Jalapeño Poppers

There are few appetizer recipes that provide as many flavorful ingredients as this Jalapeño Poppers dish. With a fabulous combination of flavors, in addition to the variety of nutritional benefits, these poppers bring a lot to the table. This highly nutritious dish is bursting with carotenoids, omega 3 fatty acids, quercetin and lean protein. If that weren’t enough of a reason to serve these poppers to your dinner guests, it also accommodates dietary restrictions such as vegetarian, gluten-free, and dairy-free guests. Enjoy every bite of this delicious balance between healthy and delicious!

5 oz Sweet potato (peeled, medium dice)
2 oz Carrots (peeled, medium dice)
1/4 cup Unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 oz Extra firm tofu
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 pinch Coarsely ground black pepper
1 pinch Nutmeg
1/2 pinch Cayenne pepper
3 cups Onion (small dice)
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
2 cups Shitake (sliced)
1 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
1/4 cup Pecans (toasted, chopped)
1/4 cup Walnuts (toasted, chopped)
1/4 cup Dried prunes (chopped)
12 Jalapeños

In a saucepan, combine sweet potato and carrots with almond milk and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Simmer uncovered until tender, about 20 minutes. Place cooked sweet potatoes, carrots, almond milk and remaining ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Set sauce base aside.

Wash jalapeños, cut the stem end off and de-core the pepper using a pairing knife or jalapeno corer. Place clean peppers in jalapeño rack. In a sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil.

Add onions and caramelize. Season with half of the salt and pepper, then remove from pan and set aside.

Using the same pan, add remaining oil, heat then add shitake mushrooms and caramelize until golden and crisp season with remaining salt and pepper. Pat dry and chop to a fine dice. In a bowl, add the sauce base, onions, shitake, nuts and prunes – mix well. Fill each pepper being sure to pack in the filling (approximately 1 tablespoon of filling). Place filled pepper in rack. When finished, place rack on an indirect heat area of an outdoor grill. Cook for about 30-35 minutes or until the peppers are tender, rotating the rack to insure even cooking of all the peppers.

Chef’s note: If you do not have a jalapeño rack, then cut the pepper lengthwise, leaving the stem intact to form a boat. Remove seeds, clean inside of pepper and fill. For indoor cooking, place peppers on baking sheet fitted with wire rack and roast in a 325°F preheated oven until peppers are tender, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Nutritional Information per Serving
Calories: 100
Sodium: 310mg
Sugars: 4g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Saturated Fat: .5g
Fiber: 2g
Protein: 2g
Carbohydrate: 10g

Brigid Titgemeier, Nutrition Assistant at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, contributed to this article.