Wednesday, July 6, 2011 | By: Rita Hutcheson-Cobbs

My version of Mediterranean Inspired Lentil Stuffed Peppers...

My version is a little different, but yet so yummy...

First I have to give credit to Jay, a 16 yr old ((WOW)) at The Vegan Foodie which has the complete recipe below along with a ton more amazing recipes, reviews that you will absolutely enjoy. So I encourage you to zip over and check out his blog. However, I did make a few changes to the recipe to use what I had on hand. So I made some notations in "(-)" within the recipe that I did, indeed, copy from his blog directly to my blog so that you could make this recipe too...Thanks, Jay, for helping this artist have a great meal ready for tomorrow night...I will make this recipe again...and I will try it in my Crockpot Sisters =)...Hugs...and here we go...Let's cook...

Ingredients
1 cup of lentils {Jay: I used plain old brown lentils, but you can use any lentils you have on hand} (Rita: I used a can of red kidney beans & a can of black beans, rinsed)
4 Bell Peppers (Rita: I used 5 peppers since that is how many I would be feeding for supper)
1 onion, chopped (Rita: chopped finely)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk of celery, cut into small pieces
1 small carrot , cut into small pieces
1 small zucchini, cut into small pieces
2 large tomatoes or 1 14 oz can of tomatoes (Rita: I used 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped finely)
2 cups or more spinach chopped or any other leafy green (Rita: I used a can of mixed greens, drained)
2 tablespoons olive oil (Rita: I used cooking spray and no olive oil at all)
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 cup vegetable broth (Rita: I did use broth)
half a lemon (Rita: I didn't use lemon)
Salt and Pepper to taste 
For the Lemon Panko Topping 
1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 tablespoon olive oil (Rita: I didn't use)
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
In a saucepan add the lentils and about 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. When it is boiling bring the heat down to a simmer. Simmer the lentils for 15 minutes, you don’t want them to go mushy so keep an eye on them. They should still retain their shape. After 15 minutes, drain the lentils and set them aside. (Rita: I didn't have to cook the lentils since they were already cooked.)
Meanwhile, cut 4 bell peppers in half, take the seeds out but leave the stem intact. Bring a pot of water to a boil. After the water is up to a boil, drop the peppers in the water and blanch them for 3-5 minutes. Immediately add them to a bowl of ice water. (Rita: I left my pepper whole and cut off the top and cleaned out the inside.)
Preheat oven to 375.
In a food processor, pulse the two tomatoes until they are chunky and their juices release. {Jay: Skip this step if you are using canned tomatoes.}  (Rita: I used fresh tomatoes and cut them up finely, adding them to the ingred that were in the skillet letting them cook down with the onions/garlic/celery/etc-see below what is done with them- and it worked great, but I had tomatoes I needed to use so I opted for that.)
Now time for the filling!  Heat a skillet over medium heat with two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Now, add the zucchini or any other vegetable you are using. Saute the zucchini for about 2 minutes. Now add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, and herbs. At this time season with salt and pepper. Cook the mixture for a few minutes. Now add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add the lentils and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the parsley and lemon juice. Re-season if necessary. 
Lightly oil a casserole dish. Place the peppers in the casserole dish. Now stuff them with the lentil mixture genoursly. Cover them with tin foil and bake them for 25-30 minutes. After 25-30 minutes take the tin foil out and sprinkle the peppers with the topping. Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes until the top is golden brown. That’s it! Let cool for a couple of minutes and serve with plenty of lemon slices!
For the Lemon Panko Topping
Heat a small pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the panko bread crumbs and thyme, cook for a few minutes until the panko bread crumbs are well coated. Now add the lemon zest and parsley, Season with salt and pepper. That’s it! ~ Jay, The Vegan Foodie 

Now, doesn't this sound wonderful!!! I am so excited about this meal... Also, a friend sent us some fresh squash so I have that in a crockpot and some potatoes in another. It will be a great supper tomorrow night and I can't wait! I have more time to create and enjoy and great supper with my family. It is so hot in Alabama and any meals I can prep in the cooler part of the evening the night before, it rockin' awesome!!

Love, Blessings, & {{{Hugs}}},
Rita
www.RitaHutchesonCobbs.com

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