Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers With Lentils
You won’t miss the meat in these hearty stuffed peppers!
I love meaty cheesy stuffed peppers as much as anyone else, but this recipe came about on a Meatless Monday and I’ve been favoring it since. They’re stuffed with a delicious saucy mix of wholesome lentils, brown rice, tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese. (You have to include the cheese!) If you aren’t keen on black olives or mushrooms, you can easily swap those ingredients for other veggies—like zucchini or shredded carrots. Feel free to get creative! All veggies are welcome. As for serving, I like to mow these down on their own as a main dish, but they’re also an ideal all-in-one veg and starch side dish. And if you end up with leftover filling, save it. Tuck it into lettuce wraps the next day, stuff it into some taco shells, or eat it on its own. It’s versatile.
The very-veggie ingredient list.
These peppers taste like total comfort food with all of that gooey tomato-y cheesy goodness, but they’re packed with nutrients as well. Here’s the list of what you’ll need to make these stuffed peppers:
- Bell peppers, in any color! Just remember that red, orange, and yellow peppers are sweeter than green.
- Olive oil
- Red onion (white or yellow will also do fine)
- Mushrooms (I prefer to use cremini or baby bella)
- Can of diced tomatoes
- Kosher salt
- Cracked black pepper
- Cooked lentils
- Cooked brown rice
- Black olives
- Tomato sauce
- Shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
- Fresh parsley or basil
Here’s the gist on how to make vegetarian stuffed peppers.
When coming up with this recipe, my main goal was to make sure these stuffed peppers were as filling as meat-stuffed peppers. Lentils are a perfect fit; they’re robust, full of protein, and small enough to almost mimic pieces ground meat. Here’s the rundown on how to make these vegetarian stuffed peppers:
Preheat your oven. Set the rack to middle position and preheat to 425º F.
Get those peppers ready. Wash the peppers, cut them in half, clean them out, and set them on a baking tray face down. Then, pop them into the oven and roast them for 15-20 minutes, or until they start to blister a little. Once slightly blistered, remove them and set them aside to cool.
Prepare that delicious stuffing. While the peppers roast in the oven, you can work on your stuffing mix. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and sauté them until the garlic is fragrant and the onions are translucent. After about 5 minutes, add the mushrooms and tomatoes to the skillet and hit everything with some salt and pepper. Sauté until the mushrooms soften. Now add the cooked lentils, cooked rice, black olives, tomato sauce, and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Stir well, bring the heat to low, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Set the broiler! Get that broiler going on high and set an oven rack one space higher than the middle (this can depend on your oven, so use your best judgement). Remove the skillet from the heat and ladle the stuffing into the open roasted peppers. Make sure to fill them right up to the brim. Sprinkle each pepper with the remaining mozzarella cheese and grate some fresh parmesan or pecorino romano on there because really, there’s no such thing as too much cheese.
Broil until bubbly. Pop the tray of peppers beneath the broiler until the cheese starts to melt and turn a nice light golden color, and starts to bubble slightly. This could take anywhere from 3-5 minutes depending on your oven, so keep a close eye on it!
And done! Remove the peppers from the oven, garnish with freshly chopped herbs, and serve.
Equipment you’ll need.
Recipe tips + tricks.
- You can use dry or canned lentils in this recipe. I personally use canned because they’re quicker and easier and there’s already enough prep in this recipe. If you use dry lentils, cook them in vegetable broth for extra flavor.
- Cooking the rice in vegetable broth will also add extra flavor.
- You can add or swap vegetables easily in this recipe. Some great additions are zucchini and carrots!
- If you decide to skip the cheese topping, you can skip the broiling step.
- Use leftover stuffing for lettuce wraps, tacos, or eat it on its own!
Other fantastic recipes that include lentils:
- Coconut Curry Instant Pot Lentil Soup
- Refreshing Lentils with Bruschetta and Feta
- Fall Harvest Medley
- Easy Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
Hope you enjoy!
If you plan on making this recipe, be sure to snap a pic and tag us on Insta! @killing__thyme.
Get the Recipe:
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers With Lentils
- 4 large bell peppers, cut in half and gutted
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup minced onion, I use red, but white/yellow/sweet will work
- 1 cup roughly chopped mushrooms
- 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper
- 2 cups cooked lentils, *See notes
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 cup roughly chopped black olives, not kalamata olives, just plain black olives from a can are fine
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan or pecorino romano (optional)
- Roughly chopped fresh parsley or basil, for garnish
- Cook the rice as per the packages instructions. If using dry lentils, also cook them now, as per instructions on package, but use vegetable broth instead of water (it's way more flavorful this way).
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Wash your peppers, cut them in half, gut them, and set them on a baking tray face down.
- Place the peppers in the oven and roast them for 15-20 minutes or until they start to blister. Remove and set aside to cool. (While the peppers roast, proceed with the next step.)
- In a large skillet, heat oil over moderate heat. Add the garlic and onions, and sauté until the garlic is fragrant and the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Stir often and care not to brown the garlic, or it will result in a bitter taste.
- Add the mushrooms and tomatoes; season with salt and pepper, and sauté until the mushrooms soften (about 5 minutes).
- Finally, add the lentils, rice, black olives, tomato sauce, and 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese. Stir well, bring the heat to low, and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Set the broiler to high, and set oven rack one space higher than the middle (this can depend on your oven, so use your best judgement).
- Remove the skillet from the heat and, with a large spoon, ladle the stuffing into the open roasted peppers. Stuff them to the brim!
- Sprinkle each pepper with the remaining mozzarella cheese, and grate some fresh parmesan or pecorino romano on there if you'd like.
- Place the peppers in the oven and broil until the cheese starts to melt and turn a nice light golden color (approx. 3-5 minutes, but it depends on your oven, so keep a close eye on it.)
- When done, remove the peppers from the oven and garnish with freshly chopped herbs.
- This recipe can feed up to 4 people as a main, or 8 as a side.
- If you're cooking dry lentils, follow the instructions on the package and if you can, swap the water for vegetable broth for extra flavor.
- Prep time for this meal varies. It really depends on if you're using dry lentils or canned lentils.
- Depending on the size of the peppers, you might be left with extra stuffing. It keeps in the fridge just fine for about five days, so hold onto it. You can eat it on its own later in the week, or stuff it into lettuce cups for a tasty low-carb meal!