Delicious Dinner Recipes Using Jalapeños and Other Peppers

Pepper- or jalapeño-focused dinners create delicious, healthy, and versatile dishes. Pasta, fish, and curry are just a few recipes you can enhance by adding these colorful veggies to your dinner. Whether you’re craving a meal that has a spicy kick to it or you’re looking for something that’s a little bit sweeter, these seven recipes will ensure you’re eating a fresh-tasting, flavorful meal every night of the week. One thing’s for sure: There’s no way your tastebuds will get bored eating these suppers.

1. Trenette With Jalapeño Pesto Recipe

Pesto | iStock.com

Food Republic’s dish adds a fun twist to a basic pesto. Rather than using basil, you’ll add hot chili peppers instead, creating a delicious dinner that is hot and spicy. The recipe yields 6 servings.

Ingredients:

Pesto

  • 6 jalapeño peppers, cored and seeded
  • 5 Serrano chilies, cored and seeded
  • ½ medium red onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup sliced blanched almonds
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste

Pasta

  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1½ pounds trenette or thin linguine
  • ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs, toasted

Directions: To prepare the jalapeño pesto, place the jalapeño, serranos, onions, almonds, and olive oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt to taste. To prepare the pasta, bring 8 quarts of water to a boil in a large pasta pot. While the water is heating, combine the olive oil and the garlic in a 12- to 14-inch saute pan, and sauté over medium-high heat until the garlic is almost brown, about 3 minutes. Add 1½ cups of the jalapeño pesto and bring to a simmer. When the water comes to a boil, add 2 tablespoons salt.

Drop the trenette into the boiling water and cook for 1 minute less than the package instructions indicate. Just before the pasta is done, carefully ladle ¼ cup of the cooking water into the pan containing the jalapeño mixture. Drain the pasta in a colander and add it to the jalapeño mixture. Toss over medium heat for about 30 seconds, until nicely coated, and then pour it into a warmed bowl. Scatter the breadcrumbs over the top and serve immediately.

2. Fish Fillets With Pineapple-Jalapeño Salsa

Jalapeno | Scott Olson/Getty Images

A basic fish fillet becomes a full-flavored dinner dish after adding the pineapple-jalapeño salsa. This Caribbean-inspired Delish recipe yields 4 servings, with each containing 192 calories and 9 grams of fat.

Ingredients:

Salsa

  • 1 small ripe pineapple
  • ¼ cup minced scallions
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons (about 1 large) minced fresh jalapeño pepper
  • ¼ teaspoons salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Fish

  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound catfish, tilapia, haddock, or other white fish fillets, cut into 4 portions
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions: To prepare the salsa, cut the top and skin off pineapple, remove the eyes and core. Finely dice the pineapple, and place in a medium bowl. Add scallions, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeño, and oil. Toss to mix. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.

To prepare the fish, combine flour, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish; thoroughly dredge fillets. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fish, working in batches if necessary, and cook until lightly browned and just opaque in the center, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve each portion of fish with about ¼ cup salsa each.

3. Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Pasta

Red peppers | Thinkstock

Eating Well has created a vegetarian pasta dish that’s bursting with fresh, healthy ingredients, including sweet potato, red bell pepper, fresh herbs, and goat cheese. The recipe yields 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat angel hair pasta
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups shredded, peeled sweet potato (about 1 medium)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup diced plum tomatoes
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar, or lemon juice
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese

Directions: Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes or according to package directions. Meanwhile, place 1 tablespoon oil and garlic in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is sizzling and fragrant, 2 to 5 minutes. Add sweet potato, bell pepper, tomatoes, and water and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper is tender and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat; cover and keep warm.

Drain the pasta, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot. Add the vegetable mixture, the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, parsley, tarragon, vinegar (or lemon juice), salt and cheese; toss to combine. Add the reserved pasta water, 2 tablespoons at a time, to achieve the desired consistency.

4. Quesadillas With Shrimp and Peppers

Quesadillas | iStock.com

Food Network’s recipe calls for green and red bell peppers, onion, shrimp, and cheese for the ultimate quesadilla dinner. Serve this delicious dish, which yields 6 servings, with sour cream, cilantro, and lime wedges.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup Mexican red sauce
  • 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped into chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into chunks
  • Butter, for cooking tortillas
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 2 cups grated cheese
  • Sour cream, for serving
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Directions: On a large plate, pour the red sauce over the shrimp and set aside. Heat a skillet over high heat and add the olive oil. Cook the onions and bell peppers over high heat until they start to get nicely browned. Remove from the skillet and set aside. Add the shrimp with the sauce. Cook, stirring only occasionally, until the shrimp are opaque. Add in a little water if the sauce gets dry. Remove from the skillet and chop the shrimp into bite-size pieces.

In a clean skillet, heat some butter. Place a tortilla in the skillet, then layer on the ingredients: cheese, vegetables, and shrimp. Top with a little more cheese and a second tortilla. Cook on both sides, adding butter before flipping to the other side so the tortilla isn’t overly dry. Remove from the skillet and slice into wedges. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas and filling ingredients. Serve with sour cream, cilantro, and lime wedges.

5. Bell Pepper and Beef Curry

Curry | iStock.com

Steak, pepper, green beans, coconut milk, and mango create a must-try dinner dish. Kitchen Daily’s healthy recipe yields 4 servings, with each containing 368 calories.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound beef sirloin or strip steak, trimmed, thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 2 red bell pepper, cut into thin, 2-inch strips
  • 1 (14 ounce) can lite coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 large mango, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 lime wedges

Directions: Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon and drain any liquid from the pan; wipe out the pan. Reduce heat to medium.

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, green beans, and bell peppers to the pan and cook, stirring, just until the beans begin to color, 2 to 4 minutes. Combine coconut milk and curry paste and pour the mixture into the pan. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the vegetables are just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Return the beef and any juice on the plate to the pan along with mango; cook, stirring once or twice, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.

6. Jalapeño Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and cheese | iStock.com

Just when you thought macaroni and cheese couldn’t get any better, Martha Stewart delivers a jalapeño version, taking your cheesy noodles to a whole new level. Cheese (of course), breadcrumbs, jalapeño, macaroni, and corn kernels create a dinner everyone will be raving about. This recipe yields 8 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 seeded, diced jalapeño
  • 4 sliced scallions
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups 2 percent milk
  • ¾ pound elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar
  • 3 cups shredded monterey jack
  • 2 cups corn kernels
  • Salt and pepper

Directions: Heat broiler. In a large straight-sided, oven-safe skillet, melt butter. Remove 1 tablespoon butter and combine with breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Add jalapeño and scallions to skillet and cook until softened. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Very gradually whisk in milk and bring to a simmer. Add macaroni and cook, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pan, until tender, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in remaining cheese and the corn, and season with salt and pepper. Top with breadcrumb mixture and broil until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

7. Spicy Pork and Chili-Pepper Goulash

Red peppers | iStock.com

Cooking your pork in this savory pepper stew will give the meat great melt-in-your-mouth flavor. Cooking Channel’s recipe, which yields 4 to 6 servings, is filled with an assortment of chili and pepper flavors, creating a dish that is sure to brighten your night.

Ingredients:

  • 4¼ pounds pork shoulder off the bone, in 1 piece, skin off, fat left on
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 2 fresh red chiles, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 generous heaping tablespoons mild smoked paprika, plus a little extra for serving
  • 2 teaspoons ground caraway seeds
  • Small bunch fresh marjoram or oregano, leaves picked
  • 5 bell peppers (use a mixture of colors), sliced
  • 1 (10-ounce) jar grilled peppers, drained, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (14-ounce) can good quality plum tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 14 ounces basmati or long-grain rice, washed
  • ⅔ cup sour cream
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • Small bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Get a deep, ovenproof stew pot with a lid and heat it on the stove. Score the fat on the pork in a criss-cross pattern all the way through to the meat, then season generously with salt and pepper. Pour olive oil into the pot and add the pork, fat side down. Cook for about 15 minutes on a medium heat, to render out the fat, then remove the pork from the pot and put it to 1 side.

Add the onions, chili, paprika, caraway seeds, marjoram or oregano, and a good pinch of salt and pepper to the pot. Turn the heat down and gently cook the onions for 10 minutes, then add the sliced peppers, grilled peppers, and tomatoes. Put the pork back into the pot, give everything a little shake, then pour in enough water to just cover the meat. Add the vinegar. Bring to a boil, put the lid on top, then place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. When the meat is cooked, it will be tender and sticky, and it will break up easily when pulled apart with 2 forks. If it’s not quite there, put the pot back into the oven.

When the meat is nearly ready, cook the rice in salted, boiling water for 10 minutes until it’s just undercooked, then drain in a colander, reserving some of the cooking water and pouring it back into the pan. Place the colander over the pan on a low heat and put a lid on. Leave to steam dry and cook through for 10 minutes. Stir the sour cream, lemon zest, and most of the parsley together in a little bowl. When the meat is done, take the pot out of the oven, and tear or break the meat up and serve the goulash in a big dish or bowl, with steaming rice and sour cream. Sprinkle with the rest of the chopped parsley.

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