9 Delicious Popcorn Alternatives

9 Delicious Popcorn Alternatives

Popcorn has been a staple for many moments in our lives, including but not limited to the cinema, baseball games, and the theatre (if they allow). The reason for wanting a healthier alternative to popcorn may vary from person to person. It could be due to gluten-free diets, health reasons, or corn allergies. By the way, if you want to know more about Popcorn: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, here you go! Here are some alternatives that you will be sure to love with every bite. Rice, chickpeas, Water Lilly seeds, amaranth, sorghum, cauliflower, quinoa, and barley.

Healthy snack options are plentiful. Really, any of these alternatives would be better than microwave popcorn, which are known to have harmful ingredients in the bag. However, that isn't completely fair to that it isn't healthy at all. There are different types of popcorn, and the plain, air - popped popcorn you make at home, can be quite healthy. Unsalted popcorn would be the best option, but adding a little salt will not make it as bad as prepackaged or from the concessions stand at the movie theater. But, the air-popped popcorn you make from your stove top is probably the only exception. The one you might get at the movie theater, the buttered popcorn can also be as bad as the one you'll microwave.

1. Rice

A traditional Korean snack called 뻥튀기 (Bongtigi) roughly translated to puffed grain. It's quite easy to make, and you'll most likely get it fresh off the popper. They are FRESH! Without any preservatives and artificial ingredients, if you want something all natural, this is for you. The sweet, crispy, and tasty treat can be eaten by itself, but you can also use it as a charcuterie of spreads, fruits, and more. If you can think of it, you can probably eat it with Bongtigi. Jennifer Bain "...call[s] [it] a popper, but sometimes goes by the names rice pop, rice cake, Korean-style wheat cake or even “popsta” rice crackers." It uses heat and pressure to pop the rice.

2. Chickpeas

If you love hummus, you'll enjoy chickpeas. They are one and the same. While dried chickpeas are as delicious as their puffed counterparts, they are a great way to get some protein into your body. If you ever want to try something like this, Hippeas leads the pack. Of course, you can't go wrong with roasted chickpeas.

3. Water Lilly Seeds

A traditional crunchy Indian treat, will satisfy your protein cravings. But, that's not all, it's low calorie and gluten-free health benefits are only icing on the cake. Its variety of flavorful seasonings can't be beat. From the familiar flavors of cheese, salt and dark chocolate to more spices such as, turmeric, garlic, and chili. Ashapops, and Bohana seem to know what is what in popped water lily seeds. Both chickpeas and water lily seeds are a fantastic source of fiber, and the grams of protein makes it even more crazy that we haven't heard of it sooner.

4. Amaranth

Similar to the one above, amaranth is a seed, not a grain. But, it has many comparable nutrients. It is high in fiber, protein, like the ones above, and gluten-free. But that's not all. It has antioxidants, may reduce inflammation. and lower cholesterol.

5. Sorghum

Is an ancient grain, which is similar to popcorn kernels when popped. Plus, it's gluten-free. Granted in recent years it has been used as live stock feel and ethanol production. However, it has been trending due to its nutritious properties. You can buy sorghum from large retailers such as, Walmart, Target, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.

6. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a versatile vegetable. It can replace many grains such as rice, quinoa, bulgur and, you guessed it, corn. Specifically, the corn kernels that make popcorn. Making popcorn out of cauliflower is really simple, and is mouth watering as well. Not to mention the texture. But, one requirement is having a dehydrator on hand. Of course, you could use your oven, but it might not be as crunchy as using a dehydrator. Moisture levels and all. For the flavoring, your creativity is the limit. Olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, spices, you name it, you can probably put it in the mix. By the way, if you are looking for a flavorful dish with a dash of color, check out Holiday Cauliflower Tabbouleh Recipe. It'll be a delight for the whole family.

7. Quinoa

This ancient grain, which simply means that it hasn't changed much throughout time. Quinoa is an excellent source of nutrients, such as, protein and amino acids. It usually doesn't quite taste like much, but, there are many cereal brands that include quinoa. Another option for people who don't care for the flavor or might want to make it at home, you might want to add simple ingredients to give it a little kick. One example would be adding cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or vanilla extract.

8. Barley

Barley is another great option. With a plethora of benefits such as fiber, and prevention of certain diseases such as heart disease, barley is not only a one - trick pony. While, in my experience, it is very filling compared to the other options on this list.

9. Cassava

It's sweet, crispy, and has many characteristics of rice crisps in regard to taste and texture. But, in its raw state, it has further similarities to potatoes in the sense that they are both root vegetables, and have similar nutrition. However, it may be a healthier alternative to potatoes. Personally, I prefer Novacrisps to other alternatives. But, I may be biased. Try these out for yourself, and experience it first hand.


There are a ton of options out there. Healthy, and tasty to boot. Now that you know some amazing options out there, you might. thing of popcorn time as something different. The buttery goodness had its time, but now, there are better butter alternatives, which don't have to replicate the taste, but improve it in so many other ways.

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