Every once in a while I get a bad case of what I call “appetizer envy.” It involves being jealous of anyone who either hosts dinner parties on a regular basis, or has a big enough family that an appetizer course is just a matter of fact. The reality is that when you’re cooking for two, there are just so few occasions that call for making multi-course meals—and a life without the occasional appetizer indulgence is just a sad life indeed. When appetizer envy strikes, I either drag my husband to a restaurant and force him to order five apps to split between the two of us for dinner…or, I whip up a batch of these baked black-bean jalapeño poppers. They always get the job done.
Most appetizers are generally so unhealthy that you don’t want to be eating them in dinner-sized quantities. Not true for these jalapeño poppers. Not only are they baked rather than fried, but they’re stuffed with black beans for a healthy dose of protein. Fresh corn adds juicy sweetness to cut the spice; the panko bread crumbs are mixed with smoked paprika and sprinkled over the tops to give a smoky umami crunch. The exact spice level will vary greatly depending on how hot your peppers are, but I noticed that much of the heat was toned down after roasting. If you are very spice-averse, you can make these with mini sweet bell peppers instead of the jalapeños, though you may have to increase the cooking time slightly as they tend to have thicker skins.
This healthier version of everyone's favorite restaurant app is baked, not fried, and filled with black beans and fresh corn.
- 12 jalapeno peppers
- 4 ears corn
- 1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained
- 6 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Heat oven to 350°F. Wearing rubber gloves, cut the jalapenos in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes. Place them, cut side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Cut the corn kernels off the ears of corn and toss kernels in a large bowl with the black beans, Cheddar cheese and sour cream. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Stuff the filling into the empty cavity of each pepper. It's okay if they overflow a little.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the panko, smoked paprika and salt. Sprinkle over the peppers so that they are evenly coated.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and oozing and the poppers are golden. Serve hot.