Fat-Free Popcorn with Nooch & Benson’s

Like most Americans, I really enjoyed buttery, salty popcorns with my movie nights. However, I quickly let popcorn be a food of my past when I moved to a whole food, plant-based diet. In addition to no dairy, I didn’t want any extracted oils and salt added to my food. Thus, popcorn became way less desirable when it was just corn kernels popped.

I tried topping it with nutritional yeast. Occasionally, I even mixed in ground cashews. The problem was I couldn’t get the toppings to stick, so I just decided to pass on the popcorn.

A few years in, I thought “what if we could spritz moisture onto the popcorn to help the seasoning stick?” I started with water and then vegetable broth. Both helped the seasoning stick which was an improvement. So I used this technique and snacked on popcorn here and there. Then last year, I got a little insight from Dr. Micheal Greger. Instead of water, use balsamic vinegar! Tried it out and it worked like a charm. Now, I can fully enjoy popcorn again!

This makes a wonderful low-calorie after dinner treat, of lunchtime snack for kids. I also make this sugar, oil and salt-free popcorn for road trips and long flights.
Recipe by Katie Mae, inspired by Dr. Michael Greger
Makes about 5 cups | Ready in 10 minutes | Stores 2 days at room temp.


    ¼ cup unpopped popcorn kernels
    2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
    1 teaspoon salt-free seasoning (i.e. Benson’s Table Tasty)
    ½ teaspoon curry powder (optional)
    1–2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar in a mister/sprayer



  1. Before making the popcorn, mix the nooch (aka nutritional yeast), salt-free seasoning, and curry powder in a small bowl.
  2. Fill a mister (usually used for oil) with balsamic vinegar, and pump it so that it is pressurized.
  3. Pop the popcorn kernels on the stovetop or using an air-popper.
  4. Let the popped popcorn cool for a minute before seasoning.
  5. Spray the popcorn with the balsamic very lightly. Then sprinkle some of the seasoning over top and gently toss the popcorn with your hands. Repeat this process until all of the seasoning is used. It’s best to do this in rounds so the popcorn doesn’t get soggy in certain spots and more of the popcorn will be coated with the yummy flavors.
  6. Sit down and enjoy!



First, note that to prepare this recipe as written you’ll need a mister. Here’s the one I use. It’s just $10. Nothing fancy, but it works great. I don’t ever put oil in it, just vinegar.

To make popcorn on the stove without oil, heat a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, once hot add the kernels and cover. When they start popping, lower the heat to medium and shake the pan occasionally to prevent burning.

Feel free to leave out the nutritional yeast or curry powder, if you like. My preference is the combination.

You can also play with your popcorn flavor by switching up the seasoning combination. A few spices I’ve used and liked are garlic granules, cumin, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon.

If you like this recipe I also recommend trying out Dr. Greger’s Zombie Corn!
Print Recipe


One Comment

  1. theculinarygym

    It IS quite good! Plus, sticking the powder to the popcorn with vinegar instead of liquid aminos also makes for happier blood vessels. Let me know if you try it, Muriel!

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