Meatless Monday: An American Classic Goes Healthy – Lentil Sloppy Joes

Classic Joes - Healthy Edition.

Classic Joes – Healthy Edition.

For Meatless Monday, I decided to attempt a re-do of an American classic recipe – Sloppy Joes. I tried a version with a variety of beans, but the beans turned out too starchy for this – not at all resembling ground meat. So then I thought of lentils. These little high-protein gems are packed with nutrients and they are so much easier and handier than using dried beans – no pre-soaking required! Turns out they are similar to the texture I was looking for to replace ground meat.

I used the ingredients I would have used 25 years ago to make Sloppy Joes for one of my kid-friendly desperation dinners – onions, peppers, tomato paste, brown sugar, spices and just a touch of mustard. Takes me back to the big-hair and florescent-fashion 80’s.

Sometimes a vegetarian re-do of a recipe is a distant second to the original in taste. Not so here. I was shocked to find out that this is a BETTER dish than if I had used hamburger. Seriously – much better. Bye, bye ground beef – Hello lentils!


1 1/2 cups brown lentils
2 tablespoons flax seeds
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 red onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (or wheat-free tamari, for gluten-free)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons powdered oregano
1 tablespoon dried mustard
4 cups water

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add lentils, flax seeds and bay leaf. Boil for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit another 10 minutes. Drain off water and remove bay leaves.

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onion and green pepper in oil until softened, about 3 minutes. Add in lentils and flax seeds. Stir together remaining ingredients and then stir into skillet mixture. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer, stirring frequently, for another 10 to 30 minutes, until lentils are softened and almost all liquid has evaporated.

Serve over buns of your choice, with a slice of cheese, if desired.

Other veggie Sloppy Joes:
Vegetarian Sloppy Joes, Yum Sugar
Vegetarian Sloppy Joes, Go Dairy Free
Lentil Sloppy Joes, Meatless Mama
Tempeh Sloppy Joes, Dinner Cakes

— posted by Donna

Now included in the Hey, What’s For Dinner, Mom? Meatless Monday Blog Hop!


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