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.