Lentil stuffed peppers are a high-fiber and high-protein vegetarian dish complete with orzo, carrots, diced tomatoes, feta cheese, and parsley. They're super flavorful and a great meatless dinner or make-ahead lunch option!
As someone who grew up eating stuffed peppers as a child, I was so excited to create a vegetarian version that was still high in protein and super delicious. Well, I finally did it! These stuffed peppers are SO TASTY!
I base the success of a recipe on whether or not my fiance approves - especially because he's such a skeptic when it comes to beans and lentils. And the verdict is - HE LOVED these vegetarian lentil stuffed peppers! I kid you not - he usually refuses to eat anything with lentils in it, but he ate every bite of these stuffed peppers. So now I can safely say even meat-lovers will LOVE this recipe. Phew!
Not only are these lentil stuffed peppers super flavorful, but they're really healthy and nutritious, too. Lentils and whole wheat orzo are both high in fiber and protein. Lentils have 15 grams of fiber and 13 grams of fiber in a ¼ cup serving and whole wheat orzo has 4 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein in a 2-ounce serving. I love the combination of a high-fiber and high-protein dish because it can keep you full and satiated for hours.
I also love stuffing these peppers with an added nutrient boost from the vegetables as well. Plus they infuse so much flavor. Win-win!
- Bell peppers: I used red bell peppers, but you can use any color. Green bell peppers might be a little less sweet, though.
- Orzo: I used whole wheat orzo for this recipe because it's higher in fiber than the refined variety (and it's just what I had on hand!) but you can substitute it with white orzo if you prefer.
- Green lentils: High in fiber and protein, chewy, and so flavorful when stewed with shallots, garlic, and veggies. I cooked them in vegetable broth for the added flavor, but you can also cook them in water.
- Carrots, shallots, garlic, and diced tomatoes: These veggies add a lot of flavor and a great texture to the lentils.
- Lemon or lime juice: A little bit of acidity to brighten up the dish.
- Feta cheese: I love adding feta cheese for a salty flavor to tie together the stuffed peppers.
- Parsley: Completely optional but fresh herbs are such a great finisher to any dish, and this one is no exception!
How to Make Lentil Stuffed Peppers
I feel like it's easiest to think of this recipe as being broken down into 4 parts: roasting the peppers, cooking the lentils, cooking the orzo, and stuffing the peppers (the most important part, right?!).
1. Roast the peppers: First, pre-heat the oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut your peppers in half length-wise (vertically). Remove the seeds and innards with your hands or a pairing knife.
Line up the peppers on the baking sheet, with the cut side facing up. Drizzle with olive oil and use your hands to rub the olive oil on both sides of the pepper halves. Sprinkle with salt. Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are slightly darkened but not burned. Remove from oven.
2. Cook the vegetables and lentils: While the peppers are roasting, prepare the veggies and lentils. Peel and dice the carrots, peel and mince the shallot and garlic. Heat olive oil in a medium-large pot. Add the minced shallot and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant (it smells delicious!). Stir in diced carrots and cook for 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for additional 30 seconds. Stir in diced tomatoes, lentils, and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until lentils are cooked and tender but not mushy. Remove from heat.
3. Cook the orzo: While the lentils cook, bring a small-medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain and place orzo in a large mixing bowl. Stir in olive oil.
4. Stuff the peppers: Add the lentil-vegetable mixture, feta cheese, and chopped parsley to the mixing bowl. Combine all of the ingredients. Season with salt to taste. Use a spoon to stuff the mixture evenly into each halved pepper. Garnish with parsley, serve, and enjoy!
Storage and Reheating
These lentil stuffed peppers are a great make-ahead meal. To store, simply place the stuffed peppers face-up in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. When ready to eat, enjoy them cold or reheat in a microwave or on a covered skillet until hot.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Don't overcook the garlic or it will burn and have a bitter taste. 30 seconds is really all you need for it to become fragrant.
- If the lentils absorb all the liquid and aren't fully cooked, add more liquid (water or vegetable broth) ¼ cup at a time until the lentils are completely cooked through.
Variations and Substitutions
- Make it vegan: To make this recipe vegan, simply omit the feta cheese.
- Make it gluten-free: To make these stuffed peppers gluten-free, substitute quinoa for the orzo. In a medium pot, combine ½ cup quinoa and 1 cup of water. Cook uncovered on medium-high heat until boiling. Once boiling, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Then, turn off the heat and cover the pot with a lid for 5 minutes. Fluff quinoa with a fork.
What to Serve with Lentil Stuffed Peppers
These lentil stuffed peppers are great on their own as a complete meal! They're high in fiber and protein from the vegetables, lentils, and orzo.
If you made this recipe, I’d love to see your creation! Don’t forget to snap a picture and tag me @thebalancedbite on Instagram. Follow along on Pinterest and Facebook for more healthy & tasty recipes!
More Healthy Vegetarian Dinner Recipes:
- Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash
- Mediterranean Sweet Potatoes with Vegan Tahini Dressing
- Vegetarian Enchiladas Verdes
- Creamy Hummus Pasta
- Quinoa Black Bean Avocado Salad
Lentil Stuffed Peppers with Orzo & Feta
- 4 large bell peppers, halved vertically, seeds and membranes removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 medium shallot, peeled and minced
- 1 cup minced carrots about 3-4 medium carrots
- 3 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
- ½ cup green lentils
- 1 - 1¼ cup vegetable broth or water
- ½ cup whole wheat orzo
- 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley more for garnish
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the halved bell peppers on the baking sheet, cut-side facing up. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over bell peppers and rub the oil over both sides of the peppers. Season with salt. Cook for 20-25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a medium pot. Add shallot and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add carrots and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Stir in diced tomatoes, lentils, and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. *
- While the lentils cook, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for about 8-10 minutes. Drain and move back to the pot. Stir in ½ tablespoon of oil and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine lentil and vegetable mixture with orzo. Stir in 1 tablespoon of oil oil, feta cheese, and chopped parsley. Season with salt to taste.
- Stuff each bell pepper half evenly with the mixture. Garnish with chopped parsley.
- Serve and enjoy!
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