Spicy. Cheesy. Crispy.
These vegan, gluten-free jalapeno poppers are dad-approved and so addictive it’ll be hard to not over-eat when they’re all fresh and hot – we made a batch of 19 of these suckers the second time I tested the recipe, and we ate the whole batch. That night. We being just me and my fiance. He had 10, I had 9. Too much goodness. I couldn’t help myself!
We love making a batch of jalapeno poppers served with potato salad and quick-pickle cucumbers.
You can play around with the heat in these by adjusting how much of the seed and pith you remove when cleaning the jalapenos – warning: leaving too much pith and seed may be too hot for some mouths!
This recipe is DELICIOUS reheated the next day.
Makes 30 poppers
- 30 jalapenos
- 1½ cups raw cashews, quick boiled (see step 1 below) + ½ cup water + pinch salt
- 1 cup shredded vegan cheddar
- 1 cup shredded vegan Parmesan
- 1 tsp mellow white miso
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 2 tbsp arrowroot flour
- 2 tbsp tapioca flour
- pinch salt
- 1 cup plant milk
- 2 cups gluten-free bread crumbs
- avocado oil, for frying
1. Boil enough water to thoroughly soak the cashews. Place the cashews in a bowl, pour over boiling water, and let sit for 15-20 mins. Drain cashews, place in food processor, and combine with the water and salt until a smooth cheese forms. Transfer the cheese into a clean, large bowl and set aside.
2. Start to clean the jalapenos by slicing in half length-wise and scooping out the seeds and pith from the inside. Set aside the clean jalapeno halves on a baking tray, being sure to match the halves together.
3. Grab your bowl with the cashew cheese and add the cheddar, Parmesan, miso, onion powder, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, both paprikas, and salt and pepper. Use a silicon spatula to fold the mixture together until evenly mixed.
4. Use the silicon spatula to fill each jalapeno half with filling and press the halves together to create a solid seal. Use the spatula or your finger to clean off any excess filling pouring from the sides or top. Set the filled jalapeno aside on a baking tray and repeat with the remaining jalapenos.
Pro tip: Have leftover filling? Try it as a spread on crackers or melt it down in a ramekin and enjoy it as a tortilla chip dip!
5. Make the breading batter by whisking together the brown rice flour, arrowroot, tapioca, and salt. Whisk in the milk – you will have a thick, smooth batter. I like to use a 2 cup measuring cup for this – it’s the perfect dish to dip the jalapenos into!
6. Place your breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl and set it by the batter.
Pro tip: Using one hand to batter each jalapeno and the other hand to roll it in breadcrumbs keeps things a lot cleaner and requires less hand washing for a clean final product. I typically batter with my right hand and roll in breadcrumbs with my left.
7. Dip a stuffed jalapeno into the batter, being sure to coat the entire jalapeno. Let some of the excess drip off before transferring to the breadcrumbs.
8. Place the battered jalapeno in the breadcrumbs and toss to coat, gently pressing the wet jalapeno into the crumbs for a really solid crust. Be sure to thoroughly coat all sides and edges with breadcrumbs. Place the breaded jalapeno back on the baking sheet to set.
9. Repeat steps 7 & 8 with the remaining jalapenos.
Pro tip: You can store the breaded jalapenos in the fridge for up to 24 hours and cook them fresh – making this prep work easy to do ahead of time! OR you can freeze the breaded jalapenos at this step for up to 3 months. If freezing them, choose the baking method to cook and add an additional 10 minutes onto the overall cooking time.
10. Cook your poppers:
If frying… get a large pan heating over medium-high heat with 2 tbsp avocado oil. Once the pan is hot, place each jalapeno popper in the pan without over-crowding, reduce the heat to medium, and let them fry for about 3-4 minutes, until beautifully crispy and brown. Use silicon-tipped tongs to gently roll each jalapeno about 90 degrees and fry on a second side for about 3-4 minutes, until beautifully crispy and brown. Repeat two more times until poppers are crispy and golden on all sides, and the cheesy filling is starting to spill out. Transfer to a cooling rack. Eat immediately or keep warm in a 225F oven for up to 6 hrs.
If baking… preheat oven to 450F. Line a baking tray with lips with parchment paper, and place a cooling rack in the tray – the lips will prevent the tray from sliding around. Place your poppers on the rack evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until crispy, beginning to brown, with some cheesy filling melting out.
If reheating leftover poppers… preheat oven to 375F and bake for 10-15 minutes, until crispy and thoroughly heated through.
11. Enjoy hot or at room temperature.