Sloppy Joes Plus

“Plus? What is this ‘plus’ business?” … I can hear it now. Well, the “plus” is LENTILS! *crowd cheers* Yes, these sloppy joes plus have lentils 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, but if you want regular old American sloppy joes, just make the recipe as directed below and skip adding the lentils in the last step. Without the lentils this is a very good, classic homemade 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 and give lentils a shot.

You can also try stirring in a can of red beans, kidney beans, or even pinto beans instead of the lentils.

BTW, this recipe is super quick and easy so it’s a real winner for beginners!

Post updated 3-18-17.

Sloppy Joes Plus

The plus in Sloppy Joes Plus is lentils! Tender lentils make the perfect addition to ground beef and increase the texture, flavor, and nutrients! BudgetBytes.com

4.7 from 15 reviews
Sloppy Joes Plus
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $10.28
Cost Per Serving: $1.29
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup dry brown lentils $0.34
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.13
  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • 1 medium vidalia (or sweet) onion $0.53
  • 1 medium green bell pepper $0.50
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef $4.57
  • 15oz. can tomato sauce $0.69
  • 3 oz. tomato paste $0.29
  • 3 Tbsp cider vinegar $0.09
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar $0.12
  • ½ Tbsp dijon mustard (optional) $0.04
  • ½ tsp salt $0.02
  • ½ tsp chili powder $0.05
  • 8 medium hamburger buns $2.29
Instructions
  1. Before cooking the lentils, sort through them to remove any stones or debris. Bring a large sauce pot to a boil over high heat, 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. The lentils can be simmering while you make the rest of the sloppy joes.
  2. Mince the garlic and finely dice the onion. Add both to a large skillet along with the olive oil and sauté over medium heat until they begin to soften (3-5 minutes).
  3. While the onion and garlic are cooking, finely dice the bell pepper. Add the diced bell pepper to the skillet and sauté a few minutes more.
  4. Add the ground beef and continue to cook until the beef is fully browned (about 5-7 minutes).
  5. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, cider vinegar, brown sugar, dijon, chili powder, and salt. Stir well and let simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened to your liking.
  6. Stir in the cooked lentils and heat through. Taste and adjust the salt, if needed. Serve warm on a bun!
Notes
*Brown lentils take approximately 20 minutes to cook. If you are using a different variety (like green or French lentils), be sure to check the packaging for recommended cooking time.

The plus in Sloppy Joes Plus is lentils! Tender lentils make the perfect addition to ground beef and increase the texture, flavor, and nutrients! BudgetBytes.comThe plus in Sloppy Joes Plus is lentils! Tender lentils make the perfect addition to ground beef and increase the texture, flavor, and nutrients! BudgetBytes.com

Step By Step Photos

Sort LentilsLentils 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 3/4 cup brown lentils to remove stones or debris. The easiest way to do this is to spread them out on a rimmed baking sheet so they can all be seen. Pick out any stones or other particles. 

Cooked Lentils

Bring a large sauce pot full of water to a boil over high heat, then add the sorted lentils. Turn the heat down to low, replace the lid, and let them simmer for 20 minutes (you can begin preparing the rest of the sloppy joes while the lentils simmer). After 20 minutes test a few lentils for doneness. They should be tender, but firm enough to hold together. Drain the lentils in a colander and set them aside until you’re ready to add them to the sloppy joes.

Sweat Onion and GarlicMince one clove of garlic and finely dice one sweet onion (like vidalia). Add the onion and garlic to a large skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat until they begin to soften (3-5 minutes).

Green Bell PepperWhile the onion and garlic are cooking, finely dice one green bell pepper. Add the diced pepper to the skillet and sauté a few minutes more, or just until it begins to soften (it will continue cooking as we add the rest of the ingredients).

Browned BeefAdd 1 lb. lean ground beef and continue to sauté until it is fully browned (5-7 min.). 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 off the fat.

Sloppy Joe Sauce IngredientsOnce the beef is browned, add a 15oz. can of tomato sauce, 3oz. tomato paste (half of a 6oz. can, or about 4 Tbsp), 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 3 Tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp chili powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. This chili powder is a mild spice blend, not hot red cayenne pepper.

Tomato Sauce CanI always get a lot of questions from my non-American readers about what “tomato sauce” is, so here is a photo of the can. It’s basically tomato purée that has a small amount of salt and seasoning. It is not the same as spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce. It’s very, very lightly seasoned puréed tomato.  

Beef Sloppy JoesStir the ingredients in the skillet together and let simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened to your liking. If you want plain beef sloppy joes, stop here and serve this mixture in a bun.

Sloppy Joes Plus finishedOR, add those cooked lentils, stir, and heat through. It’s always a good idea to taste again after adding the lentils and adjust the salt if needed.

Sloppy Joes Plus ready to freezeThis makes a pretty big batch (about 8 cups), so I am freezing half of it! Make sure you cool the mixture completely before transferring to the freezer (and don’t put the hot mixture straight into a Ziploc bag or it could melt).

The plus in Sloppy Joes Plus is lentils! Tender lentils make the perfect addition to ground beef and increase the texture, flavor, and nutrients! BudgetBytes.comAnd that’s it! Sloppy Joes PLUS made in no time at all. Totally tasty and satisfying! :D

The plus in Sloppy Joes Plus is lentils! Tender lentils make the perfect addition to ground beef and increase the texture, flavor, and nutrients! BudgetBytes.com