When I think of stuffed peppers, I’m reminded of the cheesy, tomato-and-beef-filled versions my mom made when I was a child. I didn’t fall in love with bell peppers until much later in life, so I used to dread those dinners. I would sprinkle on extra cheese and eat only the filling, leaving as much baked pepper behind as possible. Thankfully, my taste buds have matured and I now love bell peppers, especially the slightly smoky taste of roasted ones.
These lentil-stuffed peppers were inspired by my favorite Mediterranean salad, filled with Israeli couscous, lentils, roasted red pepper slices, olives, herbs and plenty of feta. For a lighter take on traditional stuffed peppers, I’ve roasted the peppers in the oven, then stuffed them with a simple lentil salad. Loaded with fiber and plant-based protein, these peppers are delicious and satisfying.
Yield: 4 servings (2 halves per serving)
1 cup brown or green lentils
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 cup minced white onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Israeli couscous
2 cups hot water
4 red peppers
¼ cup chopped Kalamata olives
½ cup crumbled feta, plus more for garnish (optional)
½ cup chopped basil, plus more for garnish (optional)
½ cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Add the lentils and vegetable broth to a medium saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low and cover. Cook for 30 minutes, until lentils are tender.
While the lentils are cooking, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a separate saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic for 5 minutes, until onion is translucent and tender. Stir in the couscous and cook, stirring often, for 1 to 2 minutes until toasted and golden brown. Add in the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until couscous is tender, about 12 minutes.
Halve the peppers and remove the seeds and membranes. Gently rub the remaining teaspoon of olive oil over the peppers and place on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes until peppers and tender.
Combine the cooked lentils and couscous in a large bowl along with the Kalamata olives, feta, basil, parsley, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.
Divide couscous mixture into each cooked pepper cavity, and garnish with extra feta and chopped basil.
Per serving: Calories 473; Fat 10 g (Saturated 4 g); Cholesterol 17 mg; Sodium 375 mg; Carbohydrate 73 g; Fiber 19 g; Sugars 6 g; Protein 24 g
Alex Caspero MA, RD, RYT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Yoga Teacher. She is the founder of Delish Knowledge, a resource for healthy, whole-food vegetarian recipes. In her private coaching practice, she helps individuals find their “Happy Weight.”