The filling for these peppers has a Moroccan/Middle Eastern flavor profile. They include no meat but carnivores will relish these for the combination of spices, mushrooms and lentils alone. They are extraordinarily easy to prepare.
4 bell peppers – choose your preference
1 cup of cooked lentils (see note)
½ LB of button mushrooms – chopped somewhat small
1 medium onion – finely chopped
½ TSP ground cumin
½ TSP ground Aleppo pepper
½ TSP ground coriander
¼ TSP cinnamon
½ cup of chopped mint
½ cup of chopped parsley
½ cup of chopped dates
½ cup of toasted pine nuts
½ cup of finely crumbled feta cheese
1 TBSP lemon zest and juice
2 TBSP EVOO
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
PREHEAT OVEN TO 375F
Cut the top of the peppers, reserving them for presentation. Cut a shallow cut on their bottoms so they stand up right. Remove the cores and membranes.
In a medium skillet, heat up some olive oil and sweat the onions. Add cumin, coriander, cinnamon, Aleppo pepper, salt and fresh cracked pepper. After they are somewhat transparent add the sliced mushrooms and cook until softened. Set aside and cool.
Place the cooked lentils in a bowl and add the mushrooms. Incorporate the chopped dates, mint, parsley, pine nuts, feta cheese, lemon zest and juice. Mix well checking for seasonings.
Stuff the peppers and place them in an ovenproof casserole, standing upright. Bake until the peppers are tender pierced with a wooden skewer, about 30-35 minutes. Don’t allow them to get two wrinkled.
The use of the prepared, vacuumed sealed steamed lentils sold at Trader Joe’s are perfect for this dish. They are a little firm and they will get softer as they cook inside the bell pepper. Another addition that also works as well with these peppers is mixing some cooked couscous, into the filling.