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Sloppy “Lentil” Joes

Sloppy “Lentil” Joes

I have got to tell you that a Sloppy Joe is one of the very first dishes I ever learned how to make.  A Sloppy Joe is without a doubt an American “kid friendly” sandwich.  If you never had a Sloppy Joe, it is a tasty, messy burger made with ground beef and a tangy sweet tomato sauce.  To make a Sloppy Joe, all you have to do is brown up some ground beef, add some Sloppy Joe sauce, ladle on a burger bun and there’s dinner.  Easy.

I was in the mood the other day for a Sloppy Joe sandwich and I had no ground beef stashed in the freezer.  I did not even have ground bison or turkey either.  However, I had lentils in my cupboard…  I had heard of people preparing Sloppy Joes with lentils before and I knew that when lentils are cooked they have a meaty like texture. So, I made my standard Sloppy Joe sauce and added cooked lentils instead of beef.  I tasted it and it was good!

When Bruce came home that evening, I told him that I made these for our dinner.  He gave me his me his famous dirty look and quickly reminded me that he hated beans.  I looked back at him, smiled, handed him his Sloppy “Lentil” Joe sandwich, crossed my fingers, and said “sorry hon, I forgot”.  I then watched him out of the corner of my eye while he ate the sandwich.  And get this… He looked as if he liked it!  After he was finished, he said that he thought it was really good and that he almost forgot that there were lentils in it.  I guess he’ll eat beans now  :).

My recipe for Sloppy “Lentil” Joes is easy to make, completely meatless and healthy for you.  Not to mention, they are wickedly good.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 cup brown lentils (rinsed and picked over)
  • 3 cups water
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup tomato ketchup
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp kitchen bouquet (browning sauce for color)
  • salt to taste
  • 4 to 6 whole wheat burger buns
  • garnish with pickles

Begin by cooking the lentils and water in a sauce pan on covered on medium low for about a half an hour or until the lentils are cooked to your liking.  I did not add salt to the lentils for I heard that salt toughens up the beans. Drain.  Mash lightly with potato masher.

Meanwhile, in skillet or pan, saute the onions and bell pepper in olive oil.  Cook until onions are opaque.  Add remaining ingredients except for the lentils, burger buns and pickles.  Cook on medium low, covered, for about the same amount of time as the lentils, stirring occasionally.  When the lentils are done, add to the tomato mixture, taste, and correct your seasonings.  Add water if necessary.  Ladle on warmed whole wheat burger buns, garnish with pickles and serve.  Makes 4 to 6 Sloppy “Lentil” Joes.