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Popcorn Salad

Popcorn Salad

Yes, you heard us correctly. We said popcorn salad. To be completely honest, this recipe was kind of a revelation for us. Not that we’re not in favor of adding popcorn to almost anything but we just hadn’t gotten around to mixing it into salad yet. And if we’d thought about it, we probably would have thought of the popcorn as the crouton crunchy element on top rather than an actual mix-in with dressing. But we were wrong!

We happened upon this idea recently when we were invited to attend a pot luck dinner where someone brought popcorn salad. We wondered what people’s reaction would be but everyone commented on how much they loved it. And so did we. OK, we’re convinced, popcorn salad is a good idea. And yes, we’ve done some research and there’s been a bit of online controversy about whether or not this is a good idea. It is.

The pot luck salad was great but we decided to create our own spin on it with ingredients we love. It’s important to think of this as a macaroni style salad or, even, a slaw, rather than a fresh green salad. We did include some peppery arugula but we can totally see using thinly shredded cabbage in this dish. What else goes into a mayonnaise based salad? Carrots for sure. Whatever else we include, we always include carrots. Lots of online recipes also call for diced celery but we prefer those in our chicken salad. Go ahead and add it, though, if you love it. And then there’s bacon. Most of the versions we found included crumbled bacon and we can’t disagree. We went back and forth on it but finally decided to sprinkle some in there. We’d be equally fine with a veggie only recipe, though.

Although some recipes we found just use mayonnaise as the dressing, we wouldn’t make any other mayo based salad that way so why this. We flavor our mayo with lemon juice, Dijon mustard and a little sugar for balance. If we were making coleslaw we’d toss some celery seeds in there so we did here, too.

The biggest concern, obviously, is the popcorn getting soggy in the dressing. We were actually surprised that it hung in there way longer than we expected. And to be frank, no salad with greens is going to be as good the next day anyway. But we do recommend tossing the popcorn in with the dressing right before serving and it will stay good throughout the meal or event.

One component of this salad that everyone seems to agree on is the cheddar cheese but we went one better. We also sprinkled on some of our cheddar cheese popcorn seasoning. Because everything is better with more cheddar cheese.

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