“Plus? What is this “plus” business?” … I can hear it now. Well, the “plus” is LENTILS! *crowd cheers* Yes, I added lentils to my sloppy joes for added fiber and to bulk it up a bit without bulking up the price.
I know, the idea of adding lentils to sloppy joes is going to frighten some of you to death… If you want regular old, American sloppy joes, just make the recipe as directed but skip adding the lentils in the last step. Without the lentils this is a very good, classic sloppy joe recipe. …but I gotta tell ya, it’s yummy with lentils. They add a nice texture and almost disappear visually (see photos below). Live on the edge, give lentils a shot.
If you don’t want to do lentils, you could try stirring in a can of red beans, kidney beans, or even pinto beans.
BTW, this recipe is super quick and easy so it’s a real winner for beginners!
Sloppy Joes Plus
- ¾ cup dry brown lentils $0.23
- 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.11
- 1 medium vidalia (or sweet) onion $0.69
- 1 medium green bell pepper $0.78
- 1 tsp minced garlic $0.12
- 1 lb. extra lean ground beef (93/7) $4.98
- 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce $0.88
- 3 oz. tomato paste $0.26
- 3 Tbsp cider vinegar $0.18
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar $0.12
- ½ Tbsp dijon mustard (optional) $0.04
- ½ tsp salt $0.03
- ½ tsp chili powder $0.07
- 8 medium whole wheat buns $2.48
- (the lentils): If you are using lentils, begin cooking them first. Sort through ¾ cup of dry brown lentils to remove any stones or debris. Give them a rinse under cool water. Bring 1.5 cups of water up to a boil and then add the lentils. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. Test the lentils to make sure they are tender and then drain in a colander. Set the cooked lentils aside until you are ready to add them to the sloppy joes. These can be simmering while you make the rest of the sloppy joes.
- Chop the onion into small pieces and add it to a large skillet along with the olive oil and minced garlic. Cook over medium heat.
- While the onion and garlic are cooking, cut the bell pepper into small pieces and add it to the skillet as well. Cook until all of the vegetables are soft and transparent (about 5 minutes).
- Add the ground beef and continue to cook until no red remains (about 7-10 minutes).
- Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, cider vinegar, brown sugar, dijon, chili powder, and salt. Stir well and heat through (about 5 minutes).
- Stir in the cooked lentils and heat through if needed (5 minutes). Serve warm on a whole wheat bun!
Step By Step Photos
Lentils cook really fast and require no presoaking. You can have them simmering while you make the rest of the sloppy joes. Begin by sorting through the lentils (to remove stones and debris) and giving them a quick rinse. Bring 1.5 cups of water up to a rolling boil and then add the lentils.
After adding the lentils to the boiling water, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes it should look like this. Give them a taste to make sure they are tender. You want them to still have some “tooth” so that they don’t fall apart into mush when stirred into the sloppy joes.
Drain the lentils in a colander and set them aside until you’re ready to add them to the sloppy joes. If you have them simmering while you make the sloppy joes, they’ll probably be done cooking right about the time you’re ready to add them in.
Chop the onion into a small dice and add it to a large skillet along with the minced garlic and olive oil. Cook over medium heat.
While the onion and garlic are cooking, cut the bell pepper into a small dice. Add it to the skillet and continue cooking.
Continue cooking until both the onion and bell pepper are soft and transparent (about 5 minutes after adding the bell pepper).
Add the ground beef and continue cooking until there is no red left. I used extra lean ground beef (93/7) so there was no need to drain off any fat. If you’re using a fattier beef, you may want to drain the fat off.
Add the can of tomato sauce and the tomato paste. 3 oz. is half of one of those little cans of tomato paste. The other half can be frozen and used later. I used frozen tomato paste here.
Also add the cider vinegar, brown sugar, dijon, chili powder, and salt. Stir until everything is well combined and then continue to cook until everything is warmed. If you are not using lentils, it is ready to serve at this point!
If you ARE using lentils, stir them in and warm everything through. You can barely even see them in there! Sneaky fiber!
Serve warm on buns or in a pita.