This morning I woke up in a complain-y mood. That happens when you get older. You get crotchety. You're all, "Why do people post pictures of themselves in the car all the time? Why do people use hashtags in inappropriate ways? Why won't these kids get off my lawn?" And then you go outside with a broom to chase those kids away. I didn't know what to write about Sloppy Lentils, so I told Chris I was going to write a post to complain about things, to which he replied:
"Oh, yeah, that's a great idea. People will love that."
And then he called me Andy Rooney under his breath. But I think we all know that I have several years to go before my eyebrows reach that kind of plush luxuriousness.
Soooo, hey! Lentils! Lentils are something I have absolutely no complaints about. If I were Herbert Hoover, I would make sure there was a bag of lentils in every pot in this fine country. (Look at me, using my degree in history!) When I was a new and new-ish vegetarian, I was all about meat substitutes, but as I've gotten more comfortable with this whole vegetarian cooking thing, I've almost entirely ditched them in favor of whole foods like lentils. Lentils are cheap and easy (in a good way!), they're tasty, and they are quick to make! Not as quick as popping some faux-nuggets or faux-wings in the microwave, but quicker than beans, which require advance soaking. Lentils don't need soaking! Just throw them in a pot with some water or broth and about 20 minutes later, they're done.
I posted a Veggie & Tempeh Sloppy Joes recipe last year, but I know not everyone is on board the tempeh train, so I wanted to make a lentil version. The sauce has molasses in it, which makes it kind of a cross between sloppy joes and baked beans. We had this in sandwiches one night and then we had the leftovers as a side dish. You can eat them either way! #delicious
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 cup brown or green lentils rinsed and picked over
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- Pinch of cayenne pepper optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4-6 hamburger rolls optional
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and just beginning to brown, 5-7 minutes. Add the lentils and broth; bring to a boil, then partially cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender enough to eat, but still firm enough to hold their shape (not mushy!).
- Stir in the tomato sauce, brown sugar, molasses, vinegar, tamari, tomato paste, garlic powder, mustard powder, and cayenne. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Continue to cook the lentils until the sauce has thickened, 10-15 minutes more, stirring frequently. Serve the lentils on the rolls if you're making sandwiches.
I've made these a few times and my husband and I LOVE them! They're definitely on the regular dinner rotation. I love that they make me feel like a kid again.
Kiersten Frase says
I'm happy to hear they're a hit! 🙂
Just curious...how long did you have to cook the lentils? I'm going on 1 hour and they are STILL not soft.....GRRRRRR....!!!
I do the 20 minutes like the recipe says. They're still firm but soft enough to chew (not crunchy).
Marcia, were the lentils old? Or do you live at high altitude? Both of those things can make them take longer.
I'm making this tonight for the second time, as my girlfriend felt in love with that recipe the first time. I'm making a double-batch to be sure it last us longer this time.
Super easy to make, dosen't take much time, perfect for a weeknight dinner. 🙂
We're trying to add more meatless meals to our dinner table and this was a real winner. My kids love it straight up or over rice. Thanks so much!
Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl says
I made these with a pinch of chili powder and substituted the onion with a green pepper. They were delicious served with homemade potato wedges! Even my meat loving husband said they were great. :D)
This was the first recipe I've made from this site and it was so good! The sauce was just spot on. I will definitely be trying other recipes from here. Thanks!
Kiersten Frase says
I'm glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
We added salt and cayenne to get these to our liking. Next time, I'll try cutting the brown sugar. This will become our quick dinner fix. Thanks for sharing. Your philosophy and journey into " real " vegan foods is similar to ours.
Ive never cooked with lentils before. Do you think I could make this and freeze it?? This would be perfect for a quick freezer meal for my vegetarian sister when she has her baby!
could I use water instead of veggie broth?
You can use it, but veggie broth will make the dish more flavorful.
Maritza Mattar says
Hi! I just wanted to check, can this last 5 days in the refriegerator? Thanks!
I think it should last that long, but I wouldn't try to keep it beyond 5 days.
Hi I just made this today and so far it seems to be a hit. Thank you so much! My family is transitioning well to vegetarian life.
I pinned this recipe years ago when you first published it, and finally got around to making it this week. Oh my gosh!! If I knew it was going to be this delicious I would've bumped other dishes out of the way! I love how simple it is to throw together too. Definitely going to be on repeat! Thanks so much!
lyndsea skojec says
Do you have a calorie count per serving for this meal?
We don't calculate the nutritional info for our recipes, but this is a handy tool if you'd like to take a crack at it yourself. 🙂
Would this work in the slow cooker?
We haven't tried these in the slow cooker, but I think so! You might need to keep an eye on in the first time around just to figure out the timing and if any of the ingredients need adjusted.
Oh man. I love how decadent yet simple these are!
This is a staple in our house. Has anyone done this is a crock pot? I have seen other sloppy lentil recipes for the crock pot but this ones has the best flavours. Would love to have this made ahead of dinner time rush! Kids and meat eaters all like this recipe! Winning!
AJ Ford says
Great recipe! Easy, delicious and quick. I'm allergic to most spicy things so I cut the pepper and added another half tablespoon of brown sugar. Really nice and creative. Thank you!