Lentil-Stuffed Peppers

These hearty peppers were a huge hit at a recent dinner party I hosted, where several of my guests were decidedly apprehensive that I was serving a vegetarian meal.

Don’t let the Indian seasoning profile scare you either – the spices just give them a nice robust flavor, nothing that will taste “weird” or “foreign” to the typical American palette.

These peppers are very nice as a side dish if you’re serving meat. Or for a vegetarian meal, just add rice on the side and a fresh green salad!

This dish comes together very easily. Cook the seasonings in a skillet with oil, then add the lentils and water and cook the lentils. Meanwhile, lightly roast the peppers. Stuff the lentils in the peppers and bake.

2/3 c. red, brown or green lentils
4 T vegetable oil
4 medium green or red peppers
1/2 t ground cumin
2 onions, finely chopped – about 1 c
2 green chiles, seeded & chopped
1 1-in piece fresh gingerroot, grated (or 1/2 t ginger powder)
1 T ground coriander
1 1/4 c. water
2 T chopped cilantro

Rinse the lentils, then soak in cold water for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roast the peppers – under a broiler or by holding over the flame on your stovetop and rotating. Roast them just enough to blacken the skin slightly; if you over-cook them they’ll be hard to stuff.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and chiles and cook for 8 minutes, until onions start to soften and brown. Stir frequently to keep them from burning. Stir in the gingerroot, coriander and cumin.

Drain the lentils and add them to the skillet with the seasonings. Add the water, stir well and cover. Cook over low heat 15 to 20 minutes, until water is absorbed and lentils are soft. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in chopped cilantro.

Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Stuff peppers with the lentil mixture and replace the tops. Stand in a baking dish that’s a good size to keep the peppers from falling over. A loaf pan actually works well.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, just until peppers are soft.


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