Turkey and quinoa stuffed jalapeño poppers are perfect for a healthy and filling side dish or a crowd pleasing appetizer.
Jalapeno poppers don’t need to wait for a party to be served. Serve them as fun side dish or pack them for a creative and healthy work-lunch! Each popper is loaded with lean turkey and red quinoa making these little jalapeños not only healthier (leave off the cheddar cheese which was just added for photographing purposes…) than traditional versions but more filling too!
Each popper, that’s 2 halves, (without the addition of sharp cheddar cheese or dipping sauce), has only 80 calories, 3.6 grams of fat, 5.6 grams carbs, and a whopping 7.4 grams of protein!!
Inspiration for recipes often happens at the most random and unexpected times. Working my way through Costco grabbing my usual staples (ya know toilet paper, rotisserie chicken, frozen cod, egg whites, blueberries, lemons, lunchmeat…) my eyes caught a package of chicken and mango meatballs but I wasn’t crazy about the nutrition facts. My brain started spinning as I thought of creating something healthier with a touch of spiciness. The combination of spicy and sweet is amazing… so why not stuff a jalapeño with some lean meat and make a sweet dipping sauce (literally)?!
So I did and it’s delicious. duh. Double dippers grab a plate because you’ll want to dip these bad boys more than once! The sauce is made with apricot preserves, dijon mustard and non-fat plain greek yogurt. It’s a slight spin on the sauce I use for my Baked Coconut Chicken.
If you’ve never worked with fresh jalapeños before there’s a few things to cover:
- wear kitchen gloves or use plastic baggies in a pinch. You don’t want jalapeño juice any where near your eyeballs, mkay?
- after slicing in half lengthwise, as shown, keeping the stem intact if possible, gently scrape out the seeds with a spoon and the long membrane that runs the length of the pepper. Watch your eyes, they can squirt a little too.
Removing the seeds and membrane will reduce the spiciness of the jalapeños. I prefer to keep a little bit of the membrane to ensure a bit of that jalapeño heat…ya baby. And I’ll just add, without the seeds and membrane my daughter loves these and doesn’t find them spicy. Although she can handle buffalo wings, so you be the judge…
This and future recipes will have meal suggestions at the end of every post if applicable! Seems it will be helpful to many so here ya go:
Lunch: Pair 4 jalapeño popper halves drizzled with 1 TB dipping sauce with some roasted sweet potato cubes (a staple in my fridge for breakfast or lunch) and a small side salad with light dressing (my favorite is Bolthouse Farms Ranch). Healthy and filling lunch under 400 calories.
Dinner: Serve just 2 halves as a side dish to grilled chicken or baked cod with either a salad or some roasted spaghetti squash with a bit of salt, pepper and fresh parmesan cheese. Leave out the dipping sauce to avoid the sugar and carbs late evening. Season the cod with my Fish Taco seasoning (minus the panko) which would pair nicely with the peppers.
My suggestions follow Erin Oprea’s 4×4 diet guidelines- low starch and low carb in the evenings. More on this in a future Fitness Friday post.
Subscribe to future posts by entering your email in the subscription box located in the sidebar.
Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers
- 8 Jalapeños, sliced in half lengthwise with seeds and membrane removed
- 1/2 lb. 93% Lean ground turkey
- 1/4 cup cooked red quinoa
- 3 TB. 1/3 less fat philadelphia cream cheese
- 2 green onions, diced (green parts only)
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- dash of coriander (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- sharp cheddar cheese (optional for melting on top, recommended for entertaining)
Sweet Dipping Sauce
- 1/3-1/2 cup Apricot Preserves (I used Bonne Maman brand)
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 TB non fat plain greek yogurt (Oikos Brand is my go-to)
- Prepare jalapeños and set aside on baking sheet.
- Cook quinoa according to package, rinsing first before adding to stove.
- While quinoa is cooking add turkey, red onion, and garlic to large skillet and cook until turkey is no longer pink. Drain any excess liquid from skillet and return to stove.
- Add cooked quinoa, green onions, cumin, smoked paprika, coriander (optional), salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Remove from stove and add cream cheese stirring to incorporate everything. Mixture should be evenly coated and everything sticking together from the cream cheese addition.
- Begin stuffing each jalapeño pressing a nice mound of mixture in each. Top with cheddar cheese if desired.
- Bake in preheated 350 oven for 20-25 minutes or until peppers have wrinkled a bit and lightly browned. Remove from oven to cool while making the dipping sauce.
- In a small bowl stir together apricot marmalade, dijon mustard and greek yogurt. Serve drizzled over top, in separate little ramekin bowls, or double dip amongst yourselves...enjoy!
copyright One Strange Herd