Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Last week I got a distraught call from my brother. He was making Sloppy Joes because he “was starving and wanted something fast.” He had quickly learned that throwing all of the sloppy joe ingredients into the pan all at once in order to “save cooking time” wasn’t exactly the right path to take. When I asked what exactly we were working with, he said “Ash it looks sort of life a meat soup.”


Unclear of what that meant, I told him to send me a picture of said meat soup.

Feeling a little bit like that “Restaurant: Impossible” show (the one where the chef fixes the restaurants that are circling the drain), I proceeded to walk him through the steps to turn his soupy chili back into Sloppy Joes.

Since he called while I was also making my dinner, my sibling rivalry kicked in a bit and I decided to “Plate” my food and shoot him a picture. He responded with this one.

If you’re wondering—yes that’s a paper plate… And yes that’s a pudding cup. (He had tried to claim his was better because it came with dessert!)

All jokes aside—he said the finished product turned out pretty tasty. I told him if we were on that Restaurant: Impossible show we could market it as:

Chef’s Special of the Night:

Tenderized (overcooked) beuf (ground chuck) with a sweet pepper jus (watery canned Manwich mix) on an open faced whole grain toast (sliced bread). Accompanied with a butterscotch crème anglaise for dessert (pudding cup).

In the end—the whole thing made me kind of crave Sloppy Joes! Obviously I would need a replacement for the meat, so I rifled through my pantry and found… LENTILS! Yum! As always, I decided to try the recipe a few different ways.

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 25 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 4 cups


3 cups water

1 cup red lentils

1 tbsp olive oil

½ onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ green pepper, diced

½ carrot, diced

15 oz canned tomato sauce

1 tbsp tomato paste

2 tbsp worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp chili powder

¼ tsp cumin

¼ tsp paprika

  1. Place lentils in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer X ~10 minutes, or until soft.
  2. Meanwhile heat a pan with olive oil over medium heat. Add carrots, green peppers, garlic, and onions and sauté until tender ~5-10 minutes.
  3. When lentils are soft, drain and add to cooked vegetable mixture.
  4. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, and spices. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens ~5 minutes.
  5. Serve on a toasted bun.

The Cook’s 2 Cents:

  • I tried this recipe initially with green lentils and they never got quite done enough for my taste. I recommend using the red lentils. They also cook much quicker!
  • Although I made my own sloppy Joe sauce you could always take a page out of my brother’s book and use Manwich or another canned sauce.

Nutrition Facts

Servings per Recipe: 8

Serving Size: ½ cup

Calories: 69         Fat: 2g   Carbs: 11g           Sodium: 55mg                   Fiber: 3g               Sugars: 4g            Protein: 3g