Vegan Sloppy Joes

Wow, what a busy few weeks it’s been for me! I can hardly believe it, but January is coming to a close, school starts back up again Friday, and my vacation, though barely begun, is already over.  Thankfully, I just got back from Miami, where I got to spend some time doing this:

Readers, that was sorely needed.  Alex and I began every day with an hour+ stroll along the beach, during which we walked hand in hand, periodically wading knee-deep into the surf to admire the sealife. Bliss! And even better was that when we returned from our very last walk I got an email from my department telling me that I had passed comps. I can’t begin to tell you what a relief that was, and how wonderful it has been to truly leave some of my stress in Miami for good!

Anyway, now that I’m back – and back to the grind – I wanted to share this recipe with you. I made it while I was prepping for comps but convinced myself that I was too busy and stressed to post about it then.  Forgive me! And then make it as soon as possible. It was delicious and hearty and healthy – everything a January meal should be! As you can see, Rand has already given his approval. What more spur to action could you need?

Vegan Sloppy Joes

Ingredients:

1 cup brown lentils
1 TBL olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato sauce
2.5 TBL tomato paste
1/4 cup brown sugar (add 1 TBL at a time, to taste)
2-3 TBL Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tsp Coleman’s mustard powder
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp Spanish paprika

Directions:

Put the lentils in a pot and cover with two inches of water.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the lentils are almost fully cooked.   Rise with cool water and let drain.

While the lentils are cooking, prep the vegetables.  You can cut the pieces any size you want, but I think it works best when the onion and red pepper pieces are cut small, so each piece is about the size of a lentil.  Next, heat 1 TBL or so of olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat (I used my stainless 3qt pot) and cook veggies until translucent.  Then reduce heat to medium and add the rest of the ingredients (but not the lentils, yet!).  Simmer, covered, for a few minutes until the sauce is heated through.

When the sauce is heated, add the lentils to the mix and stir.  Now just let the pot bubble until the lentils are the texture you desire and the sauce is the right consistency.  I like it when my sauce is glossy and smooth, clinging to the lentils rather than souping out across the plate – so I let it simmer for awhile. Just be sure to keep stirring if you do the same thing!

To serve, toast up some hamburger buns, toss on the sloppy joe mix, and serve. It tastes especially good with a handful of spring greens and a light grating of parmesan cheese sandwiched in. And if you have any leftovers, I recommend serving some sloppy joe mix on top of half a bun, with a poached egg on top.

Serves 6-8.

 

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