An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Sweet Heat


Successful appetizers manage to pack serious taste sensation into a small, bite-sized package. When the food is eaten in one gulp, there’s no room for meek spices or filler of any sort. That’s where these easy, intensely flavorful little snacks come in. After an over-enthusiastic purchase that resulted in many leftover shishito peppers, I soon was forced to scheme up new ways to use up my bounty, beyond the traditional grilling method. Contrasting flavors were the name of the game, and so I turned to the humble sweet potato. The gentle sweetness of those orange-fleshed tubers seems to both accentuate and mellow the heat of those green chiles, effortlessly adding another dimension. Despite how deceptively easily they come together, they’re quite complex in flavor, and had me reaching for a second, and a third, before I knew it.

Shishito Pepper Poppers

1 Pound Sweet Potatoes, Peeled and Cubed
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1/2 Pound Shishito Peppers
1 Canned Chipotle in Adobo, Finely Minced
1/4 Cup Coconut Milk
1 Tablespoon Non-Dairy Margarine or Coconut Oil, Melted
1 Tablespoon Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
Pinch Cayenne Pepper (Optional)
Chopped Walnuts or Pecans (Optional)
Chopped Fresh Parsley or Cilantro, for Garnish

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with a silpat, aluminum foil, or parchment paper.

Toss the peeled cubes of sweet potato and with the oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper so that the pieces are all evenly coated. Spread them out on your prepared baking sheet in one even layer, and roast until fork-tender and lightly browned around the edges; about 20 – 30 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for at least 5 – 10 minutes before proceeding, so that they’re easier to handle.

Meanwhile, you can go ahead and prep your shishito peppers. Slice each on in half, and carefully remove the seeds and white inner membrane. Set aside.

To complete the filling, take your roasted potatoes and add the minced chipolte, coconut milk, margarine or coconut oil, sugar, and cinnamon. Mash thoroughly, until mostly smooth but with a few small chunks remaining for texture. If you really like it hot, go ahead and add in cayenne pepper, to taste, but bear in mind that the shishitos will add a good deal of spice to the party, too. For a crunchy contrast, toss in a handful of finely chopped nuts, in desired. Fold in so that the pieces are well distributed.

Spoon or pipe the mashed sweet potatoes into your halved peppers. You may have leftover filling, but it makes for a fantastic side dish all on its own, too. Line up the stuffed peppers on the same baking sheet you just used. No need to clean it; the leftover oil will help to prevent the peppers from sticking. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the peppers have wilted slightly and are tender. Let cool before serving, top with parsley or cilantro if desired, and serve warm or at room temperature.

Printable Recipe

Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

26 thoughts on “Sweet Heat

  1. Love Shishito peppers! I had them for the first time in a sushi restaurant years ago, where they served them steaming hot and topped with flakes that were moving from the heat – it looked alive and tasted delicious. I’ve not seen them at our grocery stores recently, but I’ll have to keep my eyes out – stuffed peppers are a great presentation food and so tasty!

  2. These look wonderful!

  3. The colors are fantastic. My first thought was, I need to get more fabric for my photos! Probably not what you intended, right? The peppers look great too. ;)

  4. These poppers look delicious! I wish I had thought to stuff the shishito peppers I had in such abundance a few summers ago.

  5. i havent had shishito peppers, but these poppers look and sound fantastic.. and i am all game for the contrasting tastes!

  6. The picture makes these peppers look really cute. I do not kno why, I think it is because they are tiny and I have this problem with tiny things, I found them so much cuter than the normal or large-size one.
    But surely one must keep in mind that appearances are deceptive (sometimes), because I am sure these cuties are burning although you thought about it and softened with some sweet potato.
    The combination is surely great !

  7. They look and sound amazing Hannah!

    As always stunning photography.

  8. I see I’m not the only one addicted to sweet potatoes and chipotles in adobo! These look ahhhhmazing!

  9. Sweet and spicy does it for me every time…I love how these are bite-sized!

  10. Yum, hot and sweet! Bite sized food are always fun to eat. I bet that filling would be good in other things too. :-)

  11. Brilliant idea using sweet potatoes — such wonderful balance of flavors between sweet and spiciness :)

  12. We are big fans of stuffed peppers in my house! The sweet potato filling for these was such a good idea…I know these would be a hit!

  13. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a stuffed pepper. Shame, they sound amazing! They look divine, and I love the idea for an appetizer.

  14. Amazing flavor combinations for a zesty appetizer. What kind of pepper would you substitute if you could not find this one?

  15. These sound amazing and look so perfectly stuffed!!

  16. I don’t think I’ve ever had shishito peppers but they look and sound so delicious I may have to look for some. My family members are heat-lovers and would gobble these treats up.

  17. I’m with Andrea. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen them but I would love this recipe. Do you think I’d find them at a Chinese market?

    • Ethnic markets are definitely good places to check! Also, if you have any produce specialty stores, or “high end” grocery stores like Fresh Market, Balducci’s, or Whole Foods, there’s a good chance you’d find them there, too. Hope you can get a hold of some! Otherwise, jalapenos can work as well. :)

  18. Your shishito pepper poppers (I wouldn’t want to say that three times fast) sound incredibly delicious.

  19. Girl, this is such a creative and unique recipe – Looooove this!!

  20. This looks interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever had a shishito pepper.

  21. Intriguing! I’ve read and tried cooking stuffed bell peppers before but I’ve never tried using Shishito peppers. Based on my experience, there are peppers from this species that can be very very spicy. I’ll bet it will have that nice kick when I buy those and mix it with the sweet flavors of the other ingredients.

  22. Pingback: Sweet Potato Stuffed Hot Peppers | Triumph Wellness

  23. Looks like a great recipe. But please don’t call peppers “tubers!” They are not.

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