Easy Recipe for Vegan Stuffed Peppers. Filled with tasty Italian flavors, plus protein rich quinoa and lentils for a hearty and delicious lunch, dinner or healthy meal prep idea.
This recipe has been updated from the original that was published on October 25, 2016
Vegan Stuffed Peppers are the perfect meal when you’re looking for some delicious and healthy comfort food. This satisfying, protein packed meal is going to be your new meatless bestie.
Roasted Bell Peppers are filled with an Italian spiced mixture of quinoa and lentils for the perfect plant-based meal that everyone will love.
You know I’m dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible and this simple stuffed pepper recipe with lentils is no exception. It’s also easy to make with pantry staples and is excellent for healthy meal prep.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- HEALTHY MEAL PREP: I love this recipe because it’s hearty, nutritionally dense, tasty and can be made in advance.
- PLANT-BASED PROTEIN: A great combination of ingredients combined for complete protein.
- EASY: Although the total time to make this recipe is 1 hour, the majority of that time is hands off. Yay, free time while dinner cooks in the oven.
- DELICIOUS: Not only is this super tasty, but your house will smell divine while it’s cooking!
- PERFECT FOR ENTERTAINING: no last minute prep in the kitchen,plus it presents beautifully and each pepper is its own tidy individual package of dinner.
- MEATLESS MONDAY: You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy this tasty meal.
- Bell peppers: More vitamin C than a cup of orange juice! Plus beta-carotene, fiber, potassium, and iron
- Diced tomatoes are loaded with powerful antioxidants.
- Quinoa is gluten-free, high in protein, fiber magnesium and iron. Quinoa is one of the few plants foods that contain all 9 essential amino acids.
- Lentils are low in calories, rich in iron and folate and an excellent source of protein.
- Ground Flax: A superfood that’s packed with fiber, omega 3s, B vitamins and antioxidants.
- Nutritional Yeast: Imparts a dairy-free cheesy flavor and it’s an excellent source of dietary fiber and B vitamins.
- Onions & Garlic: Major flavor boosters that are also antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and support the immune system.
- Italian seasoning: Yum! Plenty of flavor from oregano, thyme and basil.
How To Trim Bell Peppers for Stuffing
Bell peppers are easy to prepare for stuffing. I like to select peppers that are flat on the bottom. However, that’s not always possible. Especially, if you’re using peppers from your garden! That’s OK. Choose a casserole dish, dutch oven or cast iron pan that will fit your peppers snugly inside. They will hold each other up!
Use a sharp knife to cut 1/4″ off the top of the pepper. If it comes off in one beautiful piece, awesome! Save it to roast with the stuffed bottom. Otherwise, put it aside to chop and saute with the onions.
Once the top is off, use a small paring knife or your hands to gently scoop out the core, membranes and seeds.
Easy Italian Stuffing for Peppers
While the peppers bake in the oven for 20 minutes to soften, you’ll have plenty of time to make this simple and healthy stuffing. The stuffing is so easy and so good that I often make it to serve as a side dish.
Traditional Italian stuffing is made with breadcrumbs and cheese. I know that dairy-free can be delicious and I like to choose ingredients that that add both nutrition and taste. I found that ground flaxseeds and nutritional yeast are the perfect combination to impart a classic taste while also adding value.
Vegan Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa and Lentils
I didn’t grow up eating stuffed peppers. Stuffed cabbage, yes! But, I’m not sure my grandmother ever made a stuffed pepper. My mother in-law on the other hand…..they were a staple on her dinner rotation. Hubby often asks me to make stuffed peppers…..and by that, he means stuffed GREEN peppers with MEAT and rice (the way his Mom did).
I don’t particularly care for either, the green peppers, or the meat…..but I’m all about compromise, so I threw in a few green peppers to the rainbow I was making! Not exactly what hubby was looking for, but let me just tell you——-he so appreciated the fact that I bought GREEN peppers, he was willing to overlook the fact that these were meatless. He gave these vegan stuffed peppers a two thumbs up….so I know everyone will love them!
More Meatless Monday Dinners
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Vegan Stuffed Peppers Lentils
- 6 bell peppers
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil* divided
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 cup dry quinoa rinsed well
- ½ cup lentils rinsed well
- 1 large can 28 oz diced tomatoes
- 2 cups veggie broth
- ¼ cup ground flax seeds
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley or basil
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Prepare bell peppers by slicing 1/4" off the top and removing core and seeds. Save tops that look beautiful, and chop the rest to saute with the onions.
- Choose a cast iron dutch oven or ceramic or glass baking dish that will just fit the peppers snugly, so none tip over, and they hold each other up. Place the tops of peppers askew on top of them, so air can circulate into the peppers. Brush with 1 Tablespoon olive oil (or use vegetable broth) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 20 minutes, to soften, while you prepare the filling.
- Meanwhile, MAKE STUFFING: Heat remaining Tablespoon olive oil in large skillet over medium heat and sauté onions, and any chopped bell peppers until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add spices and garlic and stir continuously for 30 seconds, being careful not to burn the garlic. Mix in quinoa and lentils until coated with spices and then add tomatoes and 2 cups of veggie stock. Bring to a low simmer and let cook for 15 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat and then stir in nutritional yeast, ground flax and fresh herbs.
- You can refrigerate the mixture at this point if you’re not ready to stuff the peppers. Mixture can also be frozen for up to 3 months if you have extra or wanted to prep this dish in advance.
- Remove peppers from oven, but leave it on. When peppers are cool enough to handle, spoon quinoa mixture evenly into peppers. Sprinkle with additional nutritional yeast and fresh basil, if desired.
- Cover with lid of dutch oven and bake for 30 minutes, until peppers are soft and filing is piping hot. If using baking pan, cover with unbleached parchment and then aluminum foil before baking.
If possible, choose bell peppers with a flat bottom. Also, choose a pan that will just hold the peppers, so they fit in tightly and they will hold each other up while cooking.
Yes! The stuffing can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for 5 days or the freezer for 3 months. You can make the peppers fresh or you can make the entire recipe and then freeze in individual servings or any size that you prefer. Defrost the stuffed peppers in the refrigerator overnight and bring to room temperature before reheating in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes until heated through.
Any color will work well. The red peppers have the most nutrition and in my opinion the yellow and orange peppers are the sweetest. If you ask my husband, he will say hands down, green are the best. The best pepper for you is the one you have access to and the one YOU prefer.
It’s best to use green, brown or black lentils because they’ll hold their shape. Red and yellow split lentils tend to disintegrate and will become mushy in this recipe. I prefer the small black beluga or the small french green lentils for vegan stuffed peppers.
Any color quinoa will work well. I used white quinoa for the photos, which is the mildest and least crunchy. You can also use red or black quinoa or a combination of colors.