Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lentil sloppy joes

Okay, I've been promising this recipe for over a week now. Yikes! I know I've said this before, but I really don't know where the time goes. Anyway, these were extremely successful. My meat-loving husband thought they were a great substitute for ground beef sloppy joes and they were SO much cheaper. I don't have a picture of the final product, but here is the recipe I started with (taken from vegweb):

1 cup lentils
2 cup water
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon green pepper flakes*
2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon dry minced garlic (the kind in the spice section)
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 - 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 1/4 cups water


1) Rinse and pick through lentils. Add two cups water to pan with lentils and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer about 55 minutes until tender, but not mushy.

2) For the sauce, combine the minced onion, salt, sugar, dry mustard, chili powder, green pepper flakes, cornstarch, minced garlic, celery seeds. Combine well and set aside.

3) When lentils are done, add the tomato paste and water. Stir in the sauce seasoning. Combine well and heat through.

Serve on whole wheat buns or over brown rice.

My lentils did not take 55 minutes, but more like a half hour. If you check them periodically, just cook them to the desired tenderness. I dumped the extra water from boiling the lentils and the lentils in the pan with my onion and garlic. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to use the dried minced onion, but I ended up dicing half of a fresh onion. I sauteed it with some fresh garlic in a little bit of olive oil (which also means I didn't use the dried garlic called for). I subbed Sucanat in place of the sugar and probably used half the amount. I used about 3/4 tsp chili powder, chopped up half of a green pepper for the green pepper flakes, and maybe a 1/2 tsp of celery salt for the celery seeds. I didn't add any cornstarch. I only used enough water to create the thickness of sauce that I desired.

I found that I needed to play with the flavors a bit because it was too tomato paste-y flavored for me. I added some Italian seasoning, some cayenne pepper, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. I still wasn't 100% happy with the finished product, but once we put the mixture on the buns and sprinkled a little reduced fat cheese on the top they were very tasty. They were also better the next day!

I like to let you know approximately how much these recipes will cost per serving. I have to approximate the cost of spices and such, which gets a little sticky, but I figure that a safe estimate would be that this recipe (the entire thing, including homemade rolls) cost around $6. We got between 6 and 8 servings out of it, so that is $1/serving or less! I love yummy, cheap, and healthy recipes. Try this one out and see what you think! If you find any super tasty additions to the recipe, let me know that too! ;) Happy cooking!


  1. Lentils are so great for substituting ground meat in recipes! I am going to have to try this recipe!

  2. I love Lentil Sloppy Joes - my recipe is slightly different and cooks in a crock pot. I also use lentils on my nachos and in tacos in place of ground beef, and like you I was worried about my meat loving DH, but he loves all of them. Now to get him into falafel and other bean burgers :)