We have an a bunch of extra hamburger buns at the house post-Memorial Day gathering. We already had veggie burgers one night, so I had to think up something else for the rest. I decided to try a new sloppy joe recipe, did a quick Google search and came up with one on jamieoliver.com. I had everything on hand already — even better.
You can get these on the table in less than an hour — you can’t beat that. These are actually very similar to the crockpot lentil sloppy joes I made on Fox 2 Detroit a few years back, but are even easier with fewer ingredients. One difference is the balsamic vinegar. At first thought it seemed strange, but you know what the difference is between, say, ketchup and tangy barbecue sauce? Vinegar. It really gives it a nice sweet and tangy flavor at the end.
These will be in the family rotation for sure. I thought they could use a little more flavor. Though the garlic was my own addition, I think next time I’ll add more seasoning — more cumin, more chili powder and go from there. They were, indeed, sloppy. I don’t think I could have cooked them down anymore to be less sloppy, but next time I might try. Really, I think that’s just how it goes. Be sure and have a good solid bun — you’ll probably still need a fork in the end. If you’re eating open-faced, you’re all set I guess.
The whole family took these down — baby included (sans bun of course). We ate them with a common side dish around here — pan roasted lemon green beans.
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 small onion, diced
• 1 small red or yellow bell pepper, diced (I did 3/4 red and 1/4 green because it’s what I had)
• 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp. cumin
• 1 tsp. chili powder
1 c. French lentils (I did a mix of green and brown)
• 3 c. water
• 28 oz. tomato sauce
• 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
• 1 tsp. Sriracha hot sauce (optional… I omitted this for the kids. The baby actually does alright with spice. The older babe, not a fan.)
• 1 tsp. salt
• 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
• optional toppings: onions, pickles, avocado, coleslaw, etc.
1. Heat the olive oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion, pepper and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until softened.
2. Sprinkle in cumin and chili powder and cook an additional minute. Then add tomato paste and stir to incorporate.
3. Add lentils, water, tomato sauce and hot sauce, if using. Increase heat to high and bring to a simmer. Lower heat so it’s just bubbling and cook uncovered 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. (I accidentally left covered, so my cook time was longer.) Add more water if it cooks out before 30 minutes is up.
4. Taste and if they are tender (they should be a little ‘al dente’ — have just a little bit of bite left), add salt and vinegar. Serve on buns or open-faced on toast.