Halloween is near, which means you’re going to need some real-food meals to fill you up and save you from the candy temptations all around. This fun jack-o-lantern lentil stuffed bell pepper recipe is brought to you by Heather Crosby, author of the brand-new gluten-free and plant-powerful cookbook YumUniverse.
Stuffed Pepper Recipe
Tools You’ll Need:
- X-Acto knife or sharp paring knife
- Chef’s knife
- Unbleached parchment paper
- Large glass baking dish
- 1 cup dry lentils
- 7-8 large bell peppers (you can choose any color you like)
- 1 tsp unrefined coconut oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, diced small
- 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- 1 medium tomato, seeds removed and diced
- 1 tsp fennel seed, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped fine
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (feel free to add more to taste if you like more heat, or leave it out if the kiddos aren’t a fan)
- 2 tsp fine ground sea salt, or more to taste
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper, or more to taste
- 1/4 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
- Soak dry lentils in a bowl filled with pure water overnight.
- Rinse lentils and prepare them according to the instructions in this post. While they cook, wash and dry your peppers. Set aside 1 pepper for dicing/filling—remove seeds and ribs from this pepper.
- Using X-Acto blade, slice off the top of the first pepper. Twist and lift off the top and carefully remove the seeds and ribs. Then carve the eyes and mouth, and repeat with all of the peppers. Put aside.
- Prepare corn kernels, diced pepper, onion, zucchini and tomato. Prepare your herbs and garlic.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place coconut oil in skillet, and sauté onion and pepper for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and cook for another 4 minutes. Add tomato and corn and cook for 3 minutes.
- Stir in remaining ingredients, including cooked lentils. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon mixture into the peppers and fill to the brim.
- Place lids back on peppers and place them into a glass baking dish lined with unbleached parchment paper.
- Bake for for 25 minutes.
- Serve, smile and enjoy!
Store leftovers in a covered dish in the fridge. Reheat in the oven at 300°F until warm—about 10 to 15 minutes.
Adaptations & Tips:
- You could easily sneak some kale into this recipe. Just remove stems and chop about 3 large leaves and fold into veggies and lentils at the very end. Then scoop onto peppers and bake.
- This recipe is delicious with added cooked quinoa or buckwheat—you can also use these ingredients instead of lentils in equal amounts.
- You can always prepare these for dinner beyond Halloween. Try with green or red peppers, too—may be fun for Christmas with that color scheme.
Heather Crosby is a T. Colin Campbell Foundation certified plant-powerful wellness coach who has developed a unique and well-loved collection of over 500 gluten-free, plant-based recipes on her popular website YumUniverse.com and in her cookbook, YumUniverse: Infinite Possibilities for a Gluten-Free, Plant-Powerful, Whole-Food Lifestyle.