How The Veggie’s Do Meat Sauce (Lentil Chili Stuffed Peppers)

How The Veggie’s Do Meat Sauce (Lentil Chili Stuffed Peppers)

Friends tease me that I eat a lot of lentils, and it’s true, I do.  They just fit the bill for so many delicious recipes, and manage to replace meat and/or pasta in so many dishes without leaving me feeling like I’m eating a lesser substitute for the real thing. In fact, I more often than not crave the delicious taste of lentils.

Lentils, like  many other delicious, hearty grains, are full of fibre, complex carbs, protein and many vitamins and minerals, particularly the B vitamins which is a big deal for people with Celiac disease as the main source in most diets of these nutrients are in wheat products.

They come in a variety of colors – from black, to green, red, yellow and red. I personally like the split, red ones the best. They cook in no time at all, and have a slightly softer taste.

Because they cook in less than 10 minutes they are a staple in my diet, particularly since I often lose track of time during the day, until its 4:50 and I realize I’m hungry and it’s nearing supper.

I have used lentils many times in recipes. When I was first diagnosed Celiac I used them in a traditional spaghetti and meat sauce styled meal to replace the pasta, as I don’t love the taste of most gluten free pastas. As my diet changed and I started eating less and less meat and found gluten free pasta options  I did like, the lentils began replacing the meat sauce instead.

And what can I say? After that they took on meals of their own. Including a delicious, simple, chili inspired lentil sauce that can used with pasta, as a side dish, on toast, or on buns like a sloppy joe! (Hilarious sidenote: I was talking about sloppy joe’s earlier with someone, and my phone autocorrected to sloppy hoes.. Died. Laughing.)

I love all of those options with the leftovers, however lately? My fresh, go-to meal has been stuffed peppers. Quick + delicious + easy = winner! I was inspired by this chili post from a few years ago  for the flavoring and off it went!

Chili Inspired Lentil Sauce 

The recipe below made enough for 2 suppers (one stuffed pepper and one pasta) for myself while the husband was working late, so adjust accordingly.

What You Need:

  • 1/2 cup of lentils. I used, predictably, split red ones. If you go with a full sized lentil (green, yellow or black) you may want to soak them overnight to cut down on cooking time.
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of molasses (can so easily be omitted, or subbed in with a bit of brown sugar)
  • 1 full green pepper (or any color), top chopped off and insides scooped out, but kept intact (make sense? It’s going to be stuffed). Obviously you’ll want enough peppers for however many people you’re feeding. This recipe is good for 2, so if you’re making for 2 people, use 2 whole peppers
  • 1/2 cubed red pepper
  • 1/2 cubed orange pepper (or 2 red, or red/yellow, or yellow/orange etc)
  • 2-3 chopped carrots
  • Enough tomato sauce/paste to coat the lentils. I used about a cup I think.
  • Chopped onion (optional)

How You Do It:

  1. Heat the oven to 350
  2. Rinse the lentils by running water over them until it runs clear.
  3. Put the lentils on to boil. I generally use twice the amount of water as lentils, give or take. I tend to eyeball it, and basically fill my pot to about 1/2 inch over the lentils in a small pot.
  4. In a pot, heat the oil on medium
  5. Toss in the minced garlic
  6. Toss in the paprika, cumin, red pepper flakes and chili powder and stir for a couple minutes
  7. Toss in the onion and chopped peppers and stir for another couple minutes
  8. Toss in the lentils into the mix
  9. Add tomato sauce, add more if needed
  10. Fill the whole pepper to the pretty much the top
  11. Toss the whole pepper into the oven for 10-15 minutes

*You could add some cheese to the top of this mix for a little extra somethin’ somethin’.

IMG_3106

I know your first thought is, “Really, that fills you up?” But the truth is lentils are super filling. If you’re extra hungry like I was one night though, you could make a piece  of homemade garlic toast to slop up the insides..

IMG_3108

Does that not look delicious??  As you can see, it’s messy and is perfect for toast.

Make this one, I promise you’ll love it!

Also, I know! 2 food recipes 2 days in a row. I promised someone weeks ago I’d post this recipe, so I figured I better just do it before I get a scolding. Again.

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