Sloppy Joes will forever remind me of It Takes Two. Yes, with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, shame on you. It is a classic. Well, at least it is for this girl. I grew up with that movie and I’m proud to admit it. But back to THIS recipe. Vegetarian Sloppy Joes are here to mess up your kitchen, your face and your hands. That’s right they come by their name honestly. Extra sloppy, extra delicious, and just extra.
Creating these red lentil sloppy joes had me rewatching clips from It Takes Two on YouTube. the quality was poor but it still made me smile. There is the sloppy joes scene AKA the big gooey messy burger and then there is the food fight scene that starts with a bowl of mac and cheese. I’ve only been in a food fight once, and it was a condiment fight. Picture me covered from head to toe in ketchup, mustard, mayo and relish. It was gross and sticky but actually a lot of fun! The cleanup- not so much fun. Needless to say, maybe don’t start a food fight with these vegan sandwiches… or maybe these vegan sloppy joes are just what a good food fight needs…
how to prepare red lentils
Preparing the red lentils for these vegetarian sloppy joes is straightforward. The lentils need to be rinsed with water first and then added to a medium saucepan. Two cups of freshwater are next added to the lentils. Bring the lentil/water mixture to a boil and then turn the temperature to a gentle simmer for 18 minutes. At the 18 minute mark, the lentils should be soft but not mushy. If there is any excess water, just drain it and then set the lentils to the side until you are ready to add them to the rest of the ingredients.
Check these tips out to avoid making any mistakes when cooking lentils.
here are are a few reasons why I love these vegetarian sloppy joes, so listen up!
- These red lentil sloppy joes are protein-rich! Getting asked “where do you get your protein?” from non-vegetarians is a big pet peeve of mine. I’m usually very open and happy to educate, but maybe it’s because I’ve eaten plant-based for 10 years that the question has run its course for me. I also feel that nowadays there are so many vegan restaurants and a ton of information openly available that I’m always shocked that people are still asking it. But when it doubt just talk about lentils because these babies are loaded with protein!
- I have to admit, I wasn’t a big fan of sloppy joes growing up. The scene from It Takes Two – I loved- but when one was sitting right in front of me- I didn’t like its messy nature. I didn’t like it when my food was touching when I was growing up, so sloppy joes were a nightmare. Well, these vegan sandwiches are STILL messy, it just took me at the ripe age of 29 to enjoy them.
- The Picky Husband who comes by his name so freakin’ honestly, loves these messy vegan sandwiches. He was so shocked that I made lentils taste good. I’d say this recipe is a big win- the Picky Husband is a fan and it only takes 30 minutes to make.
These red lentil sloppy joes are a fun and quick summer meal to make. The added bonus is that it only takes 30 minutes to make them! I love a good and delicious 30-minute meal that doesn’t skimp on taste. I hope these vegetarian sloppy joes take you for a little trip down memory lane or at least get you daydreaming about an epic lunchroom food fight like the one from It Takes Two.
vegetarian sloppy joes
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- 2 cup water
- 2 tsp oil of choice
- 1 small onion
- 2 medium carrots (roughly 1/2 cup finely chopped)
- 2-3 celery sticks (roughly 1/2 cup finely chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp bbq sauce
- 1 tbsp apple sauce
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 buns of choice
- Prepare the red lentils. Rinse 1/2 cup of red lentils in water and then drain. Add the lentils to a medium pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 18 minutes with no lid. After 18 minutes, lentils should be soft and cooked. If there is any liquid leftover- drain it, then set the lentils to the side.
- While the lentils are cooking, finely chop the onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Add 2 tsp of oil to a pan over medium heat. Add the onion first, let it saute for 5 minutes, or until it starts to brown up. Then add the carrots, celery and garlic. Let saute for another 5 minutes or until veggies are looking cooked and golden.
- Add the tomato paste to the veggie mixture along with the bbq sauce, apple sauce and the onion powder. Thoroughly combine.
- At this point, add in the cooked lentils. Mix the lentils with the other ingredients. Add the vegetable broth to thin out the mixture. Let it simmer until a desired consistency has formed and everything is warmed all the way through.
- Evenly distribute the lentil mixture into 4 hamburger buns. Option to top with something pickled (see notes).
- Store any leftover lentil mixture in a sealed container for a few days. Reheat before eating. Although best when fresh.