Za'atar (زَعْتَر) Popcorn
I really really really love popcorn! For 3 years I only ate popcorn and fruit for dinner. I'm a creature of habit. I know I know... variety is important, right? I just loved eating this HUGE healthy, crunchy, salty dinner that took EONS to eat! It made me happy! I don't eat it every night for dinner anymore, but I do enjoy it whenever the craving arises. Popcorn is a great healthy snack with 6 grams of fiber and the added benefit of naturally occurring iron and magnesium. The problem with popcorn is when you cook it in a ton of oil or buy it covered in butter. When you air pop the corn it becomes the perfect dinner or snack when you're craving something crunchy and salty. So on to this za'atar business. What is it? It's amazing. According to wikipedia za'atar is the name of a condiment made from several dried Middle Eastern herbs including oregano, thyme, and marjoram mixed with sesame seeds, dried sumac (a NONpoisonous red berry that is dried and ground and gives a tart lemony flavor to foods), and often salt, as well as other spices. The exact recipe really depends on which region of the Middle East you are currently in. Every morning for breakfast when we were traveling in Lebanon last fall we ate za'atar bread (thick fluffy brick oven baked rounds of pita bread drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and seasoned with za'atar) with pickles, tomatoes, and cucumbers. DELICIOUS! My friend Kelsey makes za'atar focaccia bread and so I decided to also try it in some nontraditional recipes! If you don't have any or live near a middle eastern country then try your local mediterranean shop or the international foods section of a large grocery store. Try out this lemony-herby-salty popcorn snack. Give it go. GO!
- For typical air poppers (like this one) Pour 1/3 cup popcorn kernels into the popping chamber. Place the cover on top of the base and make sure the sides are seated in the groove.
- Place a 2 to 4-quart or larger heat-proof bowl under the popping chute to collect popped corn. One batch will yield 5 to 6 cups of popped popcorn.
- Plug in the machine (or switch the bottom to ON depending on what model you have)
- Once the popping starts, it will take about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Unplug the machine when the pop corn is all popped. Be careful as the machine will be HOT.
- Lightly spray the popcorn with cooking spray (I like this one) or drizzle 1 to 2 teaspoons of oil (like extra virgin olive oil) over the top. Now you can add your za’atar, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and salt (if desired). Be careful not to OVER salt as the seasonings will fall to the bottom of the bowl.
- I like to eat with a HUGE bowl so that I can scrape up the extra seasonings with each handful.
- Popcorn GOOD!