Cuban-Style Vegan Picadillo Stuffed Peppers. This vegan picadillo is a plant-based meal made Cuban-style with lentils, spices, onions, garlic, tomatoes, olives then stuffed in bell peppers. Perfect weeknight dinner!
I really enjoy finding new ways to enjoy the flavors of my childhood while keeping things healthy.
In this case, picadillo goes vegan!
I’m glad you asked.
Picadillo [pee-ca-dee-yo] is a classic Cuban dish made of ground beef, tomato sauce, raisins, olives, and lots of spices. This ground meat masterpiece is usually served over white rice. And really, it’s the easiest dish to make on a weeknight. We had it often in my house and even enjoyed it the next day as leftovers.
With that in mind, I wanted to find a plant-based alternative to make when you either don’t have ground beef/turkey on hand or are looking for a vegetarian/vegan option.
Guys, trust me, I was skeptical. I come from a Cuban family. We eat VERY indulgent, flavorful meals. The thought of bland chicken breast and boring salads make me sad af. The idea of picadillo made of lentils was weird but honestly, flavor was on point. I was SO impressed with this dish.
This lentil picadillo tasted JUST like beef picadillo. The lentils add an earthy touch but the tomato based with spices, onions, garlic, and olives are just the cherry on top. It’s SO good plus lentils are also good for you. It’s a win/win!
I know mami would be proud of me. <3
How to Make Vegan Picadillo
Once you make the lentils (super easy, stove top, 20 minutes), you grab a skillet and make the actual picadillo. Follow the directions below exactly as written. Stuff the peppers with the mixture and place the peppers in the oven for about 15 minutes. You can also make them for the week and serve them with a simple salad.
P.S. you don’t have to add raisins. I don’t. Not a fan. But authentic picadillo does have raisins so add them, if you wish. It adds a little bit of sweetness to this super savory meal.
I can’t say anymore good things about these vegan picadillo stuffed peppers. They are the real deal. I can’t wait for you guys to try them!
I hope you make them and LOVE them!
- 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups cooked lentils
- 4 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 small tomato, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons green olives, cut in half
- 1/2 cup raisins, optional
- 3 bell peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a skillet, sauté onion, green pepper, and garlic at medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add cooked lentils, tomato sauce, chopped tomato, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in olives and raisins, if using. Remove from heat.
- Add picadillo evenly into each bell pepper then transfer into a baking dish. Add 1 cup of water to the baking dish then cover with aluminum foil. Bake stuffed bell peppers for 15-20 until the peppers are tender. Serve immediately. Enjoy!