Have you tried zahtar yet? Get acquainted with this delicious seasoning blend with this easy recipe for zahtar popcorn. This snack idea will encourage kids to try a new flavor while not keeping you in the kitchen all day. And as always, I’m going to give you some tips to lighten up the recipe if you have a weight loss goal.
You didn’t think we’d make it through popcorn week without an actual recipe for popcorn, did you? If you have kids at home full-time right now, you may want easy snack ideas. If so, I would highly encourage you not to overlook popcorn.
A large container of plain popcorn kernels costs a few dollars in the United States. It only takes three tablespoons of unpopped kernels to make around 6 cups of popcorn. In other words, you are getting a large volume of food for your money.
In terms of nutrition, popcorn counts as a whole grain. Six cups of popcorn, from three tablespoons of kernels, is only around 130 calories.
(That’s without any added butter or oil, of course. Most popcorn recipes, including this one, provide more calories from added fats than from the actual popcorn.)
If you have a weight loss goal, you can reduce the calories by air popping the popcorn. However, I prefer pan-popped corn because it is sturdier. It doesn’t “deflate” when the hot butter is added.
The way I popped this corn reminds me of Jiffy Pop. With this product, you get popcorn kernels in a disposable pan with a foil top. After shaking the pan over a heated burner, the foil is pushed into a dome shape by the popped corn.
You don’t get the groovy dome here, but you do get to do a lot of pan shaking!
Zahtar, Zatar, Za’atar… They’re all the same thing, right? (It’s complicated…)
As I talked about in the baked popcorn chicken salad post, I am really trying to use what we have. This keeps me from constantly running to the store. One thing that I have an abundance of is a lot of interesting and unusual seasonings.
I originally purchased Pereg’s zahtar seasoning blend because I needed “zatar” for a recipe and assumed that they were the same thing. I later found out that zahtar, zatar, and za’atar are often used interchangeably, and there is no official standard on these terms.
The word ”zahtar” can refer to a number of different seasoning blends, often containing thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds. Pereg’s zahtar has a first ingredient of hyssop, a shrub from the mint family.
Several spice purveyors claim that real za’atar must contain both hyssop and sumac. They say that regular thyme or oregano are often used in place of rarer hyssop. My zahtar blend has hyssop but no sumac, so it is not an authentic za’atar by this definition.
To confuse matters further, hyssop can go by a lot of names in English including:
- Zaatar herb
- Syrian oregano
- Bible hyssop
- Wild thyme
Also, different regions of the world refer to different herbs as the “zaatar herb.” Some of the most popular zaatar herbs include Origanum syriacum, Origanum vulgare, Thymus capitatus, and Satureja thymbra.
I recommend Pereg’s zahtar seasoning blend for this recipe if you want to try something new. We thought it was delicious. I’m considering getting a blend that includes both hyssop and sumac in the future as well!
After trying this zahtar popcorn, if you need another idea to use your zahtar, try this socca recipe. Aside from the spice, all you need to make this chickpea bread is chickpea flour and olive oil. Easy!
And now for the disclaimer…
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
The calorie information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don’t sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to this post. Let’s get cooking!
Zahtar Popcorn (Easy Recipe!)
- 2 T olive oil
- ¼ c popcorn kernels
- 1 T butter, melted
- 1 T nutritional yeast
- 1 t zahtar seasoning blend (I used Pereg's brand)
- Heat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the popcorn kernels, cover the skillet, and shake the pan until the popping stops, 5-8 minutes. Hold the cover on the skillet with one hand while you shake the skillet with the other hand. It is important to keep the pan moving to prevent the popcorn from burning.
- Put the popped kernels in a food-safe plastic container that has a lid. Drizzle with the butter.
- Add the nutritional yeast and zahtar seasoning. Put the lid on the plastic container.
- Shake the popcorn to distribute the nutritional yeast and zahtar. Split the popcorn between two serving bowls and enjoy!
This is a level 3 recipe (weight maintenance and active lifestyles). The total calories for the recipe were figured using 3T of unpopped popcorn kernels. Typically, about 1T of the kernels don’t pop when ¼ c is cooked. If you can’t get zahtar, you could try substituting with Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning. (The flavor profile will be different, of course.) When you have a teenage son at home all day as I do, it helps to have some high-calorie snacks on hand. Fortunately, it’s easy to turn this into a low-calorie snack if that is what you need. First, air pop the popcorn in the microwave or a popcorn maker. Then mist the popcorn lightly with cooking spray, and sprinkle with the mix of nutritional yeast and zahtar. Skipping the olive oil and butter will cut about 170 calories per serving. It’s a big difference!
Have you ever tried zahtar (or zatar/za’atar)? If so, I’d love to hear about which herbs were used in the blend and how you liked it! Don’t forget to leave a rating if you try this zahtar popcorn recipe; 5-stars means you loved it!