I have a new found appreciation for vegan Jalapeno Poppers...
Jalapeno Poppers, those cheese-oozing, fried/breaded peppers used to be a favorite "junk food" snack of mine in my pre-vegan days. Well this veganized recipe is awesome!
..Cheesy mixture of white and cheddar cheese. Crisp, light breading. Tender medium spiced jalapenos. I'm in jalapeno heaven with this fun party recipe. These are easier than I imagined too...
Amazingly, this recipe turned out perfectly on the first try. I served these during the Super Bowl and my husband loved them. He kept asking me if he could eat just one more. I rarely serve "fried foods" in-house - so these vegan poppers were a nice treat! Because we all crave something "fried" now and then.
Vegan Cheese. A good popper needs good cheese. Well vegan cheese is great! Have you tried it? There are several brands out there on the market. They are perfect for “veganizing” your favorite cheesy recipes like nachos, pizza, Mac and Cheese, Lasagna and more. You can find vegan cheese in all varieties like cheddar, mozzarella, pepper jack and even cream cheese. My Vegan Grilled Cheese 101 is a great read to get you started. Most vegan cheese products are soy based, or tapioca based. Plant-based cheese is usually much lower in saturated fat than traditional dairy-based cheese.
In the past, one drawback to vegan cheese is that “it doesn’t melt”. But the new varieties and brands of vegan cheese are melting better than ever. If you’re lucky, you might even notice vegan cheese as a topping option at your favorite pizza place.
For this recipe, I add a lot of bold flavor in the panko break crumb layer of the poppers. I mix flour with spices and savory nutritional yeast flakes. Nutritional yeast is rich in nutrients including vitamin B12, which many vegetarian/vegan diets can be lacking in.
A note of caution when working with jalapeno peppers: be careful! You’ll want to remove the seeds so that the spiciness level is mild. You can always wear gloves if you are nervous about working with spicy seeds.
Party Jalapeno Poppers
vegan, makes 10 poppers
5 large jalapeno peppers, de-seeded and halved
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
1/4 cup vegan cheddar cheese shreds
2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
dash of chipotle powder
pinch of salt and pepper
Panko Bread Crumbs
small flat bowl of soy milk (about 1/4 cup)
1+ cups grape seed oil (you can also use canola or olive oil)
1. Prep your jalapenos by halving them and carefully removing the seeds. Set aside.
2. Get your "breading" station set up. You will have a bowl for each of these: cheese mixture (fold the shreds into the cream cheese), flour mixture, panko crumbs, soy milk.
3. Start prepping your jalapenos. Here is the method: stuff with cheese, roll in milk, roll in flour, back in milk, roll in panko crumbs, set aside. Pressing the panko crumbs into the wet cheese layer really helps. Continue this process until all the jalapenos are stuffed and breaded.
4. Pour your oil into a large pot over med-high heat. Test the oil for heat-readiness by dropping one panko crumb into the oil - if it sizzles, the oil is hot enough. If you can get by with cooking all your poppers with 1 cup of oil, great. But if you want a more saturated "fry" you may need to add more.
5. Pan-fry eat jalapeno popper for about 90 seconds on each side. Flip with care.
6. Transfer poppers to a paper towels to cool for a few minutes before serving.