Warning: Calories on board! Stuffed banana peppers make your grill sizzle.

Okay so this is fair warning…if you are on a diet…if you are a vegetarian…if you avoid pork. What! Now pretend you hear squealing brakes and see wheels skidding to a stop. Who in their right mind would avoid pork? Well, let me tell you…

I know a few people and that’s okay by me – for religious reasons, for health reasons, for (ahem) “I’ve never had really well prepared pork so why all the fuss” people. But today’s recipe is not for any of those people. This recipe is extra special because it is my brother’s recipe, because it uses fresh local peppers, because it uses only 3 ingredients (4 if you count toothpicks, ha-ha) and because it is so darn good!

If the picture above didn’t reel you in like a catfish to a hunk of old pork rind, then STOP because “there is something wrong with you, son” – as local restaurateur and friend Hugh Lockman would say. This recipe is not for those on a diet – so stop reading this post immediately if this means you. Well, unless you think 205 calories is not too caloric, well then, you’re approved to proceed.

What with cream cheese AND bacon?!? I know what you’re thinking but my 100% non-scientific method of calculation gives me a number of approximately 205 calories and 10 grams of fat in one of these beauties. Have smaller peppers? Then can reduce the calorie and fat number per stuffed pepper accordingly. The peppers themselves have no fat but do contain copious dietary fiber as well as vitamins A, C and E, folate, niacin, calcium and potassium. And home grown or farmers market fresh? Buckle your seat belt ‘cause those exceed the taste limit in my book.

These are favorites of my hubby, and me too. We wait all winter and most of the spring for the new crop of sweet banana peppers to arrive at the farmers market. We even set out our own plants (see previous post) in the hope of having plenty to use specifically for this recipe during the summer.

While you can certainly use hot banana peppers, we prefer mild peppers with plenty of pepper flavor, but no real heat at my house. These are very popular at summer cookouts at the beach house, at the lake, at home. And special thanks to my brother John. His recipe has brought much grilling happiness to our table, and now hopefully to yours too.

The ingredients list is minimal but the flavor is maximum!

Peak inside the pepper. You need to remove the seeds and that stringy flesh they are attached to.

This is how the peppers should look after being cleaned.

Pepper stuffed with cream cheese.

Around and around we go with the bacon. Secure with toothpicks. I try to stick the toothpick through the meat of the bacon, rather than the fat.

Ready for the freezer. The peppers came be made up to this point and stored in the freezer, for up to a day. They need to freeze at least 1 hour anyway.

Here they go onto a sizzling grill. The cooking time depends upon your grill, i.e. how hot it gets and how evenly the heat is distributed. The best way to find out is by giving the recipe a try!

These peppers are almost done! Looks like I lost a toothpick. Oh well, I call ‘cooks treat’!

Ready for the dinner table. The combo of smoky bacon and roasted peppers smells so delicious… and only 205 calories! I don’t feel too guilty.

Stuffed Banana Peppers

  • 6 large (6”) sweet banana peppers
  • 12 oz. light cream cheese (about 1 ½ packages)
  • 6 pieces bacon (I use low sodium and nitrite free whenever possible)

Wash and dry the peppers. Split each pepper down the center along the long side, careful to not cut through to the other side. Clean out all the seeds and the stringy part inside. Wash and dry the insides. Stuff each pepper with the cream cheese – about 2 oz per pepper – smoothing to cover the entire length of the pepper. Once you’ve filled all the peppers, wrap 1 piece of bacon around each and secure with toothpicks. I usually use 2 each for medium peppers and 3 for these large ones.

Place stuffed peppers on a platter or baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and place in the freeze. Can be made up to this point up to one day ahead. Freeze at least 1 hour. Fire up your grill and place the frozen peppers on the grill. Watch them carefully and rotate to cook the bacon as evenly as possible, but avoid flipping them around too much. Once the bacon is cooked – after about 10-15 minutes – remove from the grill and serve immediately.

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