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Sloppy Lentils

Sloppy Lentil Sandwich Recipe

Sloppy Lentil Sandwiches
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.

Sloppy Lentils
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

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Sloppy Lentils

Sloppy Lentil Sandwich Recipe

These Sloppy Lentils make a tasty vegetarian sandwich, but they’re great as a side dish too!

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  1. 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!).
  2. 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.

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122 Comments

  • Reply
    Anele @ Success Along the Weigh
    December 12, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Hey, I complain daily about the things you mentioned and so much more so we can wave the kids off the lawn with our brooms or wail Nerf balls at them. (cue overly sensitive parents who don’t know if I’m kidding or not) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 12, 2013 at 9:22 pm

      High fives for complainers!

  • Reply
    Liz
    December 12, 2013 at 8:50 am

    Yeah, some sort of switch seems to get flipped when one enters their 30’s, or, at least it did for me. I feel like the bulk of my crotchetiness comes from being responsible for my own home, though — when you put your time, money and effort into it, things change. However, I also have zero patience for lots of other things that never previously crossed my mind in my younger years. Quite often, I feel like a baby boomer with my thoughts of technological overkill and decreased human interaction and longing to return to a more simplistic, wholesome way of life/living when people had MANNERS and common courtesy. (Do people even know anymore what the words “thank you” are USED for?) I was by NO means raised in a Leave It To Beaver household, but the older I get, the more I find myself somehow relating to it and wishing everyone WAS raised like that. I don’t want people living like the Amish nor do I advocate conformity or having a 1950’s mentality, but some basic manners would be nice. Would it kill people to be remotely courteous (and use proper grammar)? ๐Ÿ™‚ End Rant. LOL Clearly, you’re not alone in your (ocassional) crotchetiness. Is this just a female thing? My SO is completely unbothered by ANYthing, but, he’s alarmingly oblivious to the world around him. Does Chris echo your sentiments?

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 12, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      Yeah, I have my theories about technology too. Mostly involving Facebook. I think Facebook has turned us all into narcissists. The constant selfies, the humblebrags, the not-so-humble-brags, the inability to do ANYTHING without sharing it with the world (I swear, some people seem to think that life isn’t happening unless they’re documenting it all online). Then we take this narcissism and start applying it everywhere. Everyone needs to cater to me! I am a princess! The world revolves around meeeeee! It’s so gross. And yeah, Chris is a lot less bothered by all this stuff than I am. And honestly, I don’t really know why it bothers me so much either.

      (PS – I always appreciate your comments. Rock on with your crotchety self!)

      • Reply
        Liz
        December 13, 2013 at 10:47 am

        On top of FB (which is, yes, promoting narcissism through and through), you have the whole Internet for people to hide behind, turning seemingly innocuous individuals into obnoxious, busy body bullies, commenting unsolicitedly about anything and EVERYthing. People are, apparently, wholly incapable of sharing thoughts and opinions in a respectful manner, without resorting to name calling or insulting a complete stranger two sentences into a response for having a different POV. They seem to think a differing of opinions is a personal attack on them. ?? That and people are seemingly becoming less and less tolerant of others beliefs. You don’t need to AGREE with or even understand everything someone says but respect it. It’s sort of what you were saying in a previous comment about people making comments on the ingredients you use (that they don’t eat). . .Just do your own thing, shut up about someone else’s and acknowledge you have different ways of living.

        PS When I said being responsible for a home is mostly what makes me crotchety, I didn’t mean that the RESPONSBILITY made me cranky just that I’m often yelling at MY neighborhood kids (and various delivery people ๐Ÿ™‚ ) in an effort to preserve everything I’ve done for my home. If I lived in an apt., I wouldn’t give a crap. ๐Ÿ™‚ AND be slightly less cantankerous.

        PPS I often try to adopt a less stressful, more relaxed attitude, but 30 seconds later, I’ve completely forgotten about it. I need to get some rubberband bracelets to snap and abuse myself with to remind me to stop being such a wretch. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Reply
          Kiersten
          December 15, 2013 at 8:58 pm

          Yup, spot on–it’s the combination of that anonymity + the self-centered idea that anyone who doesn’t agree with you is wrong that makes the internet such an icky place sometimes. Politics and religion are always contentious topics, but how food ended up in the mix too, I’ll never understand. But WHOA do people get crazy about food.

          Once I tried a rubberband bracelet to train myself not to say ‘like’ all the time. I ended up with welts all over my wrist and I didn’t say ‘like’ any less. Bummer.

  • Reply
    Julia
    December 12, 2013 at 10:04 am

    HAAAAAA! Andy Roony! Chasing kids with brooms! I want to move into the house next to you and we can be crotchety together and tell the people who are taking pictures of themselves inside their car to just. stop. and then we can uninvent hashtags. I like the way this is sounding. SLOPPY LENTILS! YUM!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 12, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      Why do people take pictures of themselves in their cars?! WHY? What is UP with THAT? It’s always to illustrate some status update that absolutely does not need illustrating. Like, “On my way to work.” Or “I’m really happy tomorrow is Friday.” There is no need to post a car selfie for this! GAWD!

  • Reply
    Maria Tadic
    December 12, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I made something similar last week. It was so good. Lentils have a great texture and flavor! It was messy and sloppy and delicious.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 12, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      I love lentils–if I had to choose one vegetarian protein as my favorite, it would definitely be lentils!

  • Reply
    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
    December 12, 2013 at 11:02 am

    lately i have been feeling that way too and I complain the weather and my lack of vitamin D.. i try to eat more plant based diet and cant do those fake meat stuff. I really appreciate recipes like this one using wholesome ingredients ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ pinning it.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 12, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      Thank you for the pin! I’ve been complaining about the weather a lot too lately–there’s nothing worse than freezing rain!

  • Reply
    dishing up the dirt
    December 12, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Complaining is underrated. These sloppy lentil joes look delicious.

  • Reply
    Amy
    December 12, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Is the molasses a deal breaker or do you think I could leave it out or sub something for it? Ya know what makes sloppy joes even more awesome? Putting potato chips on them…do it.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 12, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      No! You can leave it out. ๐Ÿ™‚ In fact, the first few times I tested this recipe, I made it without the molasses. It’s still really tasty, but my mom always made sloppy joes that were more on the sweet side, so adding that tablespoon of molasses made it taste closer to the version I’m used to.

  • Reply
    Emily
    December 12, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Crotchety or cynical? Who gets to decide at what age we start acting that way? Andy Rooney, oh how I miss him. He was always right on the money.

    Anyhoo – question about the breadโ€ฆhow do you prevent it from becoming soggy before you finish eating it? I have an aversion to soggy bread (unless it’s floating in onion soup).

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 12, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      The sauce is thick enough that it makes the bread soft without soaking through–at least as long as you eat it in a reasonable amount of time. But I have the same issue with bread. Not because I mind the texture of soggy bread, but because I’m weird about messy food. (This is why I never do messy food photos, BTW. Is my OCD showing?) If you’re eating a sandwich on a bun, it helps to flip the sandwich upside down because the top is usually thicker than the bottom, so it takes longer for sauces to soak through it. That’s my theory, at least–I always eat my burgers that way. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    December 12, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    You are so creative! The sauce will be fantastic to go with spaghetti instead of meat sauce.

  • Reply
    Amy
    December 12, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    You make my day, lady. Thank you for this! Lentils are a great antidote to complaint-worthy mornings. Your hashtag at the end is entirely appropriate. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 12, 2013 at 8:58 pm

      The abuse of hashtags is only acceptable when I am the abuser. #haterscanhate

  • Reply
    Pam Campbell
    December 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you very much! I live all the recipes I’ve tried of yours and am quite the fan already! I look forward to your emails! Can’t wait to try these!!!! Gotta go! Headed to the store for the ingredients;)

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 12, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you like the recipe!

      • Reply
        Pam Campbell
        December 13, 2013 at 7:04 am

        I loved it as it was the best home made sloppy recipe I’ve ever eaten! What a treat! My husband the carnivore also loved it! Definitely going into the permanent recipe box!! Thanks again!

        • Reply
          Kiersten
          December 15, 2013 at 9:08 pm

          Yay, I’m so glad they were a hit! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Alecia
    December 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    “Sloppy Lenny’s” are also great scooped up with tortilla chips instead of hamburger buns! When we went sledding one winter I packed a tailgate lunch. I kept them hot in a big thermos and ladled them into individual bags of Frito’s then sprinkled shredded cheddar & sliced scallions on top then we dug in with spoons. The kids loved it!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 12, 2013 at 8:56 pm

      Ooh, I love this idea! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ henry happened
    December 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Seriously, you need kids – they are the best thing to complain about ever. It’s a never ending source of crankiness. So is it wrong to make things for dinner that I know they won’t like (lentils probably fall into this category) and just not care? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 12, 2013 at 8:55 pm

      What kid doesn’t like lentils?! What kind of kids are you raising over there?! ๐Ÿ™‚ I have been in a mood for 2 days now. Maybe I need to take up kickboxing or something.

      • Reply
        Stephanie @ henry happened
        December 12, 2013 at 10:04 pm

        Are you kidding? My kids complain when we have pizza! What kid doesn’t like pizza?! Pretty much the only thing that passes muster is mac & cheese – from a box. Seems like I’m cranky too – we need to do some boxing!

        • Reply
          Kiersten
          December 15, 2013 at 9:12 pm

          I didn’t like pizza! For years, I would only eat the crust. My family would eat dinner, leave me the crust ends, and then I’d eat. But hey, look, I turned out fine! Ish. Fine-ish.

  • Reply
    kum
    December 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Sloppy lentils is perfect for winter. Thank you so much for posting so many plant-based recipes -good for our health and our beautiful planet Earth.

    Blog : global vegan fare

  • Reply
    Kathryn
    December 12, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Ha, I totally know the feeling. Most of my complaining is aimed at the ‘young people’ these days which makes me feel properly ancient.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 12, 2013 at 8:48 pm

      Kids these days! *shakes fist in the air*

  • Reply
    Amanda
    December 12, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Perfect timing! I needed some new sandwich ideas and this looks delicious ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    December 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    I try to live conscious, think positive you know that its deep as molecular so somedays i just want to tell the other mothers at my kids school off , now that only happened 4 or less times so im ok with that but in general i don’t wanna talk to nobody just leave me alone but i get along socially online wow what a day . Thank for the recipe ! ;)))

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 12, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      There are some people in this world who just need to be TOLD. I’m sure those other moms had it coming. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Reply
        Elizabeth
        December 13, 2013 at 1:22 pm

        I had to make a comment about Narcissism – Which has been the root of all evil in my life almost every woman in my family has it – except for me no contact, no contact, no contact is the only way to heal from this and most people id say don’t realize that Munchausen by proxy, and obsessive compulsive disorder is also another disorder of the mind that SOME TRUE narcissist have. To bad most narcissist don’t realize they have it . The underlying dehumanization of this is traumatizing to any child that are under the care of these monsters. Recovering for life from this. Now you no why I said in my earlier post , I just want to be left alone. Have a positive day !

        • Reply
          Kiersten
          December 15, 2013 at 8:41 pm

          Yes, sometimes I think cutting contact is the best thing you can do. We’re always told that blood is thicker than water, but I don’t think that’s always the case. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had to grow up dealing with that!

          • Elizabeth
            December 16, 2013 at 8:34 am

            Your a awesome Veghead … See after reading about me your hardly cranky anymore …lol .

  • Reply
    Gwen @simplyhealthyfamily
    December 12, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    This, my friend is perfect! I’ll bet my kids will even eat it, their ‘used’ to lentils now ๐Ÿ˜‰ tell your hubby I’m glad you posted this, it made me laugh….. And feel a wee bit better about my crotchetiness. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    OXOX

  • Reply
    The Wooden Spoon
    December 12, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    I used to love making sloppy joes in Peace Corps. This makes me want to try it again!

  • Reply
    Joanne
    December 12, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    The almost meatiness of meat substitutes makes me gag. That’s how I know I was truly meant to be a vegetarian.
    We should complain together! I’ll complain about wedding planning and you can complain about hashtags. It’ll be awesome. And we’ll eat sloppy joes. Mmm.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 15, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      YES! Ugh. The only meat subs I really enjoy are Field Roast, but probably because they’re more about imitating the form and savoriness rather than imitating the exact flavor. So we can complain about meat substitutes too!

  • Reply
    Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens
    December 13, 2013 at 8:15 am

    So, tell Chris he’s totally wrong – I DID love your story of crotchety complaining! Totally made me giggle, sitting here alone in my kitchen, trying to get my coffee to hurry up and clear the morning fog! Also loving … this recipe! Lentils as sloppy joes? Brilliant! If this is what happens when you get all grouchy and chasing kids with brooms (LOL), then I guess I hope lots more kiddos run across your lawn to give you loads of grumpy inspiration! ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 15, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      Oh no, I could have complained a lot more. I could have gone into great detail about why car selfies are so wrong, you see. But I restrained myself!

  • Reply
    Grace @ FoodFitnessFreshAir
    December 13, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Love the colorful writing in this post! And I’m always a fan of BBQ/sloppy joe meat-free meals. Sounds great, and hope to make this soon!

  • Reply
    marquis @realrawkitchen
    December 13, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    SO yummy! That sounds so good, I am definitely going to put that on my growing list of recipes that I want to try ๐Ÿ™‚

    And sometimes grumpy days just happen, yo! My husband would have the same exact response, but you know what?? People WOULD love that because it makes us all feel a lot less angry and a lot more normal haha

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 15, 2013 at 8:43 pm

      I think as long as you don’t complain ALL the time, it’s okay once in a while, right?! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    The Wimpy Vegetarian
    December 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    I love this! It’s perfect comfort food for a cold winter day. Definitely making!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 15, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      I hope you like it if you make it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Kare @ Kitchen Treaty
    December 14, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I hate this post! I shake my broom at it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Actually my broom is one of those flat-headed dry mops so the end would just flop about and it wouldn’t have the same impact, so I’ve changed my mind. I actually love this post. You and your eyebrows crack me up.

    I tried lentilizing Sloppy Joes awhile back and they were, like, sugary sweet. I was so disenchanted with my first attempt that I didn’t go back and try again. Now I don’t have to!

    PS: Car selfies. Yes.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 15, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      Shaking a Swiffer just isn’t the same, isn’t it? It doesn’t make that menacing bristle-y noise.

      Oh, and it took me about 7 tries to perfect this recipe. On the last try, my husband was like, “If it doesn’t work this time, you need to set the recipe aside for a few weeks because I can’t eat anymore lentils.” Luckily the 7th time was the charm. (That’s the saying, right? 7th time?)

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