jalapeno spaghetti

Photo: Johnny Valiant

A Weeknight Supper for Jalapeño Lovers
This 30-minute spaghetti dinner has ridiculous flavor, thanks to Italian sausage (you can use either the sweet or the hot variety), garlic, sundried tomatoes, Parmesan...and two jalapeños. The meal gets an additional peppery punch from a few big handfuls of arugula, which you stir in at the end; the leaves wilt almost immediately.

Get the recipe: Spaghetti with Sausage, Arugula and Jalapeño
spicy pork meatballs

Photo: Con Poulos

A New Way to Kick Up Meatballs
Spicy and tart come together in this twist on traditional meatballs. The source of the spice here is jarred, hot cherry peppers (they're usually stocked near the pickles in supermarkets). You remove the stems and mince them, then mix with ground pork, salt, bread crumbs and eggs. The tart flavor comes from some of the cherry-pepper pickling liquid, which you stir into the meatball mixture before cooking; it's a brilliant move that lends moisture and flavor.

Get the recipe: Spicy Pork Meatballs
Salmon with spicy coconut sauce

Photo: Alison Gootee

A Bright Seafood Dinner with an Unexpected Wow Factor
Unsweetened coconut milk and lemon juice form the basis of a rich, silky sauce for salmon in this easy dinner. It's not all mellow, though: a dash of cayenne pepper brings a pop of heat to the dish. Slices of red bell pepper and ribbons of chopped bok choy soak up some of the cayenne, while a garnish of fresh basil adds a lovely floral note.

Get the recipe: Salmon with Spicy Coconut Sauce
Spiced Picnic Chicken

Photo: Linda Xiao

A Reinvention of Buffalo Sauce
This picnic-perfect chicken features a sauce that's reminiscent of the Buffalo one you often see on wings, but instead of relying on jarred or canned ingredients for heat, you use the real deal: that is, either red jalapeƱos (the ubiquitous green jalapeƱos work well here, too) or Fresnos, which have a fruity, smoky flavor. You puree the peppers, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, ginger, salt and olive oil in a blender until they emulsify into a smooth and spicy marinade. When roasted, the drumsticks and thighs turn golden and take on a tangy, spicy flavor that tastes brighter and fresher than most Buffalo-sauced chicken.

Get the recipe: Spiced Picnic Chicken
Vadouvan Curry Shrimp

Photo: Chris Court

The Culinary Mash-Up You Never Knew Could Be Spicy
French cuisine isn't necessarily known for brow-mopping heat, but combine some elements of it with Indian spices and you get a dish with impressively deep flavor and a surprising kick. As with many French recipes, this one starts with cooking thinly sliced shallots and garlic until they're golden brown and soft. Then, the recipe makes an Indian turn: You stir in a mix of cumin, cardamom, ground mustard, turmeric and red-pepper flakes. The spices become fragrant when cooked and, with lime juice, take shrimp to a new level of deliciousness.

Get the recipe: Vadouvan Curry Shrimp
Spicy Peanut Shirataki Noodles

Photo: Paul Sirisalee

A Healthy Salad with a New Kind of "Pasta"
Shirataki noodles are a busy and healthy person's dream, since they're no-cook and a whole package has fewer than 20 calories. But there's another reason to love them: their mild taste lets spicy flavors shine. This recipe pairs them with a Southeast Asian-inspired sauce that packs a fiery punch (thanks to sriracha), as well as a verdant mixture of fresh herbs, including basil and cilantro.

Get the recipe: Spicy Peanut Shirataki Noodles