Beer-Infused Lentil Sloppy Joes

Since we've moved, I've been a little more adventurous in my cooking. I have a section of my recipe book for all of my good vegetarian recipes, but it's gotten little love lately. You know -- people get busy and you don't have time to make a decent meal for yourself.

Well, that changes tonight. You too can make this easy (and tasty!) meal for dinner. My husband, the meat-eater, didn't want to admit that he liked this recipe...but he ate ALL OF IT. And I mean all of it. This recipe should make four sandwiches and he ate three servings, while I ate one. I have to admit, I was a little bummed about this. I was really hoping for next day leftovers for me. But that's what happens when you live with a constantly ravenous husband. I should know better.

Lentils inherently have a meaty flavor and their texture mimics sloppy joe chunks. This recipe has some zip thanks to the Worcestershire sauce and ketchup/mustard mixture. I bet hot sauce would work well in this recipe too!

My favorite thing about this recipe? That you have a choice in eating meatless sloppy joes. You don't have to eat some frozen soy concoction that has questionable health benefits. Plus, this recipe is pretty simple. It's a good gateway recipe for novice cooks. I hope that you enjoy it!

Beer-Infused Lentil Sloppy Joes
2 T. olive oil
1/3 c. onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1/3 c. bell pepper, chopped
1/2 c. ketchup, divided, plus more to taste
1 T. yellow mustard, plus more to taste
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 c. lentils
1/2 tsp. oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
2 T. Worcestershire sauce (be sure that it's vegan!)
1/4 c. beer, optional

Boil a pot of water and cook the 1/2 cup of lentils as directed -- but add the oregano to the pot. For mine, I used split red lentils, so they cooked even quicker and they have that "sloppy joe" look about them once they're done. I added the dry beans to 4 cups of water, brought it to a boil, and then reduced it to a simmer for about 25 minutes. If you're using whole lentils, you may have to cook them for up to 40 minutes.

In a large sauce pan, add one tablespoon of oil and saute the carrot, onion, bell pepper, and two tablespoons of ketchup. Add in the beer (if desired) and allow the liquid to reduce.

When the lentils are done, drain them and add them to the pan with another tablespoon of oil. Add the remaining ketchup and other ingredients (mustard, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper). Fry and combine the ingredients until they are one big sloppy joe mess and it suits your taste. 

You can serve the meal in sandwich form or eat it straight out of the pan -- I made some open-face sandwiches for me and my husband. These sloppy joes were a hit! My parents are coming to visit this weekend and I can't wait to make this recipe for my mom -- I know she will love the zippy flavor of these lentil sloppy joes!