This Lentil and Beef Stuffed Peppers recipe makes for a hearty and delicious weeknight meal. It combines plant-based protein, ground beef, a homemade marinara sauce, and aromatic seasonings for a mouthwatering meal.

Half a yellow stuffed bell pepper topped with sauce and served over white rice.

This beef stuffed pepper recipe uses lentils to cut some of the meat from a meal and swap it for something that won’t affect the flavor and will give you the same heartiness, texture, and taste while soaking up all the beef flavor! It also makes it a budget-friendly dinner for a family.

These stuffed peppers are also great for meal prepping and freezing!

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Reasons to love this Stuffed Pepper loaded with Beef and Lentils

  • Healthy and nutritious: Lentils are a great source of plant-based protein and fiber, while beef adds a boost iron and other essential nutrients. The bell peppers also provide plenty of vitamins and antioxidants, making this dish a well-rounded and satisfying meal.
  • Flavorful and delicious: The lentil and beef filling is packed with savory flavors from the onions, garlic, and vegetables, and the scratch-made marinara sauce adds a tangy and slightly sweet note that complements the dish perfectly. The crunchy breadcrumbs and melted cheese on top add a wonderful texture and depth of flavor.
  • Easy to make: While the dish may seem complex, it’s actually quite simple to prepare. Most of the work involves chopping and sautéing the ingredients, stuffing the peppers, and baking them in the oven. The scratch-made marinara sauce can be whipped up quickly with pantry staples, and the breadcrumbs and cheese are a simple finishing touch.
  • Versatile: Lentil and beef stuffed peppers can be customized to suit your taste preferences and dietary restrictions. You can adjust the seasonings and veggies to your liking, use gluten-free breadcrumbs, or go dairy-free with vegan cheese if needed.
  • Perfect for meal prep: This dish is ideal for meal prep, as the stuffed peppers can be made ahead of time and reheated throughout the week. The leftovers also freeze well, so you can enjoy this delicious meal anytime you’re in the mood!
Large platter with halved bell peppers in a variety of colors filled with recipe and served over white rice.

Ingredients for stuffed peppers

  • Lentils: Dry lentils are used in this recipe and provide a great source of protein and fiber. You need one cup of dried lentils which equal about 2 cups cooked.
  • Ground beef: Half a pound of ground beef is used, which adds a meaty and savory flavor to the dish.
  • Bell peppers: Assorted colors of bell peppers are used as the edible container for the filling. They add a sweet and slightly tangy flavor to the dish, as well as a bright and colorful appearance.
  • Onion and garlic: These aromatic ingredients add depth and flavor to the beef and lentil mixture.
  • Soy sauce: Used as a seasoning in the beef and lentil mixture, soy sauce adds a salty and umami flavor.
  • Beef broth: Provides a rich and savory base for the beef and lentil mixture.
  • Tomato paste and crushed tomatoes: The base for the scratch-made marinara sauce, these canned tomatoes add a sweet and tangy flavor to the dish.
  • Sugar: Used to balance the acidity in the marinara sauce.
  • Bay leaf, oregano, and thyme: These herbs add a fresh and earthy flavor to the marinara sauce.
  • Breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese: Used to make the topping, these ingredients add a crunchy and cheesy texture to the dish.
  • Butter: Melted butter is mixed with the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese to help create the topping.

How to make hearty stuffed peppers without rice

Have you ever tried beef lentil stuffed peppers with homemade marinara sauce and breadcrumb topping? If not, here’s a simple recipe that’s sure to satisfy your cravings!

I like to start with the marinara sauce so it can build flavor while cooking the filling. Sauté minced garlic in olive oil until fragrant. Add tomato paste and sugar and cook until dark brown. Then, add crushed tomatoes, seasonings, and soy sauce. Allow to simmer while you prepare the remaining components.

Preheat your oven, cook the dry lentils according to the package instructions and set them aside.

Next, cook half a pound of ground beef over medium-high heat until browned. Add diced onions and minced garlic, and cook until the onions turn translucent. Mix in the cooked lentils, soy sauce, and beef broth, and let it cook for a few minutes until the liquid is absorbed.

Now, cut off the tops of four bell peppers, remove the seeds and membranes, and stuff them with the beef and lentil mixture. Add the marinara sauce to a baking dish and place the stuffed peppers on top of the sauce.

Finally, make the topping by mixing melted butter, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese in a bowl. Sprinkle it over the peppers.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the peppers are tender. Remove the foil and bake until the topping is golden brown.

Once they’re done, let the stuffed peppers cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy your delicious and hearty beef lentil stuffed peppers with homemade marinara sauce and breadcrumb topping!

4 stuffed peppers over white rice with different color bell peppers.

Expert Recipe Tips

Here are some recipe tips to help you make the best beef lentil stuffed peppers with scratch-made marinara sauce and breadcrumb topping:

  • Cook the lentils until they are just tender but not mushy. This will help them hold their shape in the stuffed peppers. Check out this quick tutorial on how to cook lentils.
  • Use a mixture of bell peppers in different colors to add variety and visual appeal to the dish.
  • For the beef and lentil mixture, make sure to cook the onions and garlic until they are soft and translucent, as this will help to bring out their flavors.
  • When stuffing the peppers, be sure to pack the filling in tightly to prevent the peppers from collapsing while cooking.
  • Make the marinara sauce from scratch for the best flavor. Let the sauce simmer for at least 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil for the first 30 minutes of cooking to prevent the topping from burning and to help cook the peppers. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes to allow the topping to brown.
  • Let the stuffed peppers cool for a few minutes before serving to prevent the filling from falling apart.

By following these tips, you can create a delicious and visually appealing dish that will impress your family and friends.

Large platter with halved bell peppers in a variety of colors filled with recipe and served over white rice.

Variations

Here are some variations to try with this beef lentil stuffed peppers recipe:

  • Vegetarian for the win: Substitute the ground beef with a meat alternative such as plant-based ground meat or chopped mushrooms.
  • Extra Cheesy, Please: Add shredded cheddar cheese to the beef and lentil mixture before stuffing the peppers.
  • Add some heat: Add some chopped jalapeno or red pepper flakes to the beef and lentil mixture for some added heat.
  • Add some Mediterranean flare: Use lamb instead of beef, and add some chopped sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese to the lentil mixture.
  • Festive Mexican flavors: Use ground turkey instead of beef, and add some chili powder and cumin to the lentil mixture. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped cilantro.
  • Stuffed zucchini option: Instead of stuffing the peppers, stuff hollowed-out zucchinis with the beef and lentil mixture.
  • Gluten-free: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or substitute the breadcrumbs with cooked quinoa or cooked rice.

These variations can help you customize the recipe to your personal tastes and dietary needs.

Substitutions

Here are some possible substitutions that can be made for this beef lentil stuffed peppers recipe:

  1. Lentils: You can substitute the lentils with other legumes, such as chickpeas or black beans. You can also use precooked canned lentils.
  2. Ground beef: If you prefer a leaner protein, you can use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can substitute the beef with plant-based ground meat, mushrooms, or tofu.
  3. Bell peppers: While assorted bell peppers are the classic choice for this recipe, you can use any type of bell pepper you prefer or even try using other types of peppers such as poblano or banana peppers.
  4. Soy sauce: You can substitute the soy sauce with tamari or liquid aminos for a gluten-free option.
  5. Beef broth: If you don’t have beef broth on hand, you can use chicken broth or vegetable broth instead.
  6. Tomato paste: Swap the tomato paste for ketchup or tomato sauce instead. Ketchup is sweeter so you may not need the added sugar for the sauce.
  7. Crushed tomatoes: You can use diced tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes and crush them with a potato masher or blender.
  8. Parmesan cheese: If you don’t have parmesan cheese, you can use any other type of hard cheese such as pecorino romano or asiago.

By making these substitutions, you can adjust the recipe to fit your taste preferences or dietary needs.

4 lentil and sausage stuffed peppers with melted cheese.

Beef lentil stuffed peppers with scratch-made marinara and breadcrumbs are a delicious and flavorful meal that is perfect for any occasion. This dish is packed with protein-rich lentils and savory ground beef, and the variety of spices and seasonings adds a unique and satisfying taste. Overall, it’s a tasty and satisfying meal that is sure to impress.

I hope you enjoy making this delicious Lentil Sausage Stuffed Pepper recipe! Let me know in the comments if you tried this recipe. Be sure to tag #ladleandgrain on Facebook and Instagram!

More Dinner Recipes

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Lentil Stuffed Peppers

Recipe by DiannaCourse: All Recipes, DinnerCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

50

minutes
Total time

1

hour 

10

minutes

Beef lentil stuffed peppers are topped with scratch-made marinara and parmesan breadcrumbs for a wholesome dinner.

Ingredients

  • Filling Mixture
  • 1 cup dry lentils, cooked

  • 1 lb ground beef

  • 1 medium onion, diced, divided

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 4 bell peppers, assorted colors

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 cup beef broth

  • Marinara Sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1/4 cup diced onions

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce

  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • Topping
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Beef Lentil Filling
  • In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat until browned. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the cooked lentils, soy sauce, and beef broth to the skillet with the beef mixture. Mix everything together and cook for a few minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Marinara Sauce
  • In a medium-sized saucepan, sauté the garlic in olive oil over medium heat until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and sugar and cook for a minute.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, basil, parsley, thyme, and soy sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer and let it cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Topping
  • mix the melted butter, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, and garlic powder in a bowl.
  • Assemble Stuffed Peppers
  • Cut off the tops of the bell peppers and remove the seeds and membranes. Stuff the peppers with the beef and lentil mixture and place them in a baking dish
  • Spoon the marinara sauce over the stuffed peppers in the baking dish. Sprinkle the cheesy breadcrumb topping over each one.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the topping is golden brown and the peppers are tender.

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