When I first started dating Brian, I’d never really eaten sloppy joes. They were just not a thing in my household. But as with many of our personal food traditions, it wasn’t long before his mother emailed him a recipe and we made it in one of our college apartments. When I began eating more beans than beef in 2009, lentils became a staple in my kitchen and I saw the plethora of vegan sloppy joe recipes online. Many of those recipes are “beefed up” with chopped vegetables and seasonings, but this is not one of those recipes. This version is based on the one from my mother-in-law…it is super simple (sometimes I don’t even bother with the onions) and uses pantry staples I always have on hand. In fact, this recipe is one of the very few things I actually use ketchup for. I don’t make this recipe when I want to be impressive or healthy; I make this recipe when I don’t have a lot of time to cook and my pantry is looking a little bare. It’s satisfying and savory and pairs perfectly with my favorite carbs.
Super Simple Lentil Sloppy Joes
- 1 cup dried lentils
- 1/3 cup diced onion
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1-2 tablespoons white or cider vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
- Rolls bread, potatoes, rice or other carb for serving the sloppy joes over
- If needed, rinse lentils. Add them to a small saucepan and cover with water by at least an inch. Bring the lentils to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until lentils are soft.
- Meanwhile, cook the diced onion in a medium skillet with a couple teaspoons of olive oil. Use medium heat and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes.
- When the lentils and onions are both soft, drain the lentils and add them to the skillet. Add the ketchup, vinegar and brown sugar. Stir and cook until heated through. Adjust seasonings to your desired taste and texture.
- Serve the lentil mixture over rice, potatoes, bread, rolls or whatever you have on hand.