These starters have all the oozy, cheesy splendor of a jalapeño popper—minus the spice and the fry. I skip the breading and oil by baking instead, but these aren’t totally guilt-free (not that I believe in "guilt" when it comes to food). My mini peppers are stuffed with savory Italian sausage crumbles (mmm, fennel!) and requeijão cremoso, commonly known as Brazilian cream cheese. While it’d be easy to substitute full-sized bell peppers, using mini sweet peppers transforms this dish into a fun and seriously adorable little appetizer, perfect for the holidays. Plus, you can pop them with your hands. Who needs a fork anyway? —Taryn Pire
4 to 6
Olive oil, for frying sausage
4 to 5
Italian sausages, mild or hot, removed from casings
2 to 3
garlic cloves, minced
medium yellow onion, finely diced
8 to 10 ounces
Salt and pepper, to taste
mini sweet peppers, tops cut off and ribs and seeds removed
Breads crumbs, for topping
In This Recipe
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook and crumble the sausage in a little olive oil. Once cooked, remove from the pan.
Sauté garlic and onion in the sausage drippings until golden and aromatic. Add sausage crumbles back in. Remove and drain.
In a large bowl, combine the sausage and requeijão. Fold until combined. Add salt and pepper if desired.
Stuff each mini pepper with the cheese mixture. Line peppers on a baking sheet. Sprinkle breadcrumbs atop the open ends of the peppers.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until peppers have softened and browned.
Taryn Pire is the associate food editor at PureWow. A graduate of Ithaca College, she's covered all things food at New Jersey Family, GOOD, Taste Talks, and ANNA Magazine. Tacos are the way to her heart and she makes a mean Old Fashioned. Follow her food adventures on Instagram @cookingwithpire.