One of my favorite meals to make for my children when they were growing up were sloppy joes. As a busy, working mom, meals needed to be quick, easy and appealing to my children. Now when I make this dish I still want it to be quick and easy, but more importantly I want it to be as nutritious as possible.
So, here is my vegetarian spin on a family favorite.
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups of chopped mushrooms – I use portobello mushrooms, but crimini can also be used
1 small onion – chopped
1 medium pepper (green, red, orange) – chopped
2 cloves of garlic or 1 teaspoon organic minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon red crushed pepper
1 1/2 cup cooked lentils (or 15 ounce can)
1 can tomato sauce (14 ounce)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup ketchup
Buns of your choice (white/wheat/hearty grain)
Heat oil and sauté onions, fresh peppers and garlic. When onions become clear add the 2 cups of mushrooms and sauté until tender. Add in your sea salt and crushed pepper and sauté for 5 minutes more. Add in the lentils, tomato sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes. I like to taste test the sauce at this point. If you are okay with the flavor, then stop here.
But I like a little more zing so I add in the mustard and ketchup. Feel free to gradually add in the last two ingredients, then you can get the perfect flavor you like. Mix and let everything simmer for the final 5-10 minutes.
Give it another taste test. If you like more kick, spice or salt then this is the time to make you personal flavoring modifications. Remember, you can always add a little cheese too.
If the flavor has met your expectations, turn off the heat. Leaving the cover off, let your dish reduce to a thicker consistency as the lentils swell and excess moisture evaporates through the cooling process. Serve on toasted buns and enjoy.
I’d love to get your feedback on modifications you’ve made to your version of this dish.