Preheat a large skillet over medium flame. Add half of the onion with splash of water (or a drizzle of olive oil) and a pinch of sea salt. Sautee for a few minutes until translucent. Stir in the carrot, diced belle pepper and smoked paprika together with the brown rice and toss to coat well. Pour in 2 cups of water or low sodium vegetable stock, add 1 bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Cover with a tight lid, turn flame to medium-low and cook for 45 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Allow to sit covered for 10 minutes then discard the bay leaf and fluff with a fork.
Meanwhile in a separate skillet add a a splash of water (or a drizzle of oil) and sautee the other half of the onion for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of sea salt together and cook together until wilted and all the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl combine the cooked brown rice pilaf together with the mushrooms, parsley and thyme leave (reserve some for garnish). Taste and adjust seasonings with more sea salt and black pepper. Add the pine nuts at this point if using but totally optional.
Stuff the Peppers:
Rinse the bell peppers and slice the tops. Discard the core and the seeds. Using a spoon start filling each pepper with the brown rice and mushroom mix.
Place the peppers inside a large heavy stock pot standing up. Pour in the crushed San Marzano tomatoes and 2 cups pf water or low-sodium vegetable stock. Add enough liquid to almost cover the peppers. Taste the broth at this point and season with sea salt to taste. Add 2 bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Cover with a tight lid and cook for 30 minutes or until the peppers have softened to your liking.
Serve hot with a drizzle of vegan plant-based yogurt or aioli and garnished with fresh thyme.
Follow all the above steps, once you bring the broth to a simmer transfer the pot to a preheated 375"F oven and bake for 30 minutes.