We were thrilled to find a vegetarian version of this family favorite. What made sloppy joes so appealing growing up? Perhaps it was the tangy sauce, with a sweetness that felt indulgent and almost dessert-like. Maybe it was the silly name, or that they were just so messy and fun to eat. Whatever it was, they were so good that you couldn’t help eating more than one.
Sloppy Joes [Vegan]
- 1 cup uncooked brown lentils
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced finely
- 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced finely
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons chile powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
- 4 to 6 rolls or buns, sliced in half
- In a small saucepan, combine the lentils and water. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. When boiling, lower heat and simmer until lentils are soft, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- 10 minutes before the lentils are finished cooking, place a medium saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the olive oil, onion, and pepper and cook until the onion softens, about 7 minutes. Then add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Then stir in the cooked lentils, chile powder, oregano, salt, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Stir to combine, then cover pan, reduce heat and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the maple syrup and mustard, stir to combine, and remove pan from heat. Keep pan covered and let rest for 10 minutes to let the flavors blend. Divide filling between the buns, and serve hot.