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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Breakfast Bake

Potato & Pepper Breakfast Bake for One

On my Instagram account a few days back, I posed a question to some of my followers in which I asked what I should put for my second blog post. A vast majority wanted me to post a recipe for Brown Butter Cinnamon Rice Krispie Treats. This guy I know pretty well, Adam*, makes some pretty spectacular ones, loved by my friends, roommates, family, and co-workers alike.

…then the perfectionist in me didn’t like any of the photos I had taken of them in prior weeks and will wait until I’m blessed with better natural lighting.

Still, would y’all really complain if I decided to put a shredded potato, red bell peppers, and a baked egg in a cast iron skillet, would ya?

breakfast bake

Didn’t think so.

A few weeks ago, I had some of my close foodie friends over for a small brunch at my apartment. Though my brunch preferences always lean towards the side of French toasts and pancakes, I knew I was baking for fans of savory brunch bites and connoisseurs of Yolk Porn. I am a big fan of cast iron skillets, if I may sound like a somewhat typical food blogger AND a Millennial female. *sigh* But really, who doesn’t love cooking ware that can go straight from stove top to the oven? It saves me time and dishes! I found a recipe online for a cast iron skillet-cooked breakfast bake, and it’s hard to go wrong with a carb, vegetable, and protein cooked together in one felt swoop. It was a hit among my friends, even if I did overcook the yolks.** I found myself craving it again in the weeks after this brunch, but didn’t want to whip out a 13″ skillet just for myself. Thank you, Lodge, for the creation of your 8″ cast iron skillet. You know how to make a girl happy.

breakfast bake

* – He’s been stalking me pretty consistently for almost three years now. I’ve just given up. After all, he loves washing my dishes after I cook.

** – I hope my friends have forgiven me. If they haven’t, they’ve done a great job hiding their deep-seated animosity.

Potato & Pepper Breakfast Bake for One

Ingredients:
– 1 Russet Potato, scrubbed and eyes removed
– 1 tablespoon butter
– 1 red bell pepper, diced
– 1 small white onion, diced
– 1 egg
– 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
– 2 garlic cloves, minced
– Salt and pepper, to taste
– Chopped cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)
.

Before We Get Started…

– Preheat oven to 350 °F.
– This dish will work best as noted in an 8″ – 9″ cast iron skillet. Should you not have one, modify as follows: Complete Step #2 in a non-stick skillet. Add contents of the skillet to a lightly greased 8″ x 8″ baking pan. Continue with Step #3.

Directions:

1.) Shred potato and add to a large bowl; add enough cold water to cover. Let stand 5 minutes; drain and pat dry.

2.) Melt butter with oil over medium heat. Add pepper and onion, sautéing for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and sauté for an additional two minutes. Stir in potatoes and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.

3.) Remove skillet from heat. Use the back of a spoon to make an indentation in the potato and pepper mixture; crack the egg into this indentation.

4.) Move skillet to oven and bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until eggs are set.* Serve immediately!

* – Baking for 20 minutes will get you a very hard yolk and delightfully crispy potatoes, if that’s your thing. For me, you’re damn straight it is!