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Recipe: Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Mostly putting this down here so I have the recipe for myself. I put it in the Musa Publishing blog once, but since Musa has shut down I don’t expect that blog to hang around forever. So, from me to you, one of the few things I make that could properly be considered a specialty: vegetarian* sloppy joes!


  • 1 cup brown or green lentils
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 8oz can tomato paste
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • chili powder and/or paprika to taste
  • If you like it hot, add cayenne pepper or some sriracha to taste


Rinse lentils, put in a pot and cover with about an inch or two of water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until water is about 90% absorbed.

Chop onions and garlic in food processor. Strain out excess liquid.**

Heat a pan over medium-high heat with a spritz of oil or cooking spray. Sauté onions with garlic until translucent.

Chop red pepper in food processor; strain out excess liquid.**

Reduce heat to medium and add red pepper, tomato sauce and paste, Worcestershire sauce, and spices to sauce. Let simmer, covered, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce is heated through.

Add the sauce and veggies to the nearly-cooked lentils and simmer until the just the right amount of sloppiness has been achieved.

Plop the sloppy mess on your starch of choice and enjoy! I prefer putting them on King’s Hawaiian Rolls, myself.

* – It’s really easy to transform these from vegetarian to truly vegan. All you have to do is buy or make some vegan Worcestershire sauce, and you are good to go.

** – the straining out the extra liquid step is incredibly important. So important. If you don’t, you end up with soup that you can’t really put on a bun. I’d recommend either using cheese cloth and giving it a good squeeze, or dumping your finely chopped mush into a strainer and pressing it with a spoon to get out as much water as humanly possible.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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