In many Buffalo, NY restaurants you will find stuffed banana peppers on the menu. There are different versions. Some make them with sausage, others make them with ground beef, and many prepare them without meat and use a variety of sharp cheese. They are all delicious but my favorite stuffed banana pepper recipes are the ones that use only cheese. Each bite is oozing with tang from the cheese and heat from the pepper. So good!
Over the holidays I decided to put together a new party dip recipe using stuffed banana peppers as inspiration. Typically, I make artichoke and spinach dip for parties but I wanted something different – I felt like I was getting party dipped typed cast!
I did use my artichoke and spinach dip as starting point. The cream cheese/greek yogurt base for that recipe works so I use it as the foundation. Then I research stuffed banana pepper recipes and also asked friends for their stuffed banana pepper opinion.
I decided to go with fresh banana peppers. Originally, I wanted to use jarred banana pepper rings because it was easier. However, my husband and many friends convinced me otherwise. So I went with fresh and happy I did. You just can’t beat the flavor of fresh banana peppers. I highly recommend wearing plastic gloves when handling the banana peppers. I did not because I just didn’t think I needed too. Well I was wrong. The oil from the peppers got on my skin and my hands felt like they were on fire later that night. Next time I make this I will wear gloves.
Next up was the cheese. There are so many different cheese combinations restaurants use. Mostly, you will find stronger cheese like asiago, parmesan, blue cheese, and gorgonzola mixed with cream cheese and mozzarella. I decided to use a grated romano/parmesan blend, mozzarella cheese, and gorgonzola. I was worried about the gorgonzola taking over but the combination provided a great balance.
The cheese and banana peppers provide great flavor but I like to season my dips up with a little granulated garlic and onion powder. I don’t add salt because there is already so much salt from the cheese. However, give it a taste and if you feel like it needs a little salt stir it in before you add the breadcrumb topping.
Speaking of breadcrumb topping…the topping on this dip is AMAZING. You can leave it off if you want but I personally think this is makes it more stuffed banana pepper dip authentic.
A quick note… After the dip cooks it will seem a little loose. I think the banana peppers release some water as they cook. Don’t worry because after it sits for about 5-7 minutes it will thicken right up.
I brought this dip to a New Years Eve party and served it with sliced baguette bread. Everyone LOVED it! It was a huge hit. If you are looking for a new dip to bring to a party give this one a try. This would be perfect for a Super Bowl party!
- 8 large banana peppers
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 8 ounces low fat cream cheese
- 1 cup greek yogurt
- ½ cup grated romano/parmesan cheese blend
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 cup gorgonzola crumbles
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove stems, seeds, and ribs from banana peppers. Chop into medium to small pieces and then set aside.
- Place the cream cheese and greek yogurt into a 8 x8 casserole dish. Cook for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Carefully stir into the cream cheese/greek yogurt mixture the chopped banana peppers, grated romano/parmesan blend, mozzarella, gorgonzola, granulated garlic, and onion powder. Smooth the top so the surface is flat.
- In a medium bowl mix together panko bread crumbs and butter. Sprinkle over the top of the dip.
- Place back in oven and cook for another 35 - 40 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
- Let dip sit for 5 -7 minutes before serving. It will thicken as it sits.
I can’t get fresh banana peppers here. If I can only find rings about how much should I use?