I have made many variations of this recipe, including filling the entire pepper and deep-frying after dipping in aquafaba and rolling in flour and crumbs. That version always ends up messy and way too much work. And of course, the risk of working with hot oil. You’ll be treated like a kitchen rock star if you are asked to bring an appetizer to a cocktail party… Been there… Just saying 😉
These cheese stuffed peppers are easy to prep, fewer calories (baked vs deep-fried) and the full flavour of the pepper and cheese pops in your mouth.
Plant Based Baked Jalapeño Pepper Poppers
The #1 item you need is rubber or latex gloves for handling the peppers.. I kid you not… Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The capsaicin oil found in the white skin (placenta) that the seeds are attached to can burn your skin, eyes, etc for HOURS once contact.
- 15 Jalapeño peppers (sliced in half lengthwise)
- 8 oz cashew cream cheese
- 1 cup plant based Cheese sauce
- 1-1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp of each salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs, gluten-free crumbs, panko or panko/cornmeal blend
- 1/2 tsp of chili powder
- dash of salt and pepper
This recipe with its basic ingredients taste amazing, but don’t be afraid to mix this recipe up, spicy chopped seitan, or crumbled tempeh bacon . Add a variation of your favourite herbs and spices to the mix. Try adding roasted garlic, fennel, and blackened red pepper pieces. They were delicious. Use your imagination and your pantry. I’ve shown that you can use a store bought vegan cheese like Daiya shredded chedder and mix in with the cashew cream base and plant based cheesy sauce
In a medium-sized bowl whip the cashew cream cheese until smooth. Add the chili powder, salt and pepper, and Plant based cheese sauce and gently mix in until incorporated. Wash the peppers and slice in half lengthwiseUse a paring knife or a melon baller (I find it’s easier to use) to aid in removing the seeds and white membrane. Try to keep the stem attached to the pepper, for no reason other than it looks awesome for presentation.Use a paper towel to wipe out moisture and remove any excess seeds that remainUsing a 1 tablespoon ice cream scoop or a spoon add a tablespoon or more of the cheesy mix into the pepper pressing in until slightly rounded. Press the cheesy blend into the pepper with the back of your spoonDon’t worry about being perfect
Add the breadcrumbs to a small bowl and add the chili spice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Keeping the stem attached helps with filling and coating the cheesy blend in the bread crumbsPress the pepper (cheese side down) into the bowl of breadcrumbs until completely coated.
Gently shake off any excess crumbs.
All set to place the peppers cheese side up on a baking sheet and place in preheated 350° oven for 22-25 minutes and bake until golden. Keep an eye on them in the last 5 minutes as you don’t want all the cheese to bubble out of the pepper. If this is happening the peppers are finished.I like to serve baked stuffed peppers with salsa and non dairy yogurt (I prefer silk plain coconut) placed in small ramekins on a platter. When serving on individually, place 1-4 peppers per plate and add a small amount (2-3tsp) of salsa and plain non dairy yogurt neatly to the side or in a small dip/sauce cup.
These peppers are freezable, the peppers will be as tasty and delicious but the pepper won’t be as crisp as if they would have been if baked fresh.
To freeze, place the prepared peppers on a baking sheet. Place in the freezer for one-two hours, remove and place neatly into a ziplock container. Remove excess air, and label the bag. Don’t forget to add the date, the oven temperature and baking time.