Okay, so I definitely didn't think I'd be posting this recipe. I made these last week after flipping past them in a slow-cooker book I was pressured into buying. I was working a full-time job and was on the hunt for easy ways to put homemade dinner on the table without stressing. So, off to the bookstore we went. It was a family trip and I made a beeline to the cookbooks without even stopping at the home decor magazines or bestsellers, which is a feat. It wasn't three minutes later when our then two year old pooped in her recently potty-trained pants. We had to leave. I had to pick a book, so I did. I'm convinced that I chose the lamest of the lamer slow-cooker books in the bunch as I have not made anything from it since its impulsive induction into my well-loved and always-growing family of cookbooks. Yeah, it's a family. We're tight.
They're like loving mothers who don't correct your grammar at every given opportunity.
Or like quiet sisters who don't criticize the way you answer your phone. I love them.
I know, I have an addiction that can't be helped. I secretly wish for one as a gift for each passing holiday, I read them like novels at bedtime, and my Amazon wish list is frighteningly long. Like, so long, that if I lived to be 110, I don't think I will be able to purchase all the ones I want. They're just so beautiful and glossy. Okay, I'm officially crazy.
I sort of resent the lame slow cooker book for taking up space on my cookbook shelf when I don't even have room to house the ones I do love. They end up overflowing onto counters, phonebook cabinets, and dining room floors and shelves. And then, meat loving husband gets annoyed with obvious cookbook addiction and threatens to throw them away. At which point, I throw a tantrum. Obviously. When I flipped to these Lentil Sloppy Joes, I thought it would be entertaining to tell Jason we were having sloppy joes. Comfort food, a pot of savory goodness wrought with ground meat and a dark brown tomato sauce. My meat eater would start salivating, only to find out he was sinking his carnivorous teeth into lentils, instead of ground beef. Yes, I am cruel and I like to see him suffer.
But, unbelievably, he wiped the savory sauce off his chin and smiled, hungrily going in for another bite. What? He liked them? Wait, this is no fun. There was supposed to be evil eyes, and complaining of a legume obsessed spouse and how he was already feeling lightheaded due to lack of protein. And I was going to smirk, knowing how I had mislead the poor lad. Now, I get to play the part of a thoughtful housewife instead of deceitful trickster. I do not like this role. But, I do like these sloppy joes. So did the kids. So did the man. Make them. Now.
Lentil Sloppy Joes
I served these on fluffy little whole wheat buns with my favorite cabbage slaw and a green salad. The picture above is of lunch the next day when I served them on whole wheat pitas with a little Slaw and Joe tucked inside. Both ways were totally Nummy.
1 T vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 t dried oregano leaves
1/2 t coarse salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup tomato ketchup (I use Trader Joe's Organic Ketchup because it tastes
amazing and because it does not have high fructose
corn syrup in it)
1/4 cup water
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T brown sugar
1 T Dijon mustard
2 cups cooked lentils (You can use canned lentils, but they're sort of soggy
for me,especially when they're going to spend an extensive amount
of time in a slow cooker. I just cooked up some dried ones and kept the rest
in my fridge for salads and such during the week.)
Heat oil in a large pan. Add onion and celery and cook until soft, about five minutes. Add garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to taste, and cook, stirring for one minute. Stir in ketchup, water, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and mustard. Let the flavors mix up for a few minutes. Transfer mixture to your slow cooker.
Add lentils and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours, until hot and bubbly. Serve with hot buns and hot sauce, for those who want it. Add a big green salad and some crunchy slaw if you're looking to balance things out a bit.
Note: I imagine this meal being pretty great when the kids are old enough to have all kinds of activities going on. I could just leave the slow-cooker on the counter on Warm, buns in a warm oven and the salad easily accessible. Although I dread the day when they don't have time to sit down for family dinner, and I will resist as long as possible...it is inevitable. They can just run through the kitchen, grab a plate and load up.
...and rock on with your Vegetarian Self.