Beef and Lentil Sloppy Joes

by Andie Mitchell on November 18, 2012

sloppy joe

Years ago, I dabbled in lentils. Indian spiced lentils, lentil burgers, lentil chili…all lentils all the time. One of my favorite recipes at the time was for “Snobby Joes,” or, sloppy joes made with lentils in place of ground beef. They were–they are–fantastic. Smoky and sweet and comforting while also remaining healthy and vegetarian.

sloppy joe

If you like lentils, by all means–go ahead and make this recipe for lentil sloppy joes. Truth is, they sop up all the flavor of the spiced tomato sauce, so you’ll be left with very little earthy, lentil flavor. But if you’re not one hundred percent digging the idea of making a lentil-only dish, or if you’re just getting your family into the world of vegetarian options, this is a recipe to help you take a step in that direction.

*Similarly, if the very thought of lentils disgusts you, feel free to use all beef in this recipe. 

Using half beef, half lentils means fewer calories, less fat, and lots more fiber. And, you’ll keep that lovable  beefy flavor intact.

sloppy joe

 Beef and Lentil Sloppy Joes

1 cup uncooked green lentils
4 cups water
½ lb extra lean (90%) ground beef
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon salt
15 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard

Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and pour in 4 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.

About 10 minutes before the lentils are done boiling, set a large frying pan over medium heat. Saute the ground beef and onion for about 7 minutes, crumbling with a spatula as you cook, until the beef is no longer pink. Add the garlic and saute a minute more.  Add the cooked lentils, the chili powder, oregano and salt and mix. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the brown sugar and mustard and heat through. Turn the heat off and let sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can blend. Serve on bulky rolls.

serves 4-6

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

SarahRolls November 19, 2012 at 2:32 am

I like this idea a lot. My boyfriend has said I can start trying to sneak more veggie and low fat foods into his diet only on the condition that he doesn’t notice I’m doing it. If he does, the experiment stops and we go back to roast dinners four times a week, cause that’s all he cooks(eeek).
x

Reply

Laura Brooke Allen November 19, 2012 at 2:54 am

Oh! You know Post Punk Kitchen!?! You just keep getting better and better with every post!

Reply

Heather@SugarDish(Me) November 19, 2012 at 5:07 am

I did a vegetarian sloppy joe recipe from Chef Connie about a month ago… sooooo good! I’m sold on the veggie joe option. I’m going to try this with lentils (the recipe I posted called for chick peas/black beans)! I DID manage to fool my kids with the other recipe. This is goooorgeous.

Reply

Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) November 19, 2012 at 5:43 am

I love using lentils like this. I make a similar recipe for sloppy joes and use pinto beans to cut back on meat and bulk up nutrition but next time I’ll use lentils for sure. Lentil taco “meat” is also a favorite =)

Reply

Tamara November 19, 2012 at 6:43 am

This sounds phenomenal! What a great idea. Thanks, Andie!

Reply

Nicole@ livingthesweetlifestl.wordpress.com November 19, 2012 at 8:16 am

I cannot wait to try this dish! I have been craving sloppy joes lately and I haven’t really found a mix that I like…this sounds perfect.

Reply

Bonnie November 19, 2012 at 8:20 am

I love your site, Andie, and this looks like another great dinner option. I notice that for some of the entries you list nutritional breakdowns and others you don’t. I’m working on real life while still losing weight and love the info that the nutritional breakdown gives. You may have said somewhere whether not giving a breakdown means the recipe has lots more calories, but I can’t tell. How does this recipe stack up?

Reply

kendrrat November 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

I think I’d do the half lentil option but maybe I’d try ground turkey or pork instead of beef? Hmm sounds like its worth a try! My boyfriend is solidly a protien-every-meal man, so this could be a good compromise, since I’m starting to dabble in vegetable-based/vegetarian meals.
kendrrat
kendrrat.blogspot.com

Reply

Laura November 20, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Hi there,
I’m also trying to lose weight and appreciate the calorie count. FYI that this is a great resource where you can list recipe ingredients and it spits out the nutritional information, including calories: http://caloriecount.about.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php

Reply

Susanne November 19, 2012 at 11:04 am

This sound sooooo great!

Reply

Sarah (The Simple Dietitian) November 20, 2012 at 3:21 am

I love the veggie version so I’m sure I’m going to love this version too! :D

Reply

Bek @ Crave November 20, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Yum these look great! They’d make everyone in the household happy!

Reply

Deborah November 21, 2012 at 10:51 am

Andie,

Just wondering how you are doing with counting your calories weekly? I am still counting them at every meal and try to stay within range of my budget. When I do not count I get in trouble so I wanted to see if you had any good advice.

Reply

Gloria November 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm

I made these for dinners on Tuesday, the day after I read this post and I absolutely loved them! I did the half lentil half beef version. They were sweet, spicy, and left me satisfied but not overly stuffed like a normal sloppy joe does.

Thanks so much Andie!

Reply

Jillian November 25, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I made this for my boyfriend tonight and we loved it! We substituted venison for ground beef which was delicious! This recipe is being added to the permanent rotation list :)

Reply

Laura Brooke Allen December 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Huge hit with my family tonight!
I subbed my bread for eggplant cutlets!
Huzzah!

Reply

Acr8tz April 16, 2013 at 7:16 pm

I made these for dinner tonight and they are AWESOME! I made a few modifications, most significant is that I used sun-dried tomato pesto instead of tomato paste (I was out). They came OUT awesome! A definite “must try”.

Reply

Andrea September 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Just made this — incredibly easy, and quite tasty. Thank you!

Reply

Donna October 29, 2013 at 4:15 pm

I have the worlds pickiest eater that I am trying to feed….he is 11, and I am starting to lose hope This is on the cook top now so I have my fingers crossed he will like it. Keep up the great work :)

Reply

Karen January 24, 2014 at 2:36 pm

trying this one tonight!!! trying to keep the yummy recipes in with the diet stuffs :D

Reply

Melanie April 9, 2014 at 8:08 pm

This recipe was my first time cooking with lentils and my husband and my first time eating them. Loved this recipe! Will definitely be using again :)

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: