Stuffed peppers! Yum! These peppers come as a result of having had some pretty bad experiences at banquets. It seems to be the standard vegetarian option to have a raw pepper stuffed with plain rice. No seasoning. No sauce. Nothing! I experienced this twice on different occasions in different banquet facilities and was so flabbergasted with disappointment that I decided to create my own recipe of what I expected a catering company to have provided. Now, I don’t like it when people toot their own horns but with the help of my family approving this recipe after I’ve made it many times over the years, I can provide a recipe I can be proud to share with you. Hopefully you find it as scrumptious as we do! It’s certainly better than a raw pepper stuffed with plain rice!
Start with any colour of pepper you prefer. An assortment of colours makes it even more visually appealing. When selecting peppers try to find ones that have even bottoms that will stand when in the dish and also ones that have a top that can be sliced evenly across. They will get soft when baking so for presentation you’ll want them to hold their shape rather than topple over although it doesn’t take away from the flavour if they do!
This recipe was calculated for 6 peppers. I use 1/2 cup of cooked rice per person then add in the seasonings. If you wish to reduce the amount you could do some math (divide by 6 then multiply by the number you need) or save the remaining stuffing for a side dish or lunch the next day. The lentils add additional plant based protein to the mix. I’m very generous with the herbs as I have lots growing in my garden but if all you have is dried then use that but reduce the amount accordingly as I stated in the recipe.
Stuffing the peppers are an elegant way to present this dish but if you want to save on time or have some peppers that aren’t in the best shape for standing upright you could just make it casserole style.
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers Two Ways
- 6 peppers (any colour)
- 3 cups cooked rice
- 1 carrot
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 onion
- 1 can lentils
- 3/4 cup fresh chopped oregano (3 tbsp dried)
- 1/4 cup fresh thyme (2 tsp dried)
- salt & pepper
- 1 L jar strained tomatoes
- 1 cup shredded cheese (if desired)
Method 1 Stuffed Peppers:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Slice the tops off the peppers, clean out the seeds, rinse with cold water and set aside.
- Dice the onion and chop the celery and carrot into approximately 1 cm pieces. In a pan set on medium heat add a little olive oil or water (about 1 tbsp). Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook until al dente (softened but with a slight crispness still) about 5 minutes.
- Add the lentils, rice, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper and strained tomatoes then stir. Place a lid on and cook until heated through stirring occasionally. About 10 minutes.
- Stuff the peppers with the filling and place their caps on. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until peppers are cooked through and the skin has started to brown and pull away from the flesh.
- Remove from oven. If using cheese, carefully remove the caps with tongs and sprinkle with cheese, it will melt from the sheer heat. Place the cap back on or propped to the side.
Method 2 Deconstructed stuffed pepper bake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Dice the peppers. Add to the bottom of a 13″x 9″ greased casserole dish.
- Layer the remaining ingredients finishing by pouring the tomato sauce over top. (omit cheese at this point if using) Cover with tin foil and bake for about 45 minutes. Remove cover and place cheese on top. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Enjoy life in the pink!