Years ago, I dabbled in lentils. Indian spiced lentils, lentil burgers, lentil chili…all lentils all the time. One of my favorite recipes at the time was for “Snobby Joes,” or, sloppy joes made with lentils in place of ground beef. They were–they are–fantastic. Smoky and sweet and comforting while also remaining healthy and vegetarian.
If you like lentils, by all means–go ahead and make this recipe for lentil sloppy joes. Truth is, they sop up all the flavor of the spiced tomato sauce, so you’ll be left with very little earthy, lentil flavor. But if you’re not one hundred percent digging the idea of making a lentil-only dish, or if you’re just getting your family into the world of vegetarian options, this is a recipe to help you take a step in that direction.
*Similarly, if the very thought of lentils disgusts you, feel free to use all beef in this recipe.
Using half beef, half lentils means fewer calories, less fat, and lots more fiber. And, you’ll keep that lovable beefy flavor intact.
Beef and Lentil Sloppy Joes
- 1 cup dry lentils
- ½ pound extra lean 90% ground beef
- ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 15- ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 8- ounce can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- In a small saucepan, combine the lentils and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.
- About 10 minutes before the lentils are done, start the beef: Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and onion and cook, crumbling the beef as it browns, until the beef is no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano, brown sugar, mustard, and salt.
- Bring the mixture up to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Serve on hamburger buns or rolls of your choice.