I remember after-school snacks as an affair of epic importance. And let’s face it, even though you’re not in school anymore, snacks in general are still a monumental thing, don’t you think?
You need fuel. You need excitement. You need a break from the monotony.
Pop Quiz: Do you really want to waste your snacking time on something you just got out of a vending machine?
I’m not going to grade you on a curve here, people. The obvious answer is ‘NO’.
Another thing of importance is foods that are super cute, aesthetically pleasing, and/or otherwise easy on the eyes. Lately I’ve been particularly enamored of tiny foods. Foods that you could pop into your pocket just before you have a chance to pop them into your mouth.
Enter the sweet mini pepper.
Seriously, if you don’t think that these sweet mini peppers are cute enough to dress up in rompers and take down to the park to play, I just don’t know what’s what in your neighborhood.
And the thing that’s really great about these sweet peppers, other than their extreme cuteness, is that they’re a fantastic addition to both savory and sweet dishes.
Which is how they found their way into some smoky Roasted Sweet Mini Pepper Salsa, some cute as a button Sweet Mini Pepper Quesaditas, and some adorable Peanut Butter-Stuffed Sweet Mini Peppers.
An After-School Snack Spread for the ages!
Each of these sweet mini pepper snacks can be prepared in advance; you can assemble your quesaditas, refrigerate, and then bake them off at your convenience.
And all three are simple to prepare – really only assembly is required. Which means that each of these sweet mini pepper snacks can be prepared with mini hands!
For example, I cut the ‘tortillas’ for my quesaditas out of regular-size tortillas using a 3 1/2″ cookie cutter. Mini-handed little ones can help out with quesadita assembly by cutting their own mini ‘tortillas’.
Look how cute!
Now here’s one more Pop Quiz: Which would you prefer to eat for your next snack?
A. A bag of SunChips that you found in between the cushions on your couch. (You left the bag there in 2009. Which means you’ve been sitting on it for 3 years.)
B. Some mints you scored at the checkout stand after lunch yesterday with your boss.
C. A vending machine selection du jour.
D. A sweet mini pepper snack buffet including Sweet Mini Pepper Quesaditas, Roasted Sweet Mini Pepper Salsa with chips, and Peanut Butter-Stuffed Sweet Mini Peppers.
Really. You’ve got this A+ in the bag.
My adorable, delicious sweet mini peppers were generously provided by Wilson Produce, but the recipes, post, and opinions expressed herein are all my own. You can find your own sweet mini peppers in the produce section of your local market or at your local Costco or Sam’s Club. Check out Wilson’s Mini Pepper pinboard for even more ideas about cooking with sweet mini peppers.
Sweet Mini Pepper Quesaditas
2 c. sweet mini peppers, chopped
2 c. Oaxaca cheese, shredded (shredded mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese is a great substitute here)
1 c. green onion, diced
tortillas, corn or flour (You can use any size of tortilla here, and you can cut your quesaditas to any size. I used a 3 1/2″ round cookie cutter and large flour tortillas. Just note that this recipe yields 16- 3 1/2″ round quesaditas.)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Cut out your quesadita tops and bottoms and place the bottoms on parchment-lined baking sheets. Divide the chopped peppers evenly between each quesadita bottom, topping with the onions and then the cheese. Finish with the remaining tortilla pieces, pressing down slightly on the tops of each quesadita. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until tortillas are beginning to brown and cheese has melted. Remove and serve, ideally with sweet mini pepper salsa.
YIELD: 16- 3 1/2″ quesaditas
Roasted Sweet Mini Pepper Salsa
10 sweet mini peppers, roasted, peeled and stemmed
1 tbsp. lime juice, freshly squeezed
4 garlic cloves
1 bunch green onions, ends removed
1 c. grape tomatoes
Place all of the ingredients in the bowl of food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth. Remove and serve, ideally with quesaditas or tortilla chips. This salsa can also be stored, refrigerated, for up to 1 week.
YIELD: approximately 1 1/2 cups
Peanut Butter-Stuffed Sweet Mini Peppers
8 sweet mini peppers
1 c. peanut butter (I used crunchy peanut butter here, but you can use smooth if you prefer.)
1/2 c. raisins
Prepare the peppers by setting them down on a flat surface to find their ‘bottoms’. Carefully remove their ‘tops’ by slicing them off, canoe-style. Scoop out the seeds and membrane and set the hollowed peppers aside.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir the raisins into the peanut butter. Coat the bottoms of the peppers with a drizzle of honey, then stuff generously with the peanut butter and raisin mixture. Serve immediately or refrigerate overnight.
YIELD: 8 stuffed mini peppers