Adding lentils to your diet is a great way to eat healthier. Lentils, like other legumes, are a great source of fiber and protein. Because of the protein content, lentils are a great substitute for meat and their hearty flavor and texture add depth to any dish.
For my Lentil Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Bell Peppers recipe, I decided to use lentils to replace the ground beef (or lamb, which is more traditional). The filling also includes Portobello mushrooms, which are full of flavor and add a great texture to the lentils. Mashed potatoes are spread on top and the mixture is then baked until cooked. Beef broth and Worcestershire sauce are also used to make savory gravy for the filling.
Serving the lentil filling inside bell peppers gives this dish a little more flair and also adds a little more vegetables to your diet. Enjoy!
Lentil Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Bell Peppers
Recipe by Christina Provo
4 green bell peppers
1 pound mini red potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/2 cup 1% milk, warmed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, finely chopped
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 3/4 cup cooked lentils
- Preheat oven to 375°. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; fill a large mixing bowl with very cold water and set aside. While water boils, prepare bell peppers by slicing off the tops and scooping out the seeds and veins with your hands. Level the bottoms if necessary so the peppers stand upright. Once water has come to a boil, place as many peppers as will fit in the pot and blanche for 2 minutes. Remove the peppers to the bowl of cold water. Repeat with remaining peppers if needed.
- Place the potatoes in another pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain, and then add back to the pot to allow excess moisture to evaporate. Mash in a large bowl. Stir in warmed milk, melted butter, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper until smooth. Cover and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. When warm, sauté carrot, onion, and garlic for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and sauté to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle flour on top of vegetables and cook for 3 minutes. Carefully pour in beef broth and Worcestershire sauce and stir until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a bubbling simmer and stir in lentils. Cook for 10-15 minutes until mixture thickens.
- Spray a 10-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Remove peppers from water and pat dry; place in dish. Divide lentil mixture evenly between peppers. Top with mashed potatoes, smoothing the sides. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake for 25 minutes or until tops are a light golden brown and peppers are tender.
About Guest Blogger Christina Provo:
I’m Christina Provo and my blog is She Runs, She Eats, which I’ve been writing for five years. I enjoy a variety of cuisines and the recipes that I create reflect this. I like creating memorable, tasty meals that are simple, but I also like to challenge myself by making more complex dishes as well.