So these are pretty bad ass (not to mention long overdue). This recipe was initially intended to be a plant-based spin on my meaty Best Stuffed Peppers — one of my most popular recipes from the pre-pescetarian days — but the pressure was just. too. much.
That old trusty recipe of mine received comments like “These were the best stuffed peppers I’ve ever had” and “Hubby, who swore up and down ‘I do not like stuffed peppers!’, devoured 4 of them!”
How does one compete, or even follow up, with that? (You don’t. You just don’t.)
The thing that makes *those* peppers so special is the slightly-sweet-yet-hella-savory thing it has going on. The intriguing sweetness comes from the sweet sausage, and since I have yet to master seitan or tempeh, I wasn’t even going to go there. One day, but not this day. (And by all means, if you’re a meat-eater, I kept that recipe up on the blog for a reason. It’s dope, and you should head there now.)
Rather than set myself up for disappointment, I decided to kick the intention of “recreating” to the curb and instead, develop something fresh. Something that wasn’t meant to be compared to something else, but to be its own exciting thing.
These tender bells are brimming with a delicious plant-based mishmash that let this recipe be its own delectable thing.
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers With Lentils
My stuffing is a delicious mess of robust lentils, rice, juicy tomatoes, black olives, tender mushrooms, and cheese. (Gotta have that cheese, y’all.) If you aren’t a huge fan of black olives or mushrooms, don’t worry; I got you, fam. You can easily swap those for veggies you dig — like zucchini, eggplant, or carrots. Feel free to experiment, and let me know what you come up with!
Please let me know if you make this recipe! Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram: @Killing__Thyme /#killingthyme. For more delish eats, follow me on INSTAGRAM + PINTEREST.
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers With Lentils
These hearty Vegetarian Lentil-Stuffed Peppers make for a tasty main or side dish. Cheesy and saucy, the stuffing includes tender mushrooms, juicy tomatoes, and black olives.
- vegetable broth
- 4 large bell peppers halved and gutted
- 1 TBSP cooking oil
- 3-4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 cup minced white onion
- 1 cup roughly chopped mushrooms
- 2 cups diced tomatoes (canned [15 oz] or fresh; drain them if canned)
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cracked pepper
- 2 cups cooked lentils (cook in vegetable broth for extra flavor)
- 1 cups cooked rice al dente
- 1 cup roughly chopped black olives (optional)
- 1-2 cups tomato sauce (depending on how saucy you want it; I go for two)
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella divided
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan or romano
- Fresh parsley or basil for garnish roughly chopped
Cook lentils as per instructions on package, but substitute water for vegetable broth (it's way more flavorful this way). In the meantime, also cook the rice until al dente — a little less time than what the package suggests. It's going to cook further in the sauce once in the skillet, so it will soften up further.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut your peppers in half, gut them, and set them on a baking tray face down.
Place 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 S + P, 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 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 romano on there for good measure. Because. Cheese.
Place the peppers in the oven and broil until the cheese start to brown and turn a nice light golden color (approx. 3-5 minutes, but it depends on your oven, so keep a close eye on it because burnt cheese brings sadness to the world).
When done, remove the peppers from the oven and garnish with freshly chopped herbs.
- This recipe feeds 4 hungry people as a main, or 8 as a side.
- Prep time for this meal varies. Depending on what lentils you're using, make sure to check the prep details on the packaging and plan accordingly.
- Depending on the size of the peppers, it's very common to 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!