Cut the bell pepper tops off, in line with where the middle of the core would be* (see note). Deseed and take out any membrane. The tops will be used as lids. Finely dice the membrane/core to combine this into the rice stuffing in step 4.
Over medium - high heat, dry toast pine nuts until golden brown. Set aside.
In a saucepan add oil, onion, carrot, garlic and sweat until the onion is translucent. Add lentils and stir through well. Add rice, sliced cilantro (coriander), mint, parsley, tomato and salt & pepper, combined well. Add water and cook until rice is parboiled, approx. 6 minutes. Do not open the lid for another 2 minutes.
Strain rice into a bowl and keep the leftover juice. Combine pine nuts and bell pepper membrane through the rice. Set both rice and juice aside.n
Whisk together tomato paste, olive oil, ground coriander, water (use leftover rice juice to make up the 2 cups, if more is needed use water), salt and pepper. Set aside.
Place the peppers (capsicum) snugly into a casserole dish. Fill them up with the filling leaving a 1cm gap from the rim to allow the rice to swell whilst baking.
Pour sauce into each bell pepper (capsicum) until it is just under the top of the rice. Pour the rest into the casserole dish. Ensuring it is at least 1cm (⅓") deep. If required top-up with a mixture of water and tomato paste. Place the lids onto each pepper.
Bake in a preheated oven 180C (360F) for 45-60 minutes, until rice and peppers are cooked. Allow the vegan stuffed peppers to sit for 10-15 minutes with the lid on before serving warm.
Cutting tops off capsicums is easily done by using a paring knife. Cut in line with where the core (seed pod) is, run the knife along the perimeter in a line and then push the paring knife into the core, gently tilt the knife until you hear the capsicum pop and you have a separated the lid from the base.Keep each lid with the body of the capsicum from which it was cut off, as it is the perfect match.Membrane from inside the bell peppers, including the core, once deseeded, can be finely chopped up and placed into the capsicum stuffing. It will build on the capsicum flavour.Capsicum stuffing should be loosely placed into each bell pepper and not compacted. This will ensure the rice will cook through.There should be a little gap between the filling and the rim of the capsicum to allow the filling to grow as the rice is only parboiled and will swell.Casserole dish should be tall enough to encase the bell peppers once stuffed and closed with their lids. The bell peppers should fit snugly into the dish, to avoid them toppling over. If there are gaps, I like to fill these with stuffed tomatoes as they are smaller and are a great complementary gap filler.The casserole dish should either have a lid or have the ability to be covered whilst baking.Placing sauce into the capsicums filled with stuffing will help to cook the rice. The leftover rice juice is important to use as part of the sauce as it contains loads of flavour.Filling the casserole dish with 1cm (⅓”) liquid will help build steam within the dish and not burn the bottom of each capsicum.Baking times will vary depending on your oven and the size of the capsicums. Check-in at the 45minute mark, if the capsicum is easily pierced and the rice is cooked, it is done. If not, allow it to bake further. This could take 60 minutes or so.Once cooked allow vegan stuffed bell peppers to sit for another 10-15minutes with the lid on before serving.Serve individually with some of the sauce from the bottom of the casserole dish.The leftover juice from a satisfying meal of vegan filfil mahshi is delicious and should be mopped up with some bread.*Shop for your healthy organic groceries at Thrive Market*.
N.B., nutrition info is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. This will vary based on the specific ingredients you use