When I was a kid, sloppy joes were a really big deal for lunch or dinner. Making them involved nothing more than ground beef and a can of Manwich sauce. I shudder to think of it now. These sloppy joys, on the other hand, are something to get excited about. They’re tangy with a hint of sweetness. The lentils are chewy and satisfying and the whole dish – never mind that long list of ingredients, almost all of which you probably have in your pantry already – comes together easily. And…. these joes are great for your body. They’re loaded with iron, fibre, protein and vitamin C.
1 cup of dried Du Puy lentils (or black lentils a/k/a beluga lentils). You want a smaller lentil that needs no presoaking and cooks quickly
1 medium carrot finely minced
1 stalk celery finely minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 red or green pepper diced
1 onion diced
1 clove garlic minced
2 tsp chili powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dry mustard
15 oz can (541 ml) diced tomatoes
3 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp maple syrup or brown sugar
½ to 1 Tbsp sriracha sauce (optional)
1 Tbsp prepared mustard
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp A-1 sauce (a/k/a brown sauce)
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt (adjust according to how much salt is in your tomato paste and diced tomatoes)
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1/3 cup vegetable broth
Toasted bread or buns for serving. This recipe makes 4 generous servings.
Put the lentils, diced celery and carrot and 2 cups of water in a small pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 15 minutes. The lentils will be chewy but still firm and most of the water will be absorbed. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a large sauce pan. Add the onion and red or green pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and dry spices and stir together, letting the spices heat through. Add all the remaining ingredients, including the saucepan of lentils (do not drain!) to the large sauce pan. Stir everything together to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncover for 15 to 20 minutes depending on how saucy you want your sloppy joes to be. I cooked mine for 20 minutes.
Serve over toasted bread, buns or fat pitas (as I did). This dish is even better the next day and freezes well for up to 2 months.