Who is with me and loves spice? If I think back, I actually can remember the time in my life that I started to enjoy spicy food. I grew up in a household like many other North Americans where salt & pepper was pretty much the star of the spice show, alongside garlic, oregano, parsley and maybe some onion powder. I know that those were the items we had in my mothers’ pantry but I am not complaining, I loved my moms cooking.
To this date, I still can’t replicate the dish even though I have the recipe in her hand writing. I think it is that extra ingredient “Love” that mom’s put into their cooking that is impossible to replicate.
I grew up on simple spices and simple can be a wonderful thing at times but since I have elevated my palate, I enjoy all the flavors of sweet, salty, sour and spicy. My particular two favorites are salty & spicy. I have not quite gotten the attachment of sweet meals, to me, sweet is a dessert flavor but none-the-less, I know that sweet does have a place to play in lots of cuisines, but in this recipe, the star is spicy.
Keep reading below for the recipe for grilled bacon wrapped jalapeno peppers that are perfect for a low-carb and ketogenic diet. This recipe is super simple and the beauty of it is that other than 3 whole ingredients, you only need a few spices to make a masterpiece.
I make my recipe with a spicy Italian sausage stuffed in the jalapenos, however, you may have noticed, many of the brands at the grocery store will contain awful ingredients like corn syrup or just plain white sugar and that’s a no-go on the ketogenic diet as you know.
We want to enjoy this appetizer and not have it halt our weight loss right in its track. So if you can’t find a sugar-free version, then you can make your own. By sugar-free, I don’t mean the percentages listed on the back of the product label. Often you will read sugar in the ingredients but it doesn’t make-up 1% of the nutrient percentages, so they get to list it as “0” sugars but that is not what you are looking for when it is sugar-free.
Sugar-free products that contain even a trace of sugar can impact your blood glucose levels and immediately cause an insulin response, and remember when you have an insulin response, you are not burning fat, and if your blood sugar is raised, that means that your cortisol might be raised as well and your hormones are going wacky and so it can be all kinds of bad for you as you are ketosis bliss!
To make your own spicy sausage, you would take grounded pork sausage and add ingredients such as salt, pepper, cayenne, hot chili powder, grounded jalapeno & chipotle. You’ll want to let it sit in the spices for at least an hour, if you can, to give the meat time to take on those flavors.
This is a versatile recipe and you see lots of different ones out there for jalapeno poppers. Some like a meaty version but others enjoy a version with cheese. Because I am dairy-free, I don’t stuff mine typically with dairy products however I used to make this recipe back in the day when I ate prepared food, I would stuff these with a soy-based cream cheese and they were soooooo good!!
Based on my experience with a “cheesy” version, I want to provide you that option to make these with a cheese stuffing or you could actually combine both! Mix your sausage with cream cheese and stuff the popper – actually, that sounds amazing and I am starting to envision how delicious it would be with some chopped up jalapenos in the mixture as well… now you would have to LOVE spice for that but if you happen to try that, please let me know.
Here are my recommended variations of this recipe:
Non-spicy: Recipe sounds good to you but your guests or kids don’t love spice? Well, you can make this recipe non-spicy. Swap the jalapeno poppers for mini bell peppers and stuff them with a mild sausage. It really is that simple!
Cheese: Like I mentioned above, this recipe works well with cheese stuffed in the jalapeno, so swap the meat for a cheese that melts well, a lot of people will use cream cheese, but you could use mozzarella, cheddar or goat chevre. For the mozzarella and cheddar, you might choose to grate the cheese and mix it with a cream cheese so it binds.
Pork-free: You can absolutely do this recipe without pork. I would make it cheese based for the stuffing our use ground chicken, beef or turkey and then wrap the popper in turkey bacon or leave out the bacon all together.
Yields: 24 Poppers
- 12 jalapeno peppers, cut in half horizontally, seeds removed
- 500 grams spicy Italian sausage
- 12 slices of bacon, cut down the center (vertically if your peppers are small, horizontally if your peppers are large)
- in my photo above, the peppers were larger, so I cut my bacon horizontally down the long end to wrap the entire pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil
- Stuff all 24 peppers with sausage & wrap the bacon around the jalapeno shell and cover the meat center, spread out on a baking sheet
- Bake for 15 minutes on middle rack or until the bacon is crispy, remove and let sit for a few minutes before serving
- The most important step: eat!
I think you are going to love this recipe but you can actually alter it more if you get inspired to try different flavors. For Super Bowl LII, I made the poppers with beef and Mexican taco seasoning and people loved them! I’ve also tried sun-dried tomatoes, goat chevre and black olives in mini bell peppers wrapped in bacon. Delicious! Be creative and think outside the box!
And if you love Jalapenos as much as I do, check out this book with 250 jalapeno recipes! Click Here.