Bored Of Stuffed Peppers? Try These Stuffed Onions Instead

These stuffed onions are nutritious, protein packed, and full of flavor


2 Minutes Read

A pot filled with stuffed onions with a lentil and bulgur filling If you've never tried stuffed onions, this is your sign to give them a go - Media Credit: Natlicious Food

Anyone who’s been vegan for some time will have troubling memories of being served a sad stuffed pepper at every social event they attended. Stuffed peppers have a history of being seemingly the only vegan meal restaurants have heard of, meaning many plant-based eaters are, frankly, sick of them.

Read more: How To Make This Gluten-Free Asparagus Quiche (With A Quinoa Crust)

If you’re in the market for an alternative, have you ever thought about trying stuffed onions? This tasty dish is a hugely popular recipe in many countries of the world, and it can be a nutritious and high protein option too.

This Natlicious Food creation uses protein-packed lentils in the stuffing, as well as carrot, potatoes, bulgur, and lots of herbs. It’s perfect if you fancy something a bit different for dinner, and is also a crowdpleaser if you’re welcoming guests.

What are stuffed onions?

Stuffed onions are a dish consisting of whole onions that have been hollowed out and filled with a mixture of various ingredients. Many traditional recipes contain meat, but it’s easy to veganize them with a few simple swaps. Stuffed onions are popular for their savory and rich flavor profile. They become tender and sweet when cooked, which complements a wide range of fillings.

The origins of stuffed onions can be traced back to multiple cuisines across Europe and the Middle East, where they are often found in traditional recipes that highlight the local flavors and ingredients of the region.

Read more: 10 Vegan Sandwich Ideas

Why lentils?

Lentils are highly regarded for their substantial health benefits, primarily due to their rich nutrient profile. Packed with protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals such as iron, folate, and manganese, lentils are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are particularly notable for their high protein content, making them an excellent alternative to meat and an important staple in plant-based diets. The fiber in lentils supports digestive health and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

Their versatility allows them to be incorporated into a variety of dishes, from soups and stews to salads and side dishes, enhancing meals with their earthy flavor.

Stuffed onion recipe

Today we are making stuffed onions! Traditionally in Cyprus, we fill onions with rice and mincemeat, but today I chose to use 2 other staple ingredients of the Cypriot cuisine, bulgur and lentils, and they turned out wholesome and delicious!
A pot filled with stuffed onions with a lentil and bulgur filling
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Servings4 people


  • 120 g brown lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 large onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 baby potatoes (optional)
  • 1/4 of a parsley bunch
  • 70 g bulgur
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/3 tsp of each cinnamon, smoked paprika, sumac, chili flakes
  • 30 ml olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 600 ml veggie stock


  • Rinse and drain the lentils, then place them in a pot, cover with water, add the bay leaf, a generous pinch of salt and boil them for 30min.
  • Cut the sides of each onion, then peel the outer skin and cut them slightly (check video for reference). Place them in a large pot, cover with water, bring them to boil and cook them for 15 minutes.
  • In the meantime, prepare the veggies, peel and grate the carrot, peel and cut the potatoes, chop the parsley.
  • Drain the onions, and set them aside to cool down a bit.
  • Once the lentils are cooked drain them and put them in a large mixing bowl, along with the carrots, parsley, bulgur, tomato paste, all the spices, salt and pepper, the olive oil and mix well.
  • Carefully peel 4-5 layers from each onion and put them aside.
  • Chop 1-2 of the onion hearts and add them into the lentil filling and combine.
  • The other 2 onion hearts, cut them in the middle, place them in a bowl with the potatoes, season with salt, pepper and oregano and set them aside.
  • Fill each onion layer with 2-3 tablespoons of the filling, then roll them and place them in a baking tray.
  • Continue until you have used all the onion layers. If you have any leftover filling, spread it in the baking tray.
  • Add the potatoes and onions, that we cut and seasoned earlier, in the baking tray, to fill any gaps.
  • Mix 600ml of veggie stock with 2 tablespoon of tomato paste, and cover the onions and potatoes.
  • Cover with foil and cook in a preheated oven at 180°C for 40minutes, then remove the foil, turn the potatoes and onions carefully and cook for another 30-40 minutes.
  • I like to serve them with hummus and salad
  • You can also reduce the cooking time by using ready cooked lentils.
  • The potatoes are optional, but I like to add them to fill the gaps.
  • You can substitute bulgur for quinoa, to make it gluten free.

This recipe was republished with permission from Natlicious Food. You can find the original here.

Now read: 9 Gut-Friendly Recipes Featuring Fermented Foods

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