One-pot homemade sloppy joes packed with plant-rich protein ready in just 30 minutes. Made from pantry staple ingredients, these joes combine a heaping pile of lentils, onions and peppers in a tomato sauce seasoned with spices, a touch of smokiness and sweetness for a delicious and hearty meal.
Did you grow up eating sloppy joes as a kid? We sure did. I can’t remember if we wanted them more back when we were obsessed with the Olsen twin movies growing up being twins ourselves and seeing them dig in It Takes Two or simply because we enjoyed food that was more on the simple and plain side. How many kids like fancy foods.. back than seasoned beef on a bun did the trick.
Now that we’re a little more cautious with what we eat, coming up with a plant-based/ meatless alternative so that we can still enjoy those childhood favourites is easier than you think. With pantry staple recipes being the new big thing in food eating meat shouldn’t be the quick fix solution to a quick meal.
There are so many alternatives out there that closely mimic the real thing you could swear it’s almost like eating meat. This is especially true in comfort foods like chilis, stews, and soups and here with these sloppy joes made from lentils. They deliver crave worthy comfort food while serving up healthy fats and nutrients.
To keep this nice and easy and all in one-pot we opted for canned lentils which also speeds up the cooking process. We’ve left a note in the recipe details if using dried lentils. Either one works and yields the same results. To make the sauce we like to sautée our vegetables first and add some seasoning as well as add the tomato paste prior to the liquid. Doing this with the aromatic ingredients and allowing it to slightly brown further intensifies and boosts the flavours of the paste. Letting is slightly brown is exactly what you want. If you think you’ve left it in the pan too long and it looks a little burnt its actually perfect. Adding a liquid in this case the tomato sauce after will help deglaze the pan and get those brown bits and also helps to caramelize those sugars. We do this every time we cook with tomato paste!
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If using dried lentils, in a separate saucepan bring 2 cups of liquid (water or broth) to a boil add lentils and cook covered reducing heat for 15-20 minutes. Let sit uncovered and add as directed in the instructions.