Lentil Vegetable Stuffed Peppers

Welcome to another addition of “Let’s Clean Out The Fridge And Make Meals Before The Produce Goes Bad!”

(i.e.: Every few days in my kitchen when my social life escapes me and my time eating out eclipses the groceries I bought for that same time period.)

Growing up, I was never too keen on peppers. I had one elementary school friend that would eat raw red bell pepper slices with her lunch; my sliced apples and carrot sticks seemed tame and safe. The fresh crunch of a pepper and its taste, simply, grossed me out as a youngster. Cooked bell peppers appealed to me even less. I would always pick the pieces out of my mother’s goulash (or American Chop Suey, depending on where you hail from). But what’s the common theme of the blog? I used to hate many things, and then I grew to love them once I was able to handle them myself and improve upon them. Around high school, I started to enjoy peppers stuffed with meat, rice, tomatoes, and cheese. However, I attempt to be healthier now.

 

Sometimes.

 

Lentil Vegetable Stuffed Peppers
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

– 2 large bell peppers, sliced into halves with seeds and membranes removed
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– 1/4 cup lentils, rinsed
– 1 & 1/4 cup water; divided into 1 cup and 1/4 cup
– 1/4 cup cous cous (regular or cauliflower; see “Before We Get Started…)
– 1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
– 1 small white or yellow onion, diced
– 1/2 cup carrot, shredded
– 2 gloves garlic, minced
– 1/4 cup cilantro, rinsed and minced
– 1/4 cup feta cheese or fresh mozzarella cheese, cubed small
– Salt and pepper, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– For those of you going grainless, a cauliflower cous cous is a good substitution. Please see my recipe for Tabbouleh with Cauliflower Cous Cous for instructions on how to create this.

– Broth or stock may be substituted for any water in this recipe.

– Feta cheese will give the dish a saltier tangier flavor, with the mozzarella giving it a mellower flavor. Omit cheese for vegan version of this recipe.

– Just note: This recipe takes a lot of pots and pans! My apologies, in advance!

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 400°F.

2.) Add rinsed lentils and one cup of water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce for a simmer and cook for 25 – 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Drain any excess water and set aside.

3.) Lightly grease a baking sheet. Rub 2 tablespoons of olive oil on outsides and insides of halved bell peppers. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Once peppers are soft and slightly charred on the bottom, remove from oven. Set aside.

4.) While peppers are roasting, add one tablespoon olive oil to large sauté pan and warm over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 7 – 10 minutes or until soft and turning slightly brown. Add tomatoes, carrots, and garlic and cook for an additional 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

5.) Bring 1/4 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add cous cous, remove from heat, and cover for 5 minutes or until water has absorbed. Add cous cous to vegetable mixture and stir to combine. NOTE: If using cauliflower cous cous, follow directions from the linked recipe in lieu of these directions. Gently combine lentils and cheese (if using) with cous cous – vegetable mixture.

6.) Spoon mixture into roasted pepper halves. Top with cilantro. Serve while still warm.

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