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!
*this recipe has been adapted from a version I found on skinnytaste.com . 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 🙂
- 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)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Strain Greek Yogurt for 2-4 hours.
- Shell and chop pistachios.
- Chop jalapenos.
- Combine filling ingredients, mix and set aside.
- Mix together almond crumb mixture and set aside.
- Stir olive oil and lime to make the wash.
- Rinse, pat dry, and season chicken with salt and pepper.
- Spread filling onto cutlet, roll lengthwise, and secure with a toothpick.
- Dip chicken into wash and roll into almond mixture.
- Place crease side down in a lightly greased baking dish and bake.