Chef Folse's Lentil and Rice Stuffed Peppers

Prep Time: 2 Hours

Yields: 8 Servings


Lentils were one of the first crops domesticated in the Near East. Archeological evidence shows they were eaten over 10,000 years ago. Try this recipe for a unique spin on stuffed peppers.


8 bell peppers, rinsed, stemmed and seeded

2 cups dried lentils

1½ cups cooked rice

2 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup diced ham

1 cup diced onions

½ cup diced celery

½ cup diced bell peppers

2 tbsps minced garlic

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced mushrooms

salt and black pepper to taste

granulated garlic to taste

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with liquid

1 quart vegetable stock

1 cup chopped spinach

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

1 cup water


Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add ham and cook 2–3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add onions, celery, diced bell peppers and minced garlic and sauté 5–7 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Stir in carrots and mushrooms and cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season well with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Add diced tomatoes with liquid, stock and lentils. Cover and simmer 35–40 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally. Stir in cooked rice, spinach and ½ cup Cheddar cheese then remove from heat. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt, pepper and granulated garlic then fill each pepper with approximately 1 cup of lentil mixture. Arrange peppers in a large glass baking dish and pour water into bottom of dish. Cover with foil and bake 45–60 minutes or until peppers are tender. Remove foil and top each pepper evenly with remaining cheese. Return to oven and bake an additional 5–7 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and serve hot with your favorite marinara sauce.