When I first became a vegetarian, stuffed peppers were one of my favorite things to make. They're easy to prep ahead of time for busy weeknight meals and are usually packed full of plant protein and fiber from different legumes and grains.
I've tried several different versions over the years, like these Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers which I love, but with winter upon us I wanted to make something that would provide a little more warmth. Something you could eat curled up in your sweatpants with a blanket on the couch. Because that's pretty much all I feel like doing this time of year!
The beauty of this stuffed pepper soup is that it's made in one pot and you don't have to worry about taking the time to stuff each individual pepper. I went for more of a classic version using brown rice and lentils for protein alongside tomatoes, onion and dried herbs.
It's as simple as sauteing the onion with the garlic and bell peppers, adding the lentils along with dried oregano and thyme, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and vegetable broth, then letting everything boil for about 35 minutes or so.
While that's cooking you can clean up and prepare the rice. Trader Joe's sells packages of frozen organic brown rice which work perfectly for this recipe. Just three minutes in the microwave and it's ready to serve. You can't beat that with a stick!
Side note: I recommend adding a small amount of rice to each individual bowl as you eat it because adding it to the pot with the whole batch of soup will cause it to thicken, leaving barely any broth behind. Then it will be more like a stew than a soup, which isn't really what we're going for.
This stuffed pepper soup is the perfect meal for this time of year. It's easy to make, loaded with protein and fiber, and the vitamins and antioxidants will keep your immune system strong to help ward of winter sickness. Cheers to good food and a happy healthy new year!
- 1 cup uncooked brown lentils rinsed
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 red bell pepper cored and diced
- 1 green bell pepper cored and diced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 15-ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups water
- 10 ounces cooked brown rice optional
- Fresh parsley for serving optional
- In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the diced onion, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook for about 3 minutes, until translucent.
- Next, add the garlic, bell peppers and dried herbs, and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Pour in the can of diced tomatoes with their juices, tomato sauce, vegetable broth, water, and lentils, and stir everything together. Turn the heat to high to bring to a boil then reduce it to medium and cook for about 35 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.
- Serve the soup warm with fresh parsley and add brown rice as desired on top of the soup.