Best. Sloppy. Joes. Ever.

Craving cafeteria-style comfort food? I’ve got the perfect recipe for you.

“Snobby Joes” from Veganomicon is the perfect blend of yummy and healthy. Using lentils instead of meat, this recipe looks, tastes, and feels like the sloppy joes I ate as a kid.

One note: The chili powder in this recipe gives the joes a bit of a kick. Try cutting it to one or two tablespoons if you don’t like spicy. You can always add more in later if you want.


What you need:

  • 1 cup uncooked brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chile powder (See note above.)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2–3 tablespoons maple syrup (I used two.)
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 4-6 buns, sliced in half horizontally


What to do:

  1. Pour the lentils and water into a medium saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.
  2. About 10 minutes before the lentils are done, preheat a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and pepper in the oil for about 7 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute more.
  3. Stir in the cooked lentils, chili powder, oregano, and salt. Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup to taste and the mustard, and heat through.
  4. Turn off the heat and let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors can meld, or go ahead and eat immediately if you can’t wait.

The book says they like to serve these open faced; I’m a traditionalist. I like my sloppy joes cafeteria style served on a full bun and with some fries. In this case, I roasted some potato wedges with a bit of extra virgin olive oil, fresh dill, salt, and pepper.

Best. Fries. Ever.


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