Stuffed peppers like mom used to make, but these are vegan! These roasted bell peppers are filled with an Italian-spiced mix of lentils and rice, and topped with zesty marinara sauce. The perfect meal when you're looking for some healthy comfort food!
Begin by making the filling. Coat the bottom of a medium pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat.
When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and cook it for about 1 minute, until very fragrant.
Stir in the broth, rice, Worcestershire sauce, basil, thyme, fennel, and red pepper flakes. Raise the heat and bring the liquid to a boil.
Lower the heat until the liquid is just simmering. Cover the pot and allow the rice to simmer for about 40 minutes, until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
While the rice cooks, place the lentils in a small saucepan and cover them with a few inches of water.
Place the pot over high heat and bring the water to a boil.
Lower the heat and allow the water to boil until the lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. You can add more water during cooking if too much of it dries up.
While the rice and lentils simmer, begin preparing the peppers. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cut the top off of each pepper, removing the stem, then use your hands to scoop out the seeds and core.
Rub the outside of each pepper with olive oil, then place the peppers, cut side up, in a 9 x 9 inch baking dish.
Place the dish into the oven and bake the peppers until the skin just starts to blister, about 25 minutes.
When the lentils are done cooking, drain them in a colander and return them to the pot.
When the rice has finished cooking, allow the pot to sit with the lid on for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid from the rice and stir in the lentils and tomatoes. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
When the peppers have finished baking, remove the dish from the oven, but leave the oven on.
Spoon 2 cups of marinara sauce into the bottom of the pan, surrounding the peppers.
Spoon the filling into the peppers, mounding some on top if necessary.
Top each pepper with a spoonful of sauce.
Return the dish to the oven and bake the peppers for about 10 minutes more, until the sauce and fillings are hot.
Sprinkle with fresh basil or parsley, and divide the peppers onto plates. Serve.
If you're substituting canned or precooked lentils, you'll need 2 cups.
A note on serving size: this recipe makes 8 servings, but just 4 stuffed peppers. I initially intended it to be a 4 serving recipe (1 pepper per serving), but a half of a pepper plus salad left both my husband and I pretty full. If you've got a big appetite and/or aren't making any side dishes, this might be a 4 serving recipe for you. You may also be able to use smaller peppers and get 6 servings (1 pepper each).