This is one of the most fun recipes I’ve made in a long time. And it all happened because of some leftover popcorn.
A few nights ago, the plan was to kick back with a bowl of popcorn and watch Serenity for the umpteenth time. Turns out I made enough popcorn to last through practically all of the episodes of the entire Firefly series. I hate to waste food almost as much as I dislike day-old popcorn, so I wanted to repurpose it in some way. That’s when I remembered one of my brilliant recipe testers, Barbara Bryan, telling me about her popcorn focaccia recipe.
Well, in this heat, I wasn’t about to bake focaccia. But the idea of using popcorn in recipes inspired me to come up with these popcorn patties that turned out even better than I imagined they would, especially because of the luscious pineapple peanut sauce I made to top them with.
I served the patties on a bed of lettuce with some fresh fruit, all topped with the creamy sauce. It was a light, yet satisfying, and totally delicious lunch. Because I didn’t want to turn the oven on, I sautéed them in a skillet, but you could certainly bake them if you prefer. We enjoyed them as you see in the photo, but for a heartier meal, you could scoop everything into a tortilla or other flatbread and enjoy it as a wrap sandwich.
The sauce is so good, you could almost drink it. I only put a small amount of sriracha in it, just to give it a little dimension, rather than letting the hot sauce take over. If you prefer the sauce spicier, just add a bit more sriracha and even a bit more vinegar, if you like. For us, however, the recipe below proved to be perfect as is.
If you try my popcorn patties, be sure to let me know – I’d love to hear what you think of them!
Popcorn Patties with Pineapple Peanut Sauce
4 cups popped popcorn (remove any unpopped kernels)
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup peanuts, almonds, or cashews
1 cup cooked white beans, well drained and blotted dry
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
Salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)
Pineapple Peanut Sauce (recipe follows)
Process the popcorn in a food processor until ground — it doesn’t need to be too finely ground. Remove the ground popcorn from the food processor and set aside. You should have about 2 cups ground popcorn.
In the same food processor, combine the onion, garlic, and peanuts, and process until finely ground. Add the white beans, nutritional yeast, parsley, 1 3/4 cups of the ground popcorn, and salt and pepper to taste, pulsing to combine well, while leaving some texture. The mixture should be firm and stay together when pressed. If it isn’t firm, add the remaining 1/4 cup of ground popcorn and process again. Divide the mixture evenly into 4 balls and shape the balls into 4 patties.
If baking the patties: preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the patties on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes, turning once about halfway through.
If cooking on the stovetop: heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the patties and cook until nicely browned on both sides, turning once, about 10 minutes total.
Serve with the Pineapple Peanut Sauce.
Makes 4 patties
Pineapple Peanut Sauce
1/2 cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks, blotted dry
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon sriracha
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. The sauce is now ready to use.
Makes about 1 cup