When I was a kid my aunt used to take us for happy meals and she would always get me a burger never minding the fact that I hated the burgers. I’ll never forget just picking at the bun on the top and only eating that. So it’s surprising to me that I actually loved sloppy joes as a kid.
You know the ones I’m talking about ground beef mixed with the sauce from a can topped with a slice of American cheese. Oh I was so here for them. I think it had more to do with the flavor and I just sort of dealt with the meat being there.
Sloppy joes were definitely a favorite of mine and I had been craving them like crazy. The last time I actually ate a sloppy joe was back in 2008 I think. I made them for my dad and we ate sloppy joes and tater tots while he made me watch The Strangers. Is that what that movie was called? The ones were the people are terrorized by the people in the scarecrow masks. It was awful and I think that’s the only time my dad and I ever watched a scary movie together and I still can’t quite figure out exactly why. At least the food was good.
Scary movies aside it had been a really long time since I had a sloppy joe and I decided to reach for my favorite ground beef substitute and remedy that right quick. I don’t know if this is exactly like the stuff I grew up eating but it’s pretty dang close and my memory taste buds (is that even a thing?) were well happy.
My parents would make them with home made potato chips which are just sliced russet potatoes fried in a skillet and they are delicious. I decided to go the baked sweet potato route though which came out amazing and are the perfect side for these vegan sloppy joes.
I feel like sloppy joes are a love em or hate em kind of food but I guarantee if you love them you will love these so much and they are so simple to make. It honestly doesn’t take much more effort than it would to make them the way we all grew up eating them. Maybe just a little more chopping but trust me it’s worth it.
If you do try this or any other recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #modernlittlevictories on Instagram! I’d love to hear what you think and what you create in your kitchen.
Lentil Sloppy Joes (Vegan + GF)
- 1 cup dried lentils rinsed well
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 medium green pepper diced
- ½ small yellow onion diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tbsp mustard
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- salt & pepper to taste
- Hamburger buns
- Optional for serving: onions pickles, sliced cheese
Place your lentils and water in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.
Once the water is boiling reduce the heat to medium and let them cook for about 20 minutes or until tender. Drain liquid and set aside.
While your lentils are cooking in a wide pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Sautee onion and bell pepper for about 5-8 minutes or until soft and onion is translucent.
Add in tomato sauce, tomato paste, mustard, and spices. Mix until combined. Reduce heat to about medium-low.
Add cooked lentils to sauce mixture and let cook for another 5-10 minutes or until sauce is thickened and flavorful. Add in any more flavorings you might need.
Serve piled on a hamburger bun with a side of sweet potato chips.