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Extreme Vegan Makeover: Jalapeno Poppers Edition

Lately, I’ve been making a lot of comfort foods. Comfort foods for me do not involve sweets or chocolate or bread or pasta. No, for me, comfort food means fried and crunchy.

The timing couldn’t be worse for my sudden need for comfort foods. Spring is here. The weather is s-l-o-w-l-y getting warmer and soon it will be time to put away the coats and sweaters. There will be no place to hide.

Why the need for comfort now? I think it’s because I’m going through a stressful time and the season change is actually making it worse. There are a lot of events and activities going on, things I used to do, that I can’t do right now. I’m missing out on a lot of fun stuff and experiences that I keep reading about everyday from the people enjoying them. It makes me feel really isolated, lonely and left out.

It doesn’t help that I did a combination of the Crazy Sexy Diet and Dr. Fuhrman’s cleanse for 3 months – no processed food, no gluten, no sugar, no caffeine – and I didn’t feel one ounce better.

I’ve always been an emotional eater but now I guess I’m also an emotional cooker. It’s a good thing I have some willpower so that even though I may cook something that’s not the healthiest choice (although still way healthier than how I could make it), I try hard not to eat much of it. That’s Tom’s job 🙂

And if I make something that’s fried, then I balance it out by having something like just a raw kale salad for dinner.

That was really vital when it came to this recipe because it was soooo good, it was really hard to stop at just one or two. My favorite foods have always been appetizers. In fact, if it were up to me, at the end of dinner, instead of a dessert menu, I would be handed back the appetizer menu. Who wants ice cream or cake if I can have wings or jalapeno poppers?

Hopefully, this feeling will pass soon or I’ll be having my own personal global oil crisis. Only instead of it being in the Middle East, it will be in my Middle Waist (ha ha ha ha ha….so NOT funny)!

Note: This recipe is written to be gluten-free because I’ve been continuing to limit the amount of gluten in my diet but feel free to use regular breadcrumbs or Panko crumbs when you make it.

Jalapeno Poppers


12 jalapeno peppers

1 tub Vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti brand. Make sure you get the yellow tub which is non-hydrogenated. The one in the white tub has trans fats!!!!)

½ – 1 cup Vegan cheddar shreds (I used Daiya)
1 cup soy milk
½ – ¾ cup chickpea flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 ½ cups tortilla crumbs (I use the ones made by I.M. Healthy: the SoyNut Butter Company. They are dedicated to making products for people with allergies to peanuts, nuts, dairy and gluten.)

Safflower oil for frying
Kosher salt


Heat about 1-inch of oil in a saucepan or skillet.

Cut the tops off the jalapenos and slice them in half. Take out the ribs and the seeds.

In a bowl, mix the Vegan cream cheese and the Vegan cheddar cheese. Spoon about 1 Tbs. of the cheese mix into the jalapeno halves.

In separate bowls, put the milk and the flour. Add salt and pepper to the flour. Put the tortilla crumbs on a plate. Dip the stuffed jalapenos into the milk, then into the flour. Shake off the excess flour. Do this to all of the peppers.

Dip the jalapenos back into the milk, then into the crumbs. Dip the peppers back into the milk and then back into the crumbs. Make sure they are fully coated.

Make sure the oil is hot by sprinkling some flour into the pot. It should sizzle. Also be careful not to let the oil get too hot (if you have a thermometer, about 360 degrees is good).

Carefully place the coated jalapeno peppers into the oil. Fry them for just 2 or 3 minutes, turning them over half-way through. They should be golden brown. Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon. Place on a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Sprinkle some salt on them while they are still hot.

Serve with a nice big raw kale salad 🙂


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17 Responses to Extreme Vegan Makeover: Jalapeno Poppers Edition

  1. Robin February 7, 2012 at 5:39 am #

    I made these for my Superbowl Party and they were a HUGE hit!!! I was a bit intimidated at first because I was worried about the filling coming out like other homemade versions I have seen but these stood up well to the fryer and looked VERY professional! I truly feel lucky to have come across Rhea’s amazing blog 🙂

  2. Rhea Parsons January 28, 2012 at 5:36 am #

    Ellie, definitely. I made a healthier version called “Jalapeno Poppers Revisited” here:

  3. Ellie January 28, 2012 at 5:28 am #

    Do you think these could be sprayed lightly with a little oil and then baked in a really warm oven?

  4. Rhea Parsons January 1, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    Dear Karmah,

    Thank you so much for your kind words. I hope you enjoy the poppers. I’ll be making the baked ones tomorrow. Happy New Year!

  5. Karmah January 1, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    Thank you for (always) sharing your compassionate heart and culinary genius with the rest of us. You are a bright light, within and beyond our community. Can’t wait to try out these poppers!

    Happy New Year!

  6. Rhea Parsons August 17, 2011 at 1:32 am #

    Thank you Catherine. So glad you liked them. 🙂

  7. Catherine August 16, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    These were delicious!! I used Follow Your Heart Nacho Cheese instead of the cheddar. They were perfect!

    I am sitting here stuffed and happy. 🙂

    Your recipes are the best, Rhea!

    – Catherine DeSimone

  8. Trista June 17, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    I made these and they were soooooo good! 🙂

  9. Jena May 9, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    Ohhhhhh man! These look SO good! I’ll definitely be trying these out soon!

  10. Rhea Parsons May 6, 2011 at 2:01 am #

    Hey Isaak, I was just reading an article about chile peppers and it said that jalapenos can range in heat from 2500 units on the Scoville scale all the way to a whopping 10,000 units depending on where they are grown so it could mean, maybe, that the peppers you got were really hot ones. ?

  11. Rhea Parsons May 5, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    Hi Isaak, I’m so sorry you and your friends found the poppers too hot. The pepper is the only ingredient that has any spice so what to do?

    Since the heat of a pepper lies in the ribs and seeds (where the capsacin is), that can get removed but you said you did that. Make sure ALL the white stuff is gone.

    Some say the larger peppers are less spicy than the smaller ones. Some say you could soak them first – this will also make them softer and you might lose the crunch.

    Short of trying another type of pepper that is less spicy, I would say make sure you are very generous with the cream cheese/daiya mix per pepper. I loaded each pepper half up (I thought maybe too much) so that my creamy, smooth cheese part overshadowed the thin pepper. You can see in the pictures that mine look like fried cheeze with that thin slice of green inside.

    I hope it works out better if you try it again and if you learn any tips on how to make it less spicy, please let me know 🙂

  12. Isaak May 4, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Hi Rhea,
    I was really excited to try this recipe, and got four vegans together for a jalepeno popper party! We followed the recipe exactly, but found that they were literally too spicy to eat. We’d scraped the seeds and ribs , so I’m not even sure what happened. Was there something we missed? Is there a way to make these so that they aren’t too spicy? None of us are afraid of a little kick in our food, but these were definitely overboard for casual eating.

  13. Jared April 5, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    those look gorgeous, and what an easy recipe! I’ll be making them soon.

  14. Rhea Parsons April 2, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Thanks Christina. Hope you enjoy them!!

  15. Christina April 2, 2011 at 5:57 am #

    “Every one should be vegan” – amen, sisters! Those jalapeno poppers look freaking fantastic! I haven’t had one since I went veg – and that will change very soon. Thanks for the recipe!

  16. Rhea Parsons April 2, 2011 at 4:26 am #

    Hi Barbie,
    I am so glad to hear that the “Eat to Live” diet helped you so much! I’m thinking I’m the only person on earth to not get any benefits from that or the Crazy, Sexy Diet.
    But then I try to be optimistic and think maybe I’d feel worse if I wasn’t doing them. Maybe the effects would be greater if I already hadn’t been eating a whole-food vegan diet to begin with. I didn’t really have to make huge changes.

    But I’m not giving up on them either. Even though I’m not gluten-intolerant, if there’s a gf version of somethng, that’s what I buy and it’s only a once-in-a-blue-moon treat to have a Gardein product or a slice of rye bread. I know that wheat can worses inflammation & autoimmune disorders. Maybe I’ll feel something in more time. I certainly don’t want to go backwards.

    And I agree. Everyone should be a Vegan:)

  17. Barbie April 2, 2011 at 2:53 am #

    I’m sorry to hear the “eat to live” diet didn’t do anything for you! For me, it was a life changer. I guess that just goes to show that there’s no “one size fits all” diet solution- well, except for Veganism. Everyone should be a vegan 🙂

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