Prep this slow cooker recipe in the morning, and come home to a meal that’s a healthy twist on the traditional sloppy joe.
By Kirsten Johnson
It’s hard to admit, but summer is beginning to wrap up and the kids will be back in school before you know it. There’s that rush to get out the door in the morning, practices and appointments after school, then the age-old question, “What in the world am I going to make for dinner?”
It can be difficult not to fall into the trap that many families face — the allure of ordering a pizza or grabbing some takeout just to get the family fed. In mere minutes you can prep, set and forget these crock-pot lentil sloppy joes and have dinner waiting for you when you get home.
Though there are several varieties of lentils, I prefer to use green, French or brown lentils (pictured) in this recipe. Unassuming lentils, edible seeds from the legume family, are inexpensive little nutritional powerhouses. They are packed with vitamins and minerals as such iron, B6, potassium and zinc, and offer 16 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein per cup.
Eat this vegan twist on a classic sloppy in a bun or open faced on toast. You can even top it with an egg in the morning for breakfast.
2 cups brown, green or French lentils, rinsed and picked over
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
½ cup tomato paste
1 ½ cups yellow onion, diced small
1 ¼ cups green bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon oregano
1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
½ tablespoon parsley
½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
½ teaspoon cayenne, optional
Black pepper to taste
Buns or bread for toast
Add all ingredients to your crock-pot, and stir until well combined. A whisk often helps break up and incorporate the tomato paste. Cook on high, covered for 3.5 to 4 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.
Test the lentils to make sure they are cooked through. They should be soft, but with a slight al dente bite to them. If they are not done or the mixture isn’t thick enough, recover and check every 30 minutes until they are done.
If you don’t think to make this until it’s close to dinnertime, never fear! Throw everything into a pot on the stove, bring to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer or low bubble. Dinner will be on the table in no time!
See more recipes from Kirsten:
- Omelet Muffin Cups for Mornings on the Go
- Vegetarian Friendly White Bean Salad Recipe
- Maple Brown Sugar Acorn Squash Recipe
- Vegan Cranberry Orange Muffin Recipe
- Vegetable Miso Soup Recipe
- Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie Recipe
- Kale and Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe
- No Mayo Potato Salad Recipe
- Black Bean and Vegetable Salad Recipe
- Rice Paper Veggie Roll Recipe