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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.
Course Entree, Side Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Dana Sandonato

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

  1. This recipe can feed up to 4 people as a main, or 8 as a side.
  2. 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.
  3. Prep time for this meal varies. It really depends on if you're using dry lentils or canned lentils.
  4. 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!