It’s the weekend! And here I am, at 8 am on a sunny Saturday morning, updating an old recipe post. Blog life: you never really stop working ;)
But I have coffee; I can’t be upset.
When I have the energy, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. The fatigue I’m experiencing throughout this pregnancy is REAL and “nap roulette” is a game I play often. (Will I wake up from this nap at dinner time, or tomorrow morning? Let’s find out!) On those days, I don’t get much done. And because of those days, I have the utmost respect for women who work outside of the home while pregnant. Because holy crap, I’ve been borderline narcoleptic over here. So yeah. On days where I feel alive and awake, I hit the ground running. Once baby is here, I’ll be taking some time off. So! The more content I can update or create and throw in the bank, the better.
This recipe was inspired by these meaty stuffed peppers, which I came up with… what feels like another life time ago. Before this blog even existed. Once I did bring them to the blog, they was a hit. But then the demand for vegetarian stuffed peppers was on the rise and I wanted to get in on that early. I’m happy I did, because this meatless recipe remains one of my most visited to this day.
So let’s talk about these peppers.
They’re ridiculously good. So good that my lentil-hating husband eats them without complaint. They’re stuffed with a delicious saucy mix of hearty lentils, brown rice, tomatoes, black olives, mushrooms, and mozzarella 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.
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 that good.
If you try this recipe or create your own variation, let me know in the comments! I love connecting with you. Then snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme to be featured in our newsletter.
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!