My Take On Jalapeno Popper Chicken {grain free, gluten free}

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Have you ever had one of those Jalapeno poppers at a restaurant or tailgate? Golden fried spicy goodness stuffed with ooey goey, cream-cheesy bacon. Yeah, not the definition of health food.

Something that really fascinates me is finding a recipe that excludes expected unhealthy ingredients in exchange for nourishing substitutes, without compromising the original flavors of a dish. It is easy to make healthy food taste like…health food.

OK, so how do you eliminate cream cheese, bacon, and breadcrumbs and still make chicken taste like a Jalapeño Popper?  Allow me to introduce you to my three secret weapons in this dish: almonds, pistachios, and strained Greek yogurt.


Straining your Greek yogurt for a few hours before assembling the dish transforms it into having a cream cheese-like consistency. The pistachios add a depth and buttery flavor in place of the bacon. And almonds=almond meal, which is my favorite breadcrumb substitution.

This dish isn’t difficult, but I suggest that you strain your Greek yogurt and shell your pistachios ahead of time. That is, if you do buy your pistachios shelled. To strain your Greek yogurt, double up a bit of cheesecloth that is about 10-12 inches long. Place the center of the cheesecloth in the bottom of a small bowl and plop your Greek yogurt in the middle. Twist the remaining cheesecloth around your ball of yogurt and secure with a rubber band. Let this strain in the fridge for about 2-3 hours until it is thick like cream cheese.

To assemble the filling, add diced jalapeno, scallions, cheese, Greek yogurt, cumin, and a pinch of salt and pepper into a small bowl.  Mix well. While you’re at it, combine the almond meal and spices into another bowl and stir. Lastly, add the olive oil and lime into a third bowl.


Rinse your chicken cutlets and pat dry. Make sure these are all about the same thickness; you can pound them out a little flatter if needed. I know almonds and pistachios aren’t the cheapest ingredients, but this cut of chicken is usually sold at a low cost, which should make up for the price of the nuts.

Spread about a heaping tablespoon of the filling onto the center of the cutlet that has been seasoned with salt and pepper. Roll these up lengthwise, tuck in the ends, and secure with a toothpick.

Dip the chicken roll into the lime-olive oil wash, give it a shake and roll it in the almond mixture and coat well. Place them crease side down into a baking dish that has been sprayed with olive oil. When all of the chicken has been assembled, spray with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Let them cool for 5-10 minutes and remove the toothpicks before serving.


These are absolutely incredible and totally shine when paired with my Cowboy Cauliflower, which I’ll be featuring soon. I absolutely love these as are, but the filling is so yummy with the chicken, I’ll be on a mission to create it into a fun appetizer, next. What do you think would work well? I’d love to hear your thoughts, please comment below!



Miss AK

*this recipe has been adapted from a version I found on . If you post about the recipe I have come up with above, please provide a link to my post. After all, we’re in this together 🙂

Jalapeno Popper Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Feeds 4
{grain free, gluten free}
  • 6-8 Chicken Cutlets
  • For the Filling:
  • • ½ cup of Greek yogurt
  • • ¼ cups chopped UNSALTED pistachios
  • • 2 jalapenos-diced
  • • 2 tbsp. scallions-chopped
  • • ¼ cup of Colby Jack or Mexican Blend Cheese-low fat preferred
  • For the Breading
  • • ½ cup of almond meal
  • • ½ tsp.. chili powder
  • • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • • ¼ tsp. garlic powder
  • • ¼ tsp. onion powder
  • For the Wash
  • • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • • juice of ½ lime
  • Sea or Himalayan salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Toothpicks (2 per piece)
  • Cheesecloth
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Strain Greek Yogurt for 2-4 hours.
  3. Shell and chop pistachios.
  4. Chop jalapenos.
  5. Combine filling ingredients, mix and set aside.
  6. Mix together almond crumb mixture and set aside.
  7. Stir olive oil and lime to make the wash.
  8. Rinse, pat dry, and season chicken with salt and pepper.
  9. Spread filling onto cutlet, roll lengthwise, and secure with a toothpick.
  10. Dip chicken into wash and roll into almond mixture.
  11. Place crease side down in a lightly greased baking dish and bake.



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