Sounds strange to add dressing to popcorn? Yes, it becomes a bit soft after a while, but cereal does too when you add milk to it, and it’s still delicious.
Same concept, different food! And the dressing isn’t liquid, so in every bite of this salad, you get soft and crunchy at the same time. This is a fabulous recipe to make with the kids.
We popped our popcorn on the stovetop, and they enjoyed the whole process. It’s a fun recipe to cook as a family, and even though it sounds kind of strange, it was truly delicious! I would’ve never guessed I’d be making a popcorn salad recipe, but to be honest, I loved it.
As a kid, I liked adding lemon juice and salt to my popcorn, so popcorn salad is not too different, and the addition of bacon, cheddar cheese, chives, and water chestnuts make it all the better.
As a dressing, I mixed mayo with Greek yogurt to make it healthier, and it was great! I served this salad for my kids along with The best homemade chicken nuggets recipe, but I know they would also love it with Oven-baked bbq chicken wings or Delicious chicken parmesan slider bake.
Popcorn Salad Ingredients
- Bacon. I try to look for lean bacon and cook it until it’s just crispy. It crumbles easily when it cools down. You could use turkey bacon if you are looking for a healthier option.
- Mayonnaise of choice for me is low-calorie or olive oil-based, but you can use your favorite brand.
- Greek yogurt is my go-to ingredient when I want a mayo-based dressing but want to cut down on the calories. When you mix the two, you can’t tell there’s yogurt in it.
- Red wine vinegar gives the dressing a tangy and delicious flavor. I love my salads to taste tangy.
- Celery provides a fresh and crunchy texture.
- Carrots look better julienned than shredded, but I know that involves a lot of work, so that you can buy shredded carrots.
- Water chestnuts are also very fresh and crunchy. They make the salad special. They burst with moisture when you bite into them.
- Cheddar cheese is better shredded at home. It tastes a million times better without all the fillers they add to pre-shredded cheese.
- Chives taste like a cross between a green onion and a shallot and are so tiny. You don’t bite into a big chunk of onion. I love this about them.
- Popcorn. You can buy microwave popcorn and even use the one that comes with a Cheddar cheese-flavored powder, but my kids and I love to pop our own. It’s just fun!
How To Make Popcorn Salad?
- My kids and I love to pop our popcorn, so we do this by adding 3 tablespoons of oil and ⅓ cup of popcorn kernels to a big pot. Cook it on medium-low heat and wait for that first pop. Then start moving the pot around until you stop hearing them pop and you’re done. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Cook the bacon until crispy and remove from heat. Set aside to cool on paper towels to drain and crumble.
- Now it’s time to start assembling the salad. In a large bowl, add mayo, yogurt, red wine vinegar, celery, carrots, water chestnuts, bacon (reserve a bit for topping), and ¾ cup cheddar cheese. Mix well until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Only when you are ready to serve, so the popcorn doesn’t get too soggy, mix in the popcorn. Top the salad with reserved Cheddar cheese, bacon, and chives. Serve immediately.
Keeping leftovers of this salad is not highly recommended. The popcorn becomes soft and soggy, and it’s not very palatable after a while, so make sure you make just the amount you plan to eat.
- Do not mix in the popcorn until you are ready to serve the salad. This way, the popcorn doesn’t get too soft.
- If you feel it easier to mix the salad with the dressing already prepared, whisk together mayo, yogurt and vinegar before adding it to the veggies.
- Buy shredded carrots and real bacon bits if you want to make this salad a quicker recipe.
Popcorn Salad Recipe
- 6 slices of bacon
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup Cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 8oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained
- ½ cup julienned carrots (or shredded)
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 4 cups popped popcorn
- In a big pot, add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil and ⅓ cup popcorn corn kernels. Cook on medium-low until you hear the first pop. Move the pot around and continue cooking until you stop hearing kernels pop. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a medium-sized skillet, cook the bacon and drain it on paper towels. Crumble when cool and reserve a little for the topping.
- In a large salad bowl, mix mayo, yogurt, red wine vinegar, celery, carrots, water chestnuts, ¾ cup of shredded Cheddar, and crumbled bacon. Mix until well combined.
- When ready to serve, mix in the popcorn
- Top with reserved bacon, ¼ cup reserved Cheddar cheese, and chives