I love comfort foods and for me they are usually stodgy and leave me feeling a little guilty afterwards. These lentil sloppy Joes are the best of both worlds, as they are a healthier version of an old favourite. I have always been fascinated by sloppy Joes, their quirky name and popularity had me eager to try one for ages. When I finally got my hands on my first one, I never looked back. It was like foods’ version of a cuddle. These lentil sloppy Joes live up to all my childhood expectation of this American diner treat without the meat.
I don’t what it is about sloppy Joes that makes them so appealing, in essence they’re just mince and bread. But if done right, they are a savoury sensation. They are a bread treat overflowing with salty goodness.If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know that I adore lentils. They are the perfect meat-replacement pulse as you can use them to recreate all your mincemeat favourites. I love their bitsy texture and how they take on flavours so well. I have used them to make things like spicy lentil wraps and black bean lentil burgers.The combination of lentils and mushrooms in this recipe makes for a very meaty texture. To add to the mincemeat texture, I finely chopped all my veggies. It was a little tedious and time consuming, but trust me it will be worth it in the end.Sloppy Joes are traditionally made with burger buns; I used the Woolworths brown burger rolls. Another product from woollies that is my newest discovery and the flavour maker of this recipe is their Spanish smoked paprika spice.The Woolworth’s smoked Spanish paprika spice.. My goodness people THIS. SPICE. IS. AMAZING. The smokey flavour is beyond words. It’s slightly sweet warm taste works for all savoury and barbecue dishes. It can be used with oil to baste veggies for the grill or in soups and stews. I am literally smothering everything in it, so expect to see loads of it. It is the one ingredient that takes these sloppy Joes to new heights, so if you can get your hands on a smoked paprika spice, definitely do so.
(Makes 4 sloppy Joes)
250g precooked lentils
1 cup brown mushrooms, finely diced
¼ cup red pepper, finely diced
¼ cup green pepper, finely diced
½ cup white onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons olive oil (or frying oil of your choice)
2 teaspoons ground barbecue spice
¾ teaspoon smoked paprika spice
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chopped spring onion, to garnish
Sloppy Joe sauce:
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce OR 2 tablespoons HP sauce
1-tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Tabasco (optional)
Begin by preparing the sloppy Joe sauce. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside. If you do not like hot food, you can leave the Tabasco sauce out, as there is a fair amount of heat coming from the cayenne pepper and smoked paprika spice. Vegan Worcestershire sauce or a Worcestershire sauce without anchovies can be quite hard to get your hand on. HP sauce delivers the same kind of flavour as it is slightly tart and it’s more readily available. If you are going to use HP sauce you may add 2 teaspoons of water to the mixture to make it more fluid.If you are using canned lentils, rinse them and set them aside. Finely dicing all the vegetables. Heat a large skillet on a medium heat until warm then add your olive oil. To the warm oil, add the onions, red peppers and green peppers. Fry for 4 – 5 minutes or until the onions are softened and translucent.Add the mushrooms and lentils. Fry for a further 3 – 4 minutes before adding the sloppy Joe sauce. Stir the sauce into the sloppy Joe mix and cook for 2 minutes and turn of the heat. Cut the burger buns in half and toast in a dry clean pan until browned. Take the toasted buns and pile high with the lentil sloppy Joe mix. Garnish with chopped spring onion and enjoy!These sloppy Joes come together quickly and work well for lunch, dinner and a miraculous hangover breakfast. If you haven’t had a sloppy Joe yet and you love lentils as much as I do, give these a try you won’t be disappointed.