Another Meatless Monday recipe coming in the shape of Tomato Basil Lentil Stuffed Peppers! Easy to make, minimal equipment, and just a few simple ingredients, these are a healthy take on comfort food. They’re filled with a creamy mixture of red lentils, spinach, onion, and garlic topped with freshly grated melty cheese.
Do stuffed vegetables strike you as fancy? Like the kind of dish that a well-dressed waiter would place in front of you at a posh affair where each setting has 3 forks and you have to figure out which to use when. (Work your way from the outside in. I guess that business school etiquette dinner wasn’t pointless after all.)
All I can think of is the scene in movies when someone wheels in a giant birthday cake and SURPRISE! There’s something inside it!
I’m not sure I’d be happy to have something hiding in my food that way, but stuffed peppers are another edible bowl meal, so I can get on board. I haven’t had one in forever, and the last time was admittedly tough to beat. Juicy and filled to the brim with perfectly spiced meat and rice. And the sauce. I would have licked my plate clean if I was at my own table.
When my friend ate one of these for lunch she actually did lick her plate with a huge smile on her face. Not even embarrassed to do it, which is the best compliment I could get. We can chalk it up to one heck of a good stuffed pepper.
These Tomato Basil Lentil Stuffed Peppers are pure good mood food. The kind that will make you lean back in your chair, loosen your belt, and sigh contentedly because you’re positively stuffed and not mad about it. If you’re shaking your head at my abysmal word games, then you need to focus more on the fact that you can have this in just 1 hour. Less if you were smart and saved one in the fridge and only need to pop it back in the oven to reheat.
People often ask me if I’m vegan or vegetarian (I’m not). Since most of my meals are more plant-based, though, I understand the confusion. This could have been a recipe that would rock the boat a bit and put meat in the stuffed peppers, except it’s not. I just like plants too much for that.
Instead these yellow peppers are brimming with a combo that reminds me of freshly baked Italian pizza. Red lentils create a soft base, full of fiber and protein. Then, we add in some sautéed onions, garlic, and spinach to bring in more colors. Stir it all together with a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce, couple dashes of spice, and you’re ready for stuffing.
It’s the edible version of Build-A-Bear, everyone’s favorite party favor.
Since Memorial Day is almost upon us, aka time to break out the grill, you’ll need some vegetarian friendly options. Enter these stuffed peppers from stage right. If you give me one of these, then you know I’ll be happy. I’ll bet you that even your omnivorous pals will be digging in, despite the burgers sizzling away nearby.
If you try this recipe, I’d love your feedback. Leave a comment below, save it on Pinterest, or tag #lensesandlentils on Instagram so that I can see your creations!
- ½ cup red lentils
- 2 yellow bell peppers
- 1 cup packed spinach, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp avocado oil, divided
- 3 tbsp tomato sauce
- ¾ tsp basil
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ⅛ - ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp cheddar cheese, divided
- Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Cut the top of each pepper off, approximately 1 inch of the way down. Remove the ribs and seeds. Next drizzle each with half a teaspoon of oil and rub it all over the peppers. Place in a shallow pan, cut-side down, and bake for 20 minutes. Take the tops out of the oven, but flip the bottoms of the peppers over and bake for 10 more minutes.
- While the peppers are cooking, bring the lentils and 1 cup water to a boil in a small pot. Then reduce flame to low, cover, and let cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lentils to a bowl immediately.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in the same pot and sauté the onion and garlic on low flame for about 7 minutes, until translucent. Add in the spinach and cook for about 3 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix together the lentils, sautéed vegetables, tomato sauce, and spices. Divide the mixture between each pepper, then gently place the top of the pepper on each one. Raise the temperature to 450ºF and top each stuffed pepper with cheddar cheese. Cook for 5 minutes.