Updated Nov 10, 2015 @ 3:30 pm
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While we love the salty goodness of a pre-packaged microwavable popcorn bag, we admittedly could do without the unhealthy oil and additives. Sure, we could pop our own fiber- and antioxidant-rich kernels, but that comes with the sacrifice of delicious fake butter flavor. Fortunately, Italian chef, author, and TV personality Giada De Laurentiis’s newest cookbook, Happy Cooking ($20;, provides us with a nutritious and tasty take on the movie theater snack. This recipe, like the others in Happy Cooking, are extremely straightforward.

In general, De Laurentiis tends to focus on dishes that are easy and healthy—perfect for the busy woman. “Be good to yourself,” she says. “Sounds simple, but sometimes that can seem like the hardest thing to do,” says the chef, whose life has taken a “big turn” having recently gone through a divorce. She has found comfort by eating and cooking healthily for herself and daughter Jade, saying “For me, being good to myself means eating clean and healthy as often as I can, but making sure that I enjoy every bite.” Read on for De Laurentiis’s spicy, tangy, salty popcorn recipe.

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Lemon Popcorn with a Kick

Serves: 4


2 tbsp (¼ stick) unsalted butter
Grated zest of 1 lemon
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
7 cups popped popcorn (from ½ cup of kernels)
½ tsp kosher salt


1. In a small sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
2. Add the lemon zest and cayenne pepper and swirl to let the flavors mingle.
3. Pour the butter over the popcorn in a large bowl and toss gently to coat.
4. Season with salt and serve.