For those of you not knowing what a poke is…well, it’s a paper bag. A friend of my husband sent me a bag of jalapenos, banana peppers, and some kind of hot chili peppers. I love my peppers, but that was just too many for me use before they spoiled so I decided to make poppers. I stuffed the banana peppers and jalapenos, and as for as the hot chili peppers, they are still on my counter starting to shrivel.
The idea of making them healthier came when I found out I didn’t have any cream cheese. I’m always on the look out for healthy options, but when it comes to jalapeno poppers, I have my favorite recipe that involves cream cheese and cheddar. But, I had ricotta. I had Greek Yogurt. They have less carbs, less fat, and more protein. I decided to give it a try. And I also remember seeing how Faith from the Ktchn used corn to stuff her peppers. From my experience corn makes everything taste good, especially if it’s straight from the garden. So, it was decided…the three main stuffings would be ricotta, yogurt, and corn. Oh, and I did decide to use a small amount of cheddar blend.
First you need to prepare the peppers, and I highly recommend putting on gloves before you go any further with this or your skin will be burning like fire for the rest of the day. Slice the peppers in half with a very sharp knife. Remove all the seeds and insides of the peppers.
In a medium bowl put in the ricotta. I like the Sorrento brand ricotta because it tastes closer to the type you get in Italy. It’s creamy and smooth. I do not like the grittiness of some ricotta cheeses. Add the Greek yogurt, the cheddar, green onions, smoked paprika, salt, dash of cayenne and the juice of half a lime. I also added a little Italian parsley, but this is optional. Mix all it together to get a creamy delicious mixture such as this:
Now, it’s time to stuff’um…
Fill each pepper with the mixture until it’s even with the top. Then in a bowl, put about a cup of Panko bread crumbs. Sit the pepper in egg white, and then dip into the panko. Oops, I almost forgot…make sure to add salt and more smoked paprika to the bread crumbs. I just roll the pepper over gently in the bottom of the bowl.
Spray a baking sheet with nonstick oil and bake them for 35 minutes on 350 degrees. I like to finish them off with a few more crumbles of parsley and a sprinkle of lime. Serve them hot and eat a few extra because they are healthier than usual.
And the banana peppers were just as good. We named them banana poppers.
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 T Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup cheddar cheese blend
- ⅛ tsp smoked paprika, and ¼ tsp more for the panko
- 2 ears of corn
- ¼ cup green onions
- 1 tsp salt
- dash of cayenne pepper
- 1 T Italian parsley or cilantro, finely diced (optional)
- ½ fresh lime, squeezed
- 18-20 peppers, if using banana peppers you will use less because it takes more to fill them.
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 egg white
- Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds. Use gloves for this or the peppers will burn your hands.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, yogurt, corn, green onions, and parsley/or cilantro. Blend until evenly mixed.
- Stir in ¼ cup of cheddar cheese or cheddar blend.
- Stir in salt, paprika, and lime.
- Add a little cayenne or other pepper to your taste.
- Fill each pepper with the mixture.
- In a small bowl whisk up the egg white.
- Put the Panko in a larger bowl, sprinkle with salt and paprika.
- Dip the bottom of each pepper in the egg white.
- Roll the pepper in the Panko bowl.
- Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray and spread out the peppers.
- Bake for 35 minutes on 350 degrees.
- Serve hot with a sprinkle of lime and parsley or cilantro.