Meatless Monday: Lentil Sloppy Joes

Hearty lentils offer meatless satisfaction in this reinterpretation of a classic childhood favorite. Serve on toasted whole wheat buns or use as a filling in corn tortillas or lettuce wraps! 

Lentil Sloppy Joes
Serves: 8

  • 1 1/2 cup brown lentils, rinsed 
  • 1 yellow onion, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 (6 ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 dried apricots, chopped
  • 8 whole wheat hamburger buns (I prefer making wraps using iceberg lettuce or corn tortillas)


Place lentils in a small pot. Cover with 2 inches of water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. 
Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne and tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly until spices and tomato paste are fragrant, about 2 minutes. 

Add vinegar and then use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan. 

Add 2 cups water, garlic, apricots and crushed tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and let sauce simmer until it thickens, at least 30 minutes. 

When lentils are cooked, drain off any excess cooking liquid.  Add lentils to the pan with sauce; stir well to combine. M
ash some or all of the lentils using a wooden spoon. 

Toast hamburger buns in the oven, if desired. Ladle 1 cup of the lentil mixture on each toasted bun (lettuce or corn tortillas) and serve.


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