Food & Drink Magazine

Stuffed Jalapeños

By Lucasryden @saborkitchen

Have you ever eaten a raw jalapeño? Please say no. Because I have, and I can say with utmost confidence that it’s not worth it.  It hurts.  A slow, gradual hurt.  Starting on the lips and slowly creeping down the tongue, the throat, and into the nasal passages.  Pretty soon you’re crying, but not because of the pain, because you realize this feeling is probably going to last all day.   Sometimes nature sucks.

I knew that jalapeño was going to hurt me.  So why did I insist on eating it?  Like so many other spice junkies, I craved the pain of a fresh chili pepper.  But not in a creepy, narcissistic way – I just like spicy food.  Mexican, Chinese, Thai, it doesn’t matter.  My taste buds take pleasure from pain.  But why?  It doesn’t make any sense, at least in evolutionary terms.  Our bodies are genetically designed to reject harmful foods; if something tastes bad or causes pain, it’s usually a sign that we shouldn’t be eating it.  This is why rotten food smells rotten and poisonous food tastes, well, poisonous.  Seems pretty straightforward.  Except for the spicy part, what’s up with that?

It turns out the “spicy” flavor we detect in foods like jalapeño chilies isn’t as “dangerous” as I suggested above.  Capsaicin is the active chemical found in peppers that’s responsible for their spiciness.  It stimulates a receptor in our sensory neurons that creates a heat sensation, which then leads to reactions like redness and sweating.  Studies suggest capsaicin can actually increase our metabolism, through an extremely complicated and long-winded process called thermogenesis.  I won’t go into details here (i.e. I still don’t really understand it) but if you want the medical definition, read this article.

The benefits don’t stop there.  Other studies have suggested that the healthiest cultures in the world are the ones that eat the most spicy foods.  Capsaicin can fight inflammation and reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, minimizing the risk of heart disease and heart attack.  According to the American Association for Cancer Research, the spicy chemical compound also has the potential to kill cancer and leukemic cells.  Basically, capsaicin is super cool and our bodies should stop telling us to avoid it.

You don’t have to eat raw jalapeños to capitalize on capsaicin’s health benefits.  In fact, you probably shouldn’t (see: burning, itching, crying).  Instead you should take out the seeds and stuff the chilies with delicious things like goat cheese, walnuts, and raisins.  Then you should stick them in the oven, crack open a beer, and wait a few minutes.  Those benefits will still be there.  Tastier than ever.


stuffed jalapeños


10-15 jalapeños
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup goat cheese
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 lime

Directions: Preheat oven to 350.  Slice the jalapeños in half and remove seeds.  In a blender or food processor, combine the walnuts, raisins, and cheese.  Arrange the chiles on an ovenproof dish.  Stuff with filling and drizzle with agave nectar and lime juice.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, until chilies are tender and cheese is melted.


Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog