LENTIL STUFFED MINI PEPPERS: A tasty appetizer or side-dish. They’re easy to make, perfect for meal prep, Vegan, gluten-free and nutrient dense.
The struggle to come up with options that are healthy, simple to make and tasty too is real. Throw in a couple of picky or allergy restricted eaters and you have a recipe for frustration. The number one request I get from clients, workshop students and friends: healthy dinner or appetizer options that are delicious and use wholesome ingredients. This recipe for lentil stuffed mini peppers works well in either scenario. I know this recipe will come in handy for the busy spring season ahead. Stuffed mini peppers are ideal for appetizers, snacks or side dishes. Full sized bell peppers can be used for meal sized portions. The filling is easy to make, delicious and satisfying.
LENTIL STUFFED MINI PEPPERS ARE IDEAL FOR:
- Fun Party Food
- Meal Prep. Make all or part ahead of time.
- Healthy Bite Sized Snacks
- Graduation Parties
- Healthy side dish
- Festive Appetizers
DO I NEED TO PRE-COOK THE PEPPERS?
It’s not necessary, but it makes sense. Prep the peppers, drizzle with olive oil S+ P and get the cooking process started while you make the stuffing. Then, when the stuffing is ready, you can fill the partially cooked peppers and the baking time will be substantially reduced.
CAN I MAKE THESE WITH FULL SIZED PEPPERS AS A MAIN MEAL?
Yes! Of course. They are awesome as a meatless Monday main meal. They’re low in calories yet rich in protein, fiber, iron, Vitamin C, and potassium. You could add a simple side salad to get in some leafy greens for a nutritionally powerful meal.
Follow the directions for the mini peppers, adding 10 minutes to the cooking time for the peppers when not filled and then add an additional 10 minutes to the cooking time while stuffed. Add an additional 10 minutes if peppers aren’t soft when checked with a fork.
I had about twice the stuffing I needed for this recipe.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVER STUFFING?
- Scoop on top of greens for an awesome vegan taco salad
- Heat and serve over sprialized zucchini for some spaghetti and “meat” sauce.
- Ladle over spaghetti squash.
- Place in a bowl, surrounded by tortilla chips or crudites for a nutrient dense dip.
- Freeze to use another time…and turn into stuffed zucchini boats.
The search for more simple recipes that use wholesome ingredients and are tasty is never ending. This recipe checks off all the boxes for me: nutrient dense, tasty, easy to make and beautiful presentation. Heading to a pot-luck, a graduation party, or having a few friends over for appetizers and drinks? This is a recipe you’ll be proud to walk in with. Let me know in the comments what you served these for and how everyone loved them!
- 1 cup dry lentils
- 3 cups water
- 1 lb. mini sweet peppers
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
- 1 12 oz. package frozen cauli rice (approx. 3 cups fresh)
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon coarse ground sea salt
- **If you like a bit of heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper
- 16 oz. jar prepared salsa.
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- 2 Tablespoons hemp seeds
HOW TO COOK DRIED LENTILS
- Before cooking lentils, rinse in cold water, pick over to remove debris and drain.
- It is not necessary to soak lentils before cooking, but you can to reduce cooking time by about half if you do.
- Combine lentils and 3x their volume in water in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and adjust heat to maintain a low simmer.
- Cook until lentils are tender, approx. 15 minutes. Drain any liquid that wasn’t absorbed during cooking.
TO MAKE STUFFED PEPPERS:
- Preheat oven to 400. Line baking tray with unbleached parchment paper.
- Make the lentils. See above for directions. This can be done up to several days in advance.
- Prepare peppers: cut in half, through the stem. Remove seeds and ribs. Removing stems is optional: I like to leave the stems on for presentation. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with S+P and place cut side up on prepared pan and cook for 20 minutes until beginning to soften.
- Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing: heat heavy bottom skillet over medium heat. Swirl in oil and then add onion. Cook until it starts to soften, approx. 3 minutes. Add the spices, garlic and cook, stirring for 30 seconds, so garlic is fragrant but doesn’t burn. Then stir in the lentils, cauli-rice and corn. Add the salsa and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2-3 minutes as flavors begin to marinate.
- Scoop stuffing into each pepper, fill to heaping. The easiest way to do this with the mini peppers is to use two teaspoons (the way you would for dropping chocolate chip cookies) and scoop with one and use the back of the other to push what's in the first spoon into the mini pepper. Sprinkle with cilantro and hemp seeds if desired. Turn heat down to 350 and bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned and filling is hot.
Amount Per Serving Calories 799 Total Fat 26g Saturated Fat 3g Sodium 5264mg Carbohydrates 118g Sugar 26g Protein 38g
HOW TO MAKE LENTIL STUFFED MINI PEPPERS AS A FREEZER MEAL
- Prepare up to step 4. Stuff the peppers, but don’t bake.
- Make sure peppers have completely cooled. Place in a glass dish with air tight seal and then cover tightly. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely when ready to use and then bake as directed above in step 5.
- If you’ve already cooked the peppers and realize you have too many and want to freeze, no problem. Follow the notes from the step above, reducing the cooking time slightly, making sure they are fully heated through.
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