3 Oct 2013
Fall is here, bringing with it cool foggy nights and football games, crisp sunny days and tailgating, kids in costume and candy and Halloween!
Back in the day, one of my all time favorite snacky foods for all of those fall football games and tailgates was jalapeno poppers. You know them – spicy peppers with a crunchy exterior become a vehicle for melty cheese. I still love the spicy flavors and the crunchy texture, and over time have come up with healthier recipes for grilled peppers with flavorful cheesy middles.
I love Halloween – it is one of my favorite times of year, I seem to get the most creative with decor, food, costumes. Every Halloween I make a new flavor of stuffed bell pepper – I call these my pepper jacks because they double as a jack o lantern!
Edible jack o lanterns.
This year I wanted to fill my pepper jacks with the flavors and textures of jalapeno poppers – the cheese, the spice, the breading. My result is a tasty deconstructed jalapeno popper – it has all the aspects and then some.
Previously, many of my plant-based cheeses have been created with cashews. I will continue to use them, as cashews are one of my favorite foods, but for this recipe, I came up with a new base. Chickpeas are lower in fat while still bringing the protein and fiber.
I combined the chickpea cheese sauce with cooked quinoa and diced jalapeno, which serves as the stuffing for the pepper jacks. They are then topped with a crunch that mimics a jalapeno popper crispy coating, and if you’re feeling cheesy, topped with even more chickpea cheese. You could omit the jalapeno peppers for a kid-friendly cheesy pepper jack if your kiddos are not into the spicy flavors. I have made these enough years to know kids are into pepper jacks.
Cheesy Jalapeno Pepper Jacks
This recipe uses one full can of chickpeas, divided between the filling and the chickpea cheese.
YIELD: two pepper jacks
DIETARY TYPE: dairy, egg, soy, oil and gluten free, vegan
INGREDIENTS FOR PEPPER JACKS:
2 large orange bell peppers*
1/2 cup chickpeas, peeled
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/2 to 3/4 cup chickpea cheese sauce (recipe follows)
1/3 cup Erewhon Quinoa Chia cereal, crushed
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
*if carving pepper jacks, select bell peppers that stand upright
INGREDIENTS FOR CHICKPEA CHEESE SAUCE:
3/4 cup chickpeas, peeled
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 – 2/3 cup vegetable broth*
1 tablespoon tamari
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon onion powder
sea salt and pepper
*adjust amount for thinner/thicker sauce consistency
Make the Pepper Jacks
Cut the top off each bell pepper. Remove seeds and innards. On the best (flattest) side, carefully carve a jack o lantern face in each pepper, then set aside. Combine 1/2 cup chickpeas with cooked quinoa, diced jalapenos and chickpea cheese sauce. Fill each pepper with chickpea quinoa mixture. Combine crushed cereal and nutritional yeast. Top each pepper with this crumble mixture.
Bake at 300 degrees until cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Make the Chickpea Cheese Sauce
Peel chickpeas. In food processor, combine chickpeas, nutritional yeast and vegetable broth – process. Add tamari, garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper – continue to process until completely smooth.
other pepper jack recipes:
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