Lentil and Veggie Sloppy Joes
Sloppy joes have always been one of my favorites. They’re one of those meals that are so fun to eat. Heck, the name implies that you’re meant to lick your fingers! 😏 I hadn’t eaten them in a very long time though because of how very unhealthy they generally are. Sloppy joes are typically loaded with ketchup, BBQ sauce, and extra brown sugar, sandwiched between a highly refined bun. That’s sugar, sugar, sugar, and more sugar. Not something anyone should be eating! All of those refined carbs and added sugars create inflammation throughout the body which is the culprit of our chronic diseases.
I knew that there was a whole-foods, plant-based way to make them though, so I got in the kitchen one evening and threw some together. It is SO easy and quick to add a bunch of veggies, some properly-prepared legumes, and seasonings to make an absolutely delicious sloppy joe! I love using sprouted lentils, which are packed with fiber, protein, and a wide array of vitamins and minerals like iron. Plus, sprouting makes those grains, legumes, nuts and seeds easier to digest and the nutrients more available!
I’m a firm believer that vegetables should be the star of every dish, and these sloppy joes definitely hold true to that. I use only a touch of molasses or coconut sugar just to give that depth of flavor that is so standard to a sloppy joe. They’re so delicious though that you (or your family) won’t even know they are made almost entirely out of plants. Bonus: they can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes!
- Cooked lentils, preferably sprouted or at least soaked about 8 hours before cooking
- Cauliflower, riced or chopped into small pieces (do it!!)
- Onion, diced
- Mushrooms, diced
- Zucchini or yellow squash, diced
- Garlic cloves or powder
- Tomato sauce or pureed diced tomatoes (I like mine left a little chunky)
- High quality, unsulphured molasses or coconut sugar
- Coconut aminos, optional
- Raw apple cider vinegar, optional
- Chili powder, optional
- Himalayan sea salt to taste
- Kelp or dulse granules (great source of natural iodine and only need a sprinkle!)
- The amounts of each ingredient will depend on how much your making, obviously, so use as much of the vegetables and lentils as you need. I go about ⅓ lentils to ⅔ veggies. Pack 'em in there!
- Saute or caramelize the garlic, onions, and mushrooms with a sprinkle of salt. When the vegetables begin to stick, simply add a splash of water and stir.
- Add in the diced zucchini and riced cauliflower, and cook until just through before adding the lentils.
- For the sauce: add enough tomatoes to thoroughly coat the entire mixture, slowly add in your molasses about a spoonful at a time until it is mildly present, and the other seasonings to your taste.
- Yes, taste as you go! If you like more of a smoky flavor, use more cumin or chili powder. If you like more of a tangy flavor, use a splash or vinegar. Make sure you use enough salt to enhance those flavors.
- Turn on low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
My absolute favorite way to eat these is sandwiched between two sweet potato “buns!” Simply roasted sweet potato rounds in the oven or grill them in a skillet with a little coconut oil and salt. Top with avocado, raw or slightly wilted greens like kale, spinach, or arugula, or my amazing corn and avocado salsa (will be up on the blog soon!) This sloppy joe mixture is great wrapped in collard greens or even eaten plain or on a salad!
Hope you all enjoy and have fun creating this! Put your on spin on it and make it yours!