Have you ever made a vegan or veggie version of a recipe and then actually preferred it to the original? This was my experience recently when I swapped French lentils in for ground beef in my recipe for vegan sloppy Joe – the result was simply astonishing.
My younger sister was in town to hang out for a few days, and she is a vegetarian. Sure, it’s summer and we could easily subside on salads and gorgeous local berries, but I wanted to serve her something substantial. She works out rather extensively and, if it were me, I’d be starving afterward.
These vegetable-filled lentil Sloppy Joes were just the ticket, served up on a whole-wheat bun with homemade sweet zucchini relish and topped with ripe avocado scooped with a spoon.
This month on Jamieoliver.com, we’re focusing on special diets. The goal is to inspire you to get creative with your food, whether you are gluten intolerant, dairy free or follow a vegan diet – whatever your dietary decisions happen to be.
Lentils are one of my favourite dry-pantry staples to have around – for main meals or sides. We know lentils are packed with protein, but how about full of fibre? Yes! High in iron? Check. Thus they’re a smart choice for vegetarians and folks who are cutting back on their red meat.
These Lentil sloppy Joes are a filling, frugal, and totally satisfying meatless main. Final verdict? Even the kids liked them. That’s a win in my books.
Vegan lentil sloppy Joes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 red or yellow sweet pepper, diced
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 cup (200g) French lentils
1- 28oz (796ml) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
6 whole-wheat or sprouted grain buns, sliced in half
Toppings (optional): relish, pickles, avocado, coleslaw, sliced onions…anything goes!
- Heat the olive oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the diced onion, pepper and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes, or until they soften. Sprinkle in the cumin and chilli powder; cook for an additional minute.
- Add the lentils, 3 cups of water, tomato sauce, tomato paste and Sriracha. Increase heat to high and bring the lentils a simmer. Cook uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if the level falls below the lentils.
- Taste the lentils, and if they are sufficiently tender (stoves and pots may vary) add the salt and balsamic. Stir and serve over buttered buns you favourite toppings.