Friday, November 22, 2013

Lentil Mushroom Sloppy Joes

I used to make sloppy joes a lot when I first started cooking from scratch. After switching to a plant based diet, I’ve struggled with getting the right consistency and texture on my veggie versions. This iteration is the best I’ve made in two years of trying so I thought I’d share.

Lentil Mushroom Sloppy Joes
1 cup brown or green lentils, cooked in 3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1 medium onion, diced
1 anaheim pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 pint mushrooms (white button or baby bellas), sliced
¼ cup date paste or sub with sweetener of choice (see note below)
1 Tbsp steak seasoning blend, such as McCormick brand Montreal Seasoning
½ Tbsp garlic powder
½ Tbsp crushed red chili flakes
2-3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
½ Tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or vegan Worcestershire sauce
1.5 C tomato sauce
2 Tbsp tomato paste

Add lentils and water to a medium pot. Add salt, garlic and a bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, on low for approximately 20 minutes. Test the lentils for doneness. If tender, drain any remaining liquid into a bowl for use in sautéing later.

Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables. Water sauté the onion, peppers and garlic for a few minutes, then add in mushrooms. Season with steak seasoning and any extra spices to taste (we added additional garlic and some red chili flakes). Saute until mushrooms have browned, adding the red wine vinegar as needed to keep things from burning.

Add lentils to the mixture. Stir to combine. Then add the Bragg’s, tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir to combine. If the mixture seems too dry add some of the reserved lentil cooking liquid or more vinegar. Cook on low for 3-5 more minutes to let flavors combine. We actually let these sit on low for 20 minutes while we prepped our meal, and they held up fine.

Serve as you like. I ate mine on spinach greens garnished with pickled jalapenos with a side of roasted cauliflower, but they worked perfectly on a roll!

I’m trying to cut down on processed sweeteners, so I made date paste to try out in this recipe. All I did was soak 1 cup of pitted dates in 1 cup of hot water for about 20 minutes. Then I added it to my (strong) blender and blended on low for about 2 minutes, scraped, and then another minute. If you don’t have a strong blender, you can use a food processor.

If you don’t want to go to the hassle of making it, the best substitute for this recipe is and equal brown sugar.

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