Here’s an easy, healthy meal idea: Stuffed Peppers. You can stuff a pepper with all sorts of stuff, but I stuffed them with this stuff: more veggies, some lentils, and a few other ingredients. This version happens to be vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, but most of all, delicious.
This recipe calls for 10 bell peppers, which was how many I could fit in my dutch oven. Feel free to halve the recipe, or, I don’t know, double it, if your dutch oven is ginormous.
I planned on buying the cheapest color of bell pepper, but lucky me – the store I went to had all colors on sale for the same price! The green ones were long and skinny – not ideal for stuffing – so I stuck to red, orange, and yellow. First up: making the stuffing. Wrong. First up: pre-heat the oven to 350. Then make the stuffing.
I chopped up lots of veggies: one red onion…
…one eggplant (I kept the skin on for some color, but you could peel it, I suppose)…
…and one pound of portabello mushroom caps.
They all went into a big bowl, and I added:
- 2 cups cooked lentils (I cooked them the night before, following the instructions on the bag)
- generous sprinkling of garlic powder
- less generous pinch of cayenne pepper
- dash of regular pepper and salt
- 2 cups of store-bought tomato soup
Stuffing was ready to go!
I cut the tops off the peppers, and removed the seeds and ribs from the inside, creating the perfect vessel for the stuffing.
I lined up the peppers as I prepped them, so I didn’t mix up which top went with which bottom.
Then it was stuffing time! I wasn’t delicate about it. I filled each pepper up, smooshed the filling down into the pepper, and added more. I crammed in as much as possible.
It worked out well. I had about a 1/2 cup of filling leftover, and I split it up and jammed it into a couple peppers. The caps went back on the peppers, and I secured each one with two toothpicks. All the peppers went into the dutch oven, and then I filled the dutch oven half-full with tomato soup, until the peppers were half-submerged in it, creating a flavorful bath that would help with the cooking. I ended up needing two 32-ounce boxes of soup (minus the two cups that got mixed into the filling).
Into the oven! I thought it would take about an hour, but it ended up taking more like an hour and a half. It would take less time if you make a smaller batch. You want the peppers to be tender, and the veggies inside fully cooked.
It smelled so good when I took them out of the oven and removed the lid!
What a colorful meal! The peppers held together, and they were easy to scoop out and plate.
A few friends came over for dinner, and I served these with a simple lemon and carrot brown rice side dish – I’m sharing that recipe in my next post.
The vegetables were tender, as was the pepper, and the cayenne provided a nice little kick, but not too much.
The whole meal was very flavorful, filling, and seemed indulgent and special – there’s a nice wow factor to a stuffed pepper that you don’t get with a simple stir-fry or something, which you could easily do with these ingredients.
Best of all, it’s a completely guilt-free meal, and I had lots of leftover peppers, and that’s never a bad thing!
Keep it up, David!