VEGAN SLOPPY JOES

id your parents ever make you sloppy joes growing up? If so, welcome to the club.
If not, I’m sorry, you poor neglected soul. (Just kidding, but also kind of not kidding).
Sloppy joes are so delicious! And I haven’t had them since my mom made them for me back in high school. My sister and I would return home from sports practice absolutely famished and we’d eat two open-faced sloppy joes with a side of mac ‘n’ cheese.
Oh, how my diet has changed since then! But my craving for this sweet, savory, smoky sandwich has not. Let’s do this!

VEGAN SLOPPY JOES

Ingredients
LENTILS
  • 2 cups water (I used half water, half vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup green lentils, well rinsed

SLOPPY JOES
  • 2 Tbsp olive or grape seed oil
  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, minced (plus more for serving)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 cloves yield ~1 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 medium red or green bell pepper, diced
  • Sea salt and black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce*
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut sugar (plus more to taste)
  • 1-2 Tbsp vegan-friendly Worcestershire sauce* (like this brand)
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (plus more to taste)
  • 1 pinch smoked or regular paprika (optional)

Instructions
  • To a small saucepan, add liquid (I used 1 cup water, 1 cup vegetable broth for added flavor // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and rinsed lentils and heat over medium-high heat.
  • Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 18 minutes, or until tender. The water should have a constant simmer (not boil). Drain off any excess liquid and set aside.
  • In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Season with a pinch each salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  • Sautè for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the peppers and onions are tender and slightly browned.
  • Next add tomato sauce, coconut sugar, vegan worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin, and paprika (optional). Stir to combine.
  • Once the lentils are cooked, add them to the skillet as well, and stir to combine.
  • Continue cooking the mixture over medium-low heat until completely warmed through and thick, stirring occasionally - about 5-10 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more chili powder and/or cumin for smokiness, salt for saltiness, coconut sugar for sweetness, or worcestershire for depth of flavor.