Make it Naked

Grilled Jalapeno Poppers

I have an incomprehensible love for hot peppers. It really doesn’t make any sense at all.

Hot peppers and I have a past that most would wish to forget. But I keep going back for more.

When I was little my sister dared me to eat an entire container of pickled jalapenos…and drink the juice. I did it. I wish I didn’t. Oh, how I wish I didn’t.

And then, there was the time I came home from school and had some left over Chinese, including the dried red peppers that you are really NOT supposed to eat.. I’m pretty sure I almost died. I remember choking and tearing up as if someone had attacked me with pepper spray. No… actually it wasn’t that bad. Unfortunately, I know.

I have actually sprayed myself with pepper spray. This wasn’t a dare, it was a horrible accident. I was trying to make sure I knew how it worked in case I had to use it. It’s ok, I’m laughing with you. I wish it were on film somewhere. I immediately lost my vision and fell to the ground. Pepper juice in my eyes! Crippling. Nauseating. There I was, on the front lawn of the apartment complex, on all fours trying to find my way back to the front door. My sister came to my rescue. She stuck my entire head in the kitchen sink and let the water run over my eyes. They were swollen shut. I laid on the couch with ice packs on my eyes for hours.

Love hurts. Love is blind. And to this day I’m still a sucker for anything spicy. I love all peppers. And I love these poppers. The filling is where it’s at. Three different cheeses are combined with roasted garlic and bacon for a mixture that would make an amazing dip. I won’t be mad if you get a spoon and call it a day. Or if spicy isn’t your thing, you could stuff red bell pepper slices or even new potatoes.

There’s no breading. There’s no frying. But trust me, you won’t miss it. In fact, you probably won’t want fried jalapeno poppers again. I’m talking cheddar, bacon, goat cheese, and roasted garlic here.  All stuffed into a spicy jalapeno boat and grilled until you have charred, melty, cheesy goodness. Top them off with some fresh tomatoes and cilantro. Love. Painless, delicious love.

Grilled Jalapeno Poppers (recipe adapted from Cooking Light Magazine)


2-3 slices center-cut bacon
1/4 cup chopped white onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
4 oz cream cheese, softened (I used Trader Joe’s organic light whipped)
4 oz soft goat cheese (not crumbles)
1/4 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
Juice of 1/2 a lime
14-16 jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped tomato


1. Preheat oven to 400°. Arrange bacon slices on a broiler pan.

  1. In the center of a sheet of aluminum foil, add the chopped garlic, onion, cumin and olive oil. Gather up the sides of the foil making a little pouch. Like this. Place the pouch in an oven safe dish and place in the oven with the bacon.
  2. Bake for about 20 minutes. The bacon should be brown and crispy. The onions and garlic should be soft and fragrant. Remove. Be sure to move the bacon to paper towels to let cool. Open the pouch and let cool. Be careful of steam.
  3. Once cool, chop the bacon and combine with the cheeses, onions, garlic and lime juice in a medium bowl. Stir until mixed.
  4. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
  5. Using a small spoon fill the (seeded) peppers and place cheese side up on a grill pan (I sprayed the pan with cooking spray).
  6. Grill with the top closed for about 8 minutes until the bottoms are charred and the cheese is browned. Sprinkle with cilantro and tomato. Serve warm.


  1. You can prepare the bacon however you like to prepare bacon. Above is just my suggested method to get crispy bacon and to let some of the fat drain off while cooking.
  2. I made quite a few changes to the original recipe. I replaced the fat free cream cheese with goat cheese. I really dislike fat free cheese. The texture and taste is way off for me, but feel free to get creative with your cheese mixture. I also omitted the salt. With all the cheese and the bacon, I didn’t think it was necessary. Lastly, the original recipe called for green onions which would probably be great, but mine were rotten so I decided to roast white onion with garlic because that’s what we had and it worked out really well.
  3. Our CSA delivered an abundance of peppers this week. All different kinds of peppers. I think I accidentally stuffed some serranos. Whoa. They were HOT. I’d stick to jalapenos. I also stuffed some pepperoncinis (I think). They were good and not as hot so that could be a milder option, but I’ve learned that you never really know with peppers. Sometimes there’s no heat, and sometimes they’re not edible. It’s a gamble, and I love it.
  4. I used a 1/4 teaspoon to scoop out the seeds of the peppers. It worked really well. Also, when seeding the peppers you should wear gloves. I didn’t and my hands still burn after washing them 1,000 times. If you haven’t noticed, I don’t make good decisions when it comes to peppers. I’m just waiting to touch my eyes.



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Posted on August 14, 2011

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