Sunday, September 7, 2014

VeganMoFo Day 7 - Sloppy Lentil Joes Sandwiches

This is one of our favorite sandwich fillings. This recipe from Mary McDougall is tasty and easy to put together. I don't remember when it first appeared in print/on-line, but it's been in at least one newsletter and book, probably more than one each.

Sloppy Lentil Joes

This is a quick and easy meal that also reheats well for lunch the next day or two.  Serve this stuffed into a bun and eat with your hands, or ladle it over the buns open-face style and eat with a fork. I like to make fresh bread in my bread machine and ladle the Sloppy Joes over the bread.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes
Cooking Time:  1 hour
Servings:  8-10

3 1/3 cups water
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 ½ cups dried brown lentils
1  15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons prepared mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
freshly ground black pepper 

Place 1/3 cup of the water in a large pot.  Add the onions and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until onions soften slightly, about 5 minutes.  Add the chili powder and mix in well.  

Add the remaining water, the lentils, tomatoes, and the rest of the seasonings.  Mix well, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook over low heat for 55 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Serve on whole wheat buns, or fresh baked bread, with trimmings of your choice.

Unlike Mary, I prefer rolls to bread for this, and luckily I have a source for whole wheat ones made with very little oil. During the cooler weather I do make my own oil-free rolls in my bread machine. 

My usual changes to the recipe? Why, none at all. This is one recipe that's perfect as-is. Sometimes I just use 2 cans of rinsed and drained lentils, but only one store in town sells them and they frequently run out. Freshly made lentils taste better, anyway, and I experiment using different lentils. The recipe may say to use the brown ones but I've made this using red (VERY sloppy!), green, and black lentils.

I had a little problem with my lentils, though. I used some from a 3-pound bag that had been opened a few months ago but are dated 2016. After the first half hour I turned the heat back up to a slow boil. They boiled for an hour and a half after that, and not only were the lentils still hard, there was still a lot of water in the pot.

I gave up after another 15 minutes of boiling and added a 6 ounce can of tomato paste to thicken the sauce. The lentils were still a bit chewy, but at least it was more soupy than watery. I only have about a cup of lentils left in the bag. I'll either toss them in a soup that cooks for hours or maybe pressure cook them for twice the time and see if that helps.

Ignoring the firmness of the lentils, the sandwiches still tasted great.

I tried not to get much sauce in the spoon, and was already soaked into the bread. By the time I picked it up the whole thing collapsed into a soggy mess.

As for the number of servings, this is one recipe that my serving count matches Mary's. I had 2 sandwiches, my husband had three, and I put half the mixture away in the freezer for a quick meal in the future.

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