Spicy Stuffed-Pepper Poppers

These peppers are packed with goodness and a little kick. The quinoa, bean and herb filling adds nutrition without compromising flavor.

Total Preparation/Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
Serves: 16 (2 halves per serving)


  • 16 medium-large jalapenos, green and/or red
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice (prepared using low-sodium vegetable broth)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • ¾ cup cooked black beans, thoroughly drained and rinsed
  • ¾ cup salsa, preferably a thick/chunky variety
  • ¼ cup loosely packed chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (may substitute olive-oil cooking spray)
  • 1 large avocado, finely chopped
  • Red or green hot sauce of choice, (optional)
  • Lime wedges and chopped fresh cilantro for serving (optional)


At home

(may be done up to 24 hours in advance; store peppers in an air-tight container in the refrigerator):

  1. Stem the jalapenos and cut in half lengthwise. Pull out the seeds and inner ribs with your fingers or a small paring knife – this will reduce the spiciness of the jalapenos. Be sure to wear gloves if your skin is sensitive to handling hot peppers; also, avoid touching your face/eyes.
  2. In a medium-size bowl, thoroughly mix the grain, seasonings, and lime juice. Next, add the black beans, salsa, and ¼ cup of chopped cilantro. Stir well to combine, slightly mashing some of the black beans to create a cohesive stuffing suitable for packing into the peppers.
  3. With a tablespoon, fill the jalapeno halves with the grain-bean mixture using approximately 1 heaping tablespoon per half. Place the filled pepper-halves, filling-side up, in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Coat peppers with the olive oil (or spray the outsides thoroughly with olive-oil cooking spray) and then drizzle with the hot sauce, if desired, to taste.

At the tail-gate

(or at home, right before the game!):

  1. Heat a grill to medium-high. Alternatively, preheat an oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grill the peppers for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the peppers are soft, the outsides are slightly charred, and the filling is hot. If roasting in the oven, check the peppers after about 10 minutes, and continue cooking until soft and heated-through (an additional 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the oven).
  3. Remove the peppers from the heat source and allow to cool slightly at room temperature.
  4. Sprinkle with chopped avocado, additional lime juice, and chopped cilantro, as desired.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts | Spicy Stuffed-Pepper Poppers | GridIron Chef Contest