I love holidays that revolve around food. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, 4th of July. Each one has a specific food that I associate and love. And so while a football game may not necessarily be a holiday, it is definitely something that people celebrate and it has a lot to do with food. As I mentioned with these vegetarian buffalo bites, I was interested in testing out some meat-free options to see how they held up in comparison with their traditional counterparts.
I played around with the idea of a sloppy joe, since that always makes me think of sporting events. I’ve never really seen one served at a hockey game (the only event I’ll attend) but still, the image came to mind. And so I went with lentil sloppy joes. Lentils tend to have a really hearty, meaty quality to them. If you are looking to sub out meat but aren’t daring enough to try one of the standard substitutions like tofu, lentils are a decent choice. Mixed with tomato sauce and veggies and loaded with spices, these sloppy joes tasted pretty darned much like a real sandwich.
Now, I didn’t add cheese to mind mainly because I didn’t have any cheese on hand. it was a sad day. Had my fridge been well-stocked, I would have definitely added a thick slice of American cheese. It would have added something extra. I highly recommend, should your fridge be well-stocked, that you add cheese. Just because it’s cheese and everyone loves cheese, right?
- 1 cup green lentils
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 15 ounces crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 3 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- sliced rolls for serving
- Place lentils in a saucepan and cover with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and cover, cooking for 30 minutes until tender.
- In a large pan, heat oil over medium high. Add in onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in carrot and cook an additional 5 minutes until carrots are softened.
- Stir in crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and stir well to combine.
- Stir in chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and cumin and mix well to completely incorporate. Mix in maple syrup and apple cider vinegar and stir well.
- Turn to low and simmer until lentils have finished cooking. Once lentils are finished, place them in the sauce pan with the tomato sauce. Stir well to completely incorporate.
- Cook an additional 15 minutes to thicken. Use a spoon and heap a large serving onto your rolls immediately before serving.