Stuffed Green Pepper with Spanish Rice and Lentils

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD
Published September 3, 2023

This easy to make meal is packed with protein and comes in its own bowl.

This dish brings together the hearty goodness of lentils, the earthy flavors of brown rice, and a medley of Spanish-inspired spices. We're taking the familiar stuffed pepper and giving it a twist that's sure to excite your taste buds. 

From diced bell peppers to sautéed aromatics, we're diving into a straightforward yet delicious creation that promises to satisfy both your hunger and your love for robust flavors. Join us as we guide you through the steps of preparing a hearty and comforting meal that's as satisfying as it is nutritious.

Colorful Bell Peppers: Diabetes-Friendly Nutrition in Every Hue!

Bell peppers, whether red, orange, or green, offer a colorful array of nutrients that contribute to a balanced diet. These crunchy vegetables are a fantastic source of vitamin C, which supports your immune system and aids in skin health. T

They also provide a significant amount of vitamin A, crucial for maintaining healthy vision, and vitamin B6, which supports metabolism and brain function. Additionally, bell peppers contain dietary fiber, aiding in digestion and helping to regulate blood glucose levels.

For those living with diabetes, bell peppers can be a valuable addition to the diet due to their low glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL). The GI measures how quickly a food raises blood glucose levels, and bell peppers have a low impact on blood glucose due to their minimal carbohydrate content. Their low GL further supports their suitability for diabetes management, as it considers both the quantity and quality of carbohydrates.

While the colors of bell peppers—red, orange, and green—may seem primarily aesthetic, they do indicate certain differences in their nutritional content. The most notable disparity lies in their vitamin and antioxidant profiles. 

Red bell peppers, for instance, are richer in vitamin A and vitamin C compared to their green counterparts. This higher vitamin content contributes to their vibrant hue and enhanced nutritional value. 

Similarly, orange bell peppers also have increased levels of these vitamins, although slightly lower than red peppers. Green bell peppers, while containing notable vitamins themselves, generally have a milder nutritional profile compared to their more colorful counterparts.

Incorporating a variety of bell pepper colors into your meals not only adds visual appeal but also ensures a diverse intake of essential nutrients. Whether red, orange, or green, these vegetables offer a valuable combination of vitamins, minerals, and fiber that align well with a diabetes-friendly diet.

Green Lentils: Plant-Powered Nutrition for Stable Blood Glucose!

Green lentils, cherished for their versatility and plant-based protein content, pack a nutrient punch that makes them a valuable addition to various diets. These legumes are a superb source of dietary fiber, aiding in digestion and promoting satiety. They also offer a significant amount of plant-based protein, which supports muscle health and overall well-being.

For those living with diabetes, green lentils can be a beneficial choice due to their moderate glycemic index (GI) and favorable glycemic load (GL). The GI measures how quickly a food raises blood glucose levels, and green lentils have a relatively modest impact on blood glucose due to their rich fiber content. 

The fiber in lentils helps slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, contributing to better blood glucose management. Their glycemic load, which accounts for both the quantity and quality of carbohydrates, is also favorable, further supporting their suitability for diabetes management.

Green lentils also bring a host of essential vitamins and minerals to the table. They're particularly rich in folate, a B-vitamin important for cell division and overall health. Additionally, lentils provide iron, which is crucial for oxygen transport in the body, and magnesium, which supports various physiological functions.

Incorporating green lentils into your meals offers a dual benefit of plant-based protein and fiber, helping to maintain stable blood glucose levels and providing sustained energy.

Garlic: Flavorful Ally with Hidden Health Benefits for Diabetes Management!

Garlic, renowned for its distinctive flavor and aromatic properties, offers more than just culinary allure. These pungent bulbs contain a notable amount of vitamin C, contributing to immune system support and skin health. Additionally, garlic provides trace amounts of minerals like manganese and selenium, which play roles in various bodily functions.

For those with diabetes, garlic can offer potential benefits beyond its flavorful appeal. Garlic's glycemic index (GI) is virtually negligible since it contains minimal carbohydrates, which means it has little to no direct impact on blood glucose levels. 

Moreover, garlic may hold potential in supporting blood sugar regulation. Some studies suggest that compounds found in garlic, such as allicin, may have positive effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism, although further research is needed to fully establish these benefits.

Beyond its potential impact on blood glucose, garlic has been associated with other health benefits. It may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which are valuable for overall well-being. Additionally, garlic has been linked to cardiovascular health, as it may help manage cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Incorporating garlic into your meals can provide flavor and potential health benefits for individuals with diabetes. Whether in cooked dishes, dressings, or sauces, garlic can enhance the taste of your meals while offering a range of potential advantages for your health.

Stuffed Green Pepper with Spanish Rice and Lentils

Beverly Verwey
Servings 2 people
Calories 416 kcal


  • 1 medium orange or yellow bell pepper diced
  • 2 medium green peppers with tops cut off, and deseeded
  • 1/4 cu vegetable broth for sautéing
  • 1 large garlic clive minced
  • 1 medium onion sliced and rings separated
  • 28 oz can low-sodium tomatoes broken up
  • 1/2 cup green lentils rinsed before cooking
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red chilies


  • Prepare the 2 green peppers. Cut off the top and remove the seeds and ribs. Rinse and dry the pepper, setting it aside.
  • In a large pot heat the vegetable broth on medium-high heat. Saute the garlic and onion for 3 minutes or until the onion is softened.
  • Add the tomatoes, lentils, rice, water, paprika, cumin, chili powder and crushed red chilies. Bring to a boil; then reduce heat, covering the pot and simmer for 20 minutes or until rice is cooked and the lentils are soft.
  • Add the yellow or orange diced pepper and simmer uncovered for 3 minutes.
  • Place the hollow green pepper on a lined-baking sheet and stuffed the peppers with the rice/lentil mixture. Put on the top of pepper and cook in a preheated oven (400°F).
  • The oven rack should be placed in the middle of the oven. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the green pepper starts to soften.


Calories: 416kcalCarbohydrates: 86.6gProtein: 19.7gFat: 29.9gSodium: 330mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD is a New York Times bestselling co-author of Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes.

He is the co-founder of Mastering Diabetes and Amla Green, and is an internationally recognized nutrition and fitness coach who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002. He co-created the Mastering Diabetes Method to reverse insulin resistance in all forms of diabetes, and has helped more than 10,000 people improve their metabolic health using low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition, intermittent fasting, and exercise.

Cyrus earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 2003, then earned a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012. He is the co-author of many peer-reviewed scientific publications.

He is the co-host of the annual Mastering Diabetes Online Summit, a featured speaker at the Plant-Based Nutrition and Healthcare Conference (PBNHC), the American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference (ACLM), Plant Stock, the Torrance Memorial Medical Center, and has been featured on The Doctors, NPR, KQED, Forks Over Knives, Healthline, Fast Company, Diet Fiction, and the wildly popular podcasts the Rich Roll Podcast, Plant Proof, MindBodyGreen, and Nutrition Rounds.

Scientific Publications:

Sarver, Jordan, Cyrus Khambatta, Robby Barbaro, Bhakti Chavan, and David Drozek. “Retrospective Evaluation of an Online Diabetes Health Coaching Program: A Pilot Study.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, October 15, 2019, 1559827619879106. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827619879106

Shrivastav, Maneesh, William Gibson, Rajendra Shrivastav, Katie Elzea, Cyrus Khambatta, Rohan Sonawane, Joseph A. Sierra, and Robert Vigersky. “Type 2 Diabetes Management in Primary Care: The Role of Retrospective, Professional Continuous Glucose Monitoring.” Diabetes Spectrum: A Publication of the American Diabetes Association 31, no. 3 (August 2018): 279–87. https://doi.org/10.2337/ds17-0024

Thompson, Airlia C. S., Matthew D. Bruss, John C. Price, Cyrus F. Khambatta, William E. Holmes, Marc Colangelo, Marcy Dalidd, et al. “Reduced in Vivo Hepatic Proteome Replacement Rates but Not Cell Proliferation Rates Predict Maximum Lifespan Extension in Mice.” Aging Cell 15, no. 1 (February 2016): 118–27. https://doi.org/10.1111/acel.12414

Roohk, Donald J., Smita Mascharak, Cyrus Khambatta, Ho Leung, Marc Hellerstein, and Charles Harris. “Dexamethasone-Mediated Changes in Adipose Triacylglycerol Metabolism Are Exaggerated, Not Diminished, in the Absence of a Functional GR Dimerization Domain.” Endocrinology 154, no. 4 (April 2013): 1528–39. https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2011-1047

Price, John C., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Kelvin W. Li, Matthew D. Bruss, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Marcy Dalidd, Nicholas A. Floreani, et al. “The Effect of Long Term Calorie Restriction on in Vivo Hepatic Proteostatis: A Novel Combination of Dynamic and Quantitative Proteomics.” Molecular & Cellular Proteomics: MCP 11, no. 12 (December 2012): 1801–14.

Bruss, Matthew D., Airlia C. S. Thompson, Ishita Aggarwal, Cyrus F. Khambatta, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “The Effects of Physiological Adaptations to Calorie Restriction on Global Cell Proliferation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 300, no. 4 (April 2011): E735-745. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00661.2010

Bruss, Matthew D., Cyrus F. Khambatta, Maxwell A. Ruby, Ishita Aggarwal, and Marc K. Hellerstein. “Calorie Restriction Increases Fatty Acid Synthesis and Whole Body Fat Oxidation Rates.” American Journal of Physiology. Endocrinology and Metabolism 298, no. 1 (January 2010): E108-116.