kernels pop, turn heat off, carefully open lid and add remaining popcorn kernels. Replace lid and let sit for 1 minute, then turn heat back to medium and replace lid. Using pot holders, shake pot from side to side periodically to avoid burning. You’ll start to hear popping which will become rapid pretty quickly. When popping slows down, turn off heat (with lid still on) and let the last remaining kernels pop. 
  • Place popcorn in a large bowl (or put half of the popcorn in a slightly smaller bowl) and evenly coat with some of the cashew parmesan. You may end up with some extra 


  • This recipe makes enough for about 8 servings. If you want to make a smaller amount, make the same amount of Cashew Parmesan (and save the extra for another batch of popcorn) and cut the popcorn and olive oil in half. This way you’ll have enough cheese mixture in the food processor to blend evenly and you can save the extra for the next batch of popcorn.

Other snack ideas from Cook Love Heal Recipes


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Now that we are all stuck at home I am creating more ways to help you connect to the community through healthy and delicious food. Every Wednesday at noon I am doing a Facebook Live show featuring cooking demos, tips and guest chefs from around the country. You can find that on my personal facebook page facebook.com/rachel.zierzow   

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