Better Than Manwich Sloppy Joes

About two years ago while eating some lentil soup, a co-worker of mine mentioned that he thought lentils would make really good Sloppy Joes.  I agreed, cataloged the idea somewhere in the back of my head…and then did nothing with it.  Until this weekend.

I’ve been making from-scratch Sloppy Joes for my little guy for several years now and my dad likes them so much he asked for the recipe.  Since converting to a more whole foods plant-based diet though, Sloppy Joes have been missing from my repertoire and Anthony has let me know he’s missing them.  After staring at a half empty one pound bag of lentils trying to figure out what to do with them, the lentil Sloppy Joe idea came back to me.

I’ve made lentil Sloppy Joes before from a recipe in one of my vegan cookbooks a while ago and I really wasn’t impressed.  So I went back to the my beef-based recipe, which is a Rachel Ray recipe, to see if anything jumped out at me.  What I realized is that with a few minor tweeks, I could use the recipe as is, just substitute one and quarter pounds of cooked lentils for the one and a quarter pounds of ground beef.  One of the obvious possible issues was that lentils have no fat and the recipe would need added fat somewhere to both keep them from sticking and to be satisfying.  I was actually surprised though at just how little more I needed to add – just one more tablespoon of olive oil was perfect.

I served mine on english muffins with sweet potato fries.  Feel free to use whatever you prefer for your Sloppy Joes…pita pocket maybe?

Lentil Sloppy Joes

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 lb cooked lentils
  • 1/2 to 1 tbsp steak seasoning, like Montreal Seasoning
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (Amy’s has a vegan Worcestershire sauce)
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When you start to see ripples, add the lentils and seasoning.  Combine and saute until the lentils are heated through, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.  Add the onion, red bell pepper, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and add the tomato sauce and paste, stirring to combine.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Serve on your favorite rolls, bread, or wraps with your preferred garnishes.

 

Creating Your Own Jerky Recipes Is So Easy

Creating your own favorite jerky is simpler than you think and is a satisfying snack. You can use most types of meat and wild game such as deer, elk or moose.

For the hunters, if you have them in your family, this is a great way to use the meat from what they have brought home from a hunting trip. From the grocery store, steaks, roasts, sirloin tip or round steak are good choices.

Choose a lean piece of meat and trim off all the fat, connective tissue and tendons. Placing the meat in the freezer for several hours makes it easier to cut into strips that are closer to the same size. ? Slice the meat into one eighth to one fourth inch thick strips. The slices can be made with or against the grain.

Most people prefer to put a marinade on the meat to enhance the flavor. You can buy these or you can make them yourself quite easily. Making your own also allows you to use less salt but still get the flavor. Most cookbooks will give you a selection of recipes that can be used to marinate meat.

Prepare the sauce and let it set overnight in the regriderator is the usual suggestion to allow the flavors to blend well. Then place the sauce over the meat and let it set for 45-60 minutes before placing the strips onto the dehydrator trays.
Then follow the recommended time from the dehydrator cook book that came with your unit. Usually 8 hours is the least amount of time but your cut of meat might require more. Just monitor the progress and you can record that in your personal dehydrating cookbook of your own favorites.

Jerky is the easiest to carry and snack on when your schedule is busy and you just want a bit of energy while you are on the go. Home made jerky is without the preservatives and high salt content that is often found in purchased jerky.

For those on lower carbohydrate diets, jerky is a good high lean protein treat to satisfy the craving for food without the accompanying carbohydrates. Models often eat jerky to give them energy during their hectic modeling schedules because it is such  a good source of protein and promotes a feeling of fullness. The minimal fat content helps keep calories down and that means a healthier snack than other options.

Often thought of as just something that was just eaten by the cowboys in the western movies, jerky is still a great easy to carry snack today that can be taken along during the day for a quick pick me up or while hiking and camping. It is also a good choice for lunches and for snacking.
Using your dehydrator is one of the best ways to fix this modern day snack to have for your busy lifestyle and to carry with you during your activities. We used to really enjoy taking it along when we went to the sports events we attended and occasionally it went to the movies with us as a simple satisfying low calorie snack.

Beef jerky is something that loads of people buy dehydrators specifically for. Thinly cut meat, prepared with an application of oils, herbs, spices and other flavorings. These are placed in the dehydrator till chewy. These foods can also be placed in the freezer for even greater longevity. Definitely a treat to consider.