Easy Stuffed Peppers


Here's an easy way to incorporate plant-based products! We like to cook large batches of fiber/protein rich products every week,  like lentils, quinoa or even chickpea rice. Then, we combine them with whatever meals we make during the week. My family is not fully vegan, so this option works perfectly for me to introduce (and re-introduce) plant-based foods. 

I love that lentils cook quickly, are full of fiber, protein, low fat, great for lowering cholesterol, help your heart and stabilize blood sugar!🤩 And, they are neutral in taste and absorb flavors of whatever spices, so they’re a great healthy option to add to any recipe...(even cookies! 😋Check out my Lentil cookie recipe - my girls inhaled these!)

Serving Size:   4-6         Prep Time:   30 minutes        Cook Time45-50 minutes 

💚VEGAN    💚GLUTEN FREE    💚MILK FREE   💚OIL FREE

Ingredients

  • 8 servings (100 grams, dry) of cooked lentils al dente (see Tips)
  • 8 oz cooked and seasoned meat substitute (see Tips)
  • 4 large bell peppers, any color
  • 1/2 c diced celery
  • 1/2 c diced carrots 
  • 1/2 c diced onion
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 c Nutritional Yeast
  • 4-6 thinly sliced/shredded vegan smoked gouda cheese (I used Follow Your Heart)
  • 1/4 c low sodium vegetable broth, + 3-5 TB or more

       Optional veggie add ins:

  • Mushrooms, sliced
  • Chopped broccoli florets
  • Other veggies of choice 

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut the tops off the peppers. Remove and discard the stems, then finely chop the tops; set aside. Scoop out the seeds and as much of the membrane as you can. Place the peppers cut-side up in a baking dish just large enough to hold them upright.
  3. In medium skillet, add TBs of vegetable broth and add diced veggies including chopped bell pepper tops until softened and onions become translucent. This is a time to add any other veggie add-ins. 
  4. Add in meat substitute, lentils, and stir on low until combined evenly. Season with crushed red pepper, salt and pepper as desired.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in nutritional yeast and half of sliced/shredded smoked gouda. 
  6. Fill peppers and sprinkle remaining smoked gouda on top. You can also add more nutritional yeast, if desired. See tips.
  7. Fill baking dish with 1/4 c of vegetable broth to keep the peppers from drying out (you can also substitute water).  
  8. Bake 30 minutes, covered. Then uncover, and bake 15-20 more minutes until the peppers have softened and cheese is melty. 
  9. Serve hot and enjoy! Keep leftovers in fridge for consumption within 5-7 days. 

Tips

- Cook lentils about 10 minutes less than directions. You can lightly season lentils if desired, but remember you can always add seasoning entire mix prior to filling peppers.

- Meat substitute should be drained after cooking (I place on a paper towel to absorb excess oil). You can also use all lentils or replace and mix with just veggies, quinoa or rice. 

- If you're not a fan of smokey flavors, replace smoked gouda with any other of your favorite vegan cheese shreds.

NOTE: If you still incorporate meat and/or dairy in your plant-based lifestyle, you can use ground beef or turkey and use regular dairy cheese. Nutritional yeast is the vegan version of parmesan cheese.