Snack, Appetizer, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Garlic Balsamic Popcorn

I never walk into the movie theatre without a backpack full of snacks. Grapes, chocolate, maybe gummy bears, some cookies. And always popcorn. Two 1-gallon plastic bags of popcorn. I don’t f%$& around, I know I’ll likely eat an entire bag on my own, and if I’m there with a friend I don’t want to be rude and hoard the loot to myself. So, two bags accompany me to every movie, full when I arrive and empty (but for a few straggling kernels) when I leave.

It’s always a mystery how I am able to devour such grand portions of popcorn; aided by darkness, abetted by a flickering screen. My friends are equally confused. We’d scoff at anyone buying a bucket of popcorn at the theatre, we’d drown them in shame for ingesting so much in one sitting. But then we leave guilty with slick fingers and salty laps, evidence of our starchy massacre.

My only defense is that I make the snack at home. I still scoff at the buckets bought in-theatre, but only because popcorn is so easy to make at home it baffles me why anyone would purchase it. Ever. Anywhere.

Pop the corn with chopped garlic, it will crisp up in the oil. Once popped, toss the kernels with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a snack that feels suddenly grown up, like a high school senior at prom, young at heart, draped in the fabric of age. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

And yes, as the school year starts, let your daughters and sons wear those wicked heels and tight tight pants. They only get to pretend to the throne once. Soon enough they’ll be saddled with the responsibility of wearing an actual crown, we only get to play at being queens and kings so long before the fantasy catches up with us and we’re making a million little rulings over our own interpersonal kingdoms.

But for now, popcorn.


  • 1 cup Corn Kernels

  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced (~1 tablespoon)

  • 3 tablespoons Safflower Oil

  • ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar

  • ¼ cup Olive Oil

  • 1 ½ -2 teaspoons Sea Salt

  • Black Pepper to taste



1. Pour the corn kernels, minced garlic, and oil in the bottom of a large stockpot.

2. Cover the pot with a lid, and put it over high heat.

3. When you hear the first few kernels popping, grab the pot and gently shake it back and forth over the heat (about 3-4 inches above the burner). This keeps the corn from burning.

4. When there is about 2 seconds of space in between popping sounds, you know you’ve popped nearly every kernel in the pot. Turn off the heat and remove the lid carefully, there will be a cloud of steam.

5. While the corn is cooling add the balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the vinegar to a low boil and cook for 6-8 minutes, until it’s thickened but not sticky.

6. Drizzle the balsamic syrup and olive oil over the popcorn, sprinkle salt and pepper, and toss with your hands.


Yield: ~5 Servings

Pop/Prep. Time: ~15 minutes