Stuffed bell peppers get a makeover in this unstuffed pepper casserole! Lentils, rice and a generous helping of vegetables get mixed together with tomato sauce to make this delicious and nourishing dinner. Ready in a flash thanks to the Instant Pot, Meatless Monday dinners don't get much better than this!
Thursday July 16, 2020
(3.67 stars from 3 reviews)
Carrots Celery Chili Powder Garlic Italian Spice Lentils Mozzarella Olive Oil Onions Peppers Rice Spinach
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If you want to add meat I would suggest adding a pound of either ground turkey or beef. You would simply add it in after the onion and garlic mixture has been cooked and brown it on the bottom of the pot, then continue with the rest of the steps. I'd suggest adding it in place of the lentils - but feel free to use both.
I can't speak for all people, of course, but I love my instant pot for many things for many reasons:
Absolutely yes! I am living proof of this. My husband is the one who wanted to get an instant pot about 5 years ago now. I literally told him not to get it, and that I wouldn't use it. Long story short, he got it anyway and we love it so much we now have two (and there are times I would like even more!).
I was initially a bit hesitant because we eat a lot of vegan and vegetarian foods in our house, and I didn't know how good it would be for that type of cooking. As it turns out, it is phenomenal at steaming vegetables, making rice, and doing lots of bean-based meals. So yes, if you are vegetarian and on the fence about the Instant Pot I definitely recommend it!
Yes - this is one of my favorite things about the Instant Pot! I can set it to cook and then walk away. There are lots of built in safety features that makes it so that I feel comfortable with this - it is meant to cook your food for you!
You should never attempt to open up an Instant Pot that is actively cooking food. It is only safe to open when the steam has all been vented, and the safety valve has dropped
Not all one pot stuffed pepper casseroles are healthy, but this one actually is very healthy! Brown rice, lentils, and lots of veggies make this dish hearty and nourishing, without skimping on flavor. I also find it keeps me full for a long time!
It looks like a lot of ingredients - but I promise it's worth it:
There are only a few simple steps to follow to make this Instant Pot stuffed bell pepper casserole:
Step one: Set Instant Pot to Saute mode, then add olive oil, followed by onion, garlic, carrots, and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes, or until onion is translucent and veggies are starting to soften.
Step two: Add then Italian spice, chili powder, rice, lentils, peppers, and water, and hot sauce and stir well, then layer on the tomato sauce and spinach, but do not stir. Tomatoes have a tendency to burn to the bottom of the pot, and so to prevent this it is important not to stir!
Step three: Put lid on instant pot, set valve to sealing, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes, with a 10 minute natural pressure release.
Step four: Remove lid and stir, the dish may seem quite saucy, but it will thicken as it cools and the rice absorbs more liquid. transfer to a casserole dish and top with cheese, then broil for 2-3 minutes, until cheese is golden and bubbly
Inside out peppers, unstuffed peppers, lazy stuffed peppers - call it what you want; these Instant Pot unstuffed peppers are the absolute best version of the classic stuffed pepper comfort food. As a bonus, this version happens to be vegetarian and healthy, but you'd never know it! I absolutely love using my instant pot to whip together some healthy weeknight dinners, and this one is no exception! Veggies, lentils and brown rice are smothered in an ever-so-slightly-spicy tomato sauce, and then topped with a generous amount of cheese just before serving. I love stuffed peppers, but I don't love all the prep that goes into them. Instant Pot stuffed pepper recipes are one of my favorite kinds of instant pot recipes because they honestly cut the time and effort in half!
You can - in fact this is how I originally developed this recipe. After using brown rice though I much prefer it because it holds its shape better and adds a bit more texture than white rice. Even if you don't normally like brown rice I would still encourage you to try it! If you absolutely want to use white rice, then it is easy enough to substitute:
Yes! I regularly freeze the leftovers from this casserole and I find they reheat really well. I usually just end up using the microwave to defrost for a quick lunch or dinner. If I'm feeling fancy I may top with extra cheese and let it bake again - but usually I don't have time or energy to do that!
Set Instant Pot to Saute mode. Add olive oil, onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until onion is translucent and veggies are starting to soften.
Add Italian spice, chili powder, rice, lentils, peppers, and water, and hot sauce and stir well.
Pour in tomato sauce, and then top with spinach - DO NOT STIR!
Put lid on instant pot, set valve to sealing, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes, with a 10 minute natural pressure release.
Release remaining pressure, remove lid, and transfer to a casserole dish. Spread cheese on top and broil 2-3 minutes, or until bubbly and browned. Top with basil if using, serve warm.