When ready, add onion and cook until translucent stirring frequently so that onion doesn’t burn. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds stirring well.
Add one can of whole tomatoes along with the juice and break apart the large chunks into smaller pieces.
Add ¾ cup of rice and ¾ cup of water. Cook for about 30 minutes or until rice is cooked through. Check frequently and add more water if needed while cooking.
While the rice is cooking, place 2 ½ cup of water in pan and add rinsed lentils and ½ tsp salt and 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20-30 minutes or until tender. Be sure not to overcook to the point where the lentils are mushy. Add a bit more water as needed. When they are cooked, drain off any excess water.
Once both are ready, set aside and allow them to cool a bit.
Prep and stuff peppers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
While the rice and lentils are cooling, cut peppers in half and remove the stem, seeds and trim the inside to make more space.
Heat up a large pot of water to boiling. Place peppers into hot boiling water for five minutes and then remove.
Place the peppers with the open side facing up into a lightly sprayed baking dish.
Mix together rice, lentils, cumin, chili powder, oregano and cayenne pepper.
Fill each pepper with filling, gently press down but it’s ok if the filling mounds up over the pepper top. Each pepper should hold about ½ cup or so of the lentil and rice mixture.
Top each pepper half with 1T of cheese and bake at 350 degrees until heated and cheese is melted, approximately 10- 15 minutes.
Tips for BEST Results:When cooking lentils and brown rice for this recipe you can use any of the varieties I mentioned above except for the red lentils as I think they just will not hold up well enough in the recipe since they get so mushy.If you prefer something a little bit spicier consider using poblano peppers or other spicy pepper in place of the red bell pepper. Really, just about any type of pepper will work.If you have leftover filling, save it for later in the week and use it to make tacos or just heat and eat topped with some salsa, avocado and sour cream.Liberally stuff the rice and lentil mixture into the peppers making sure each pepper half has enough of the filling.Don't skip blanching the bell peppers. This slightly softens the peppers and makes them cook more quickly in the oven while still staying crisp.