Savory Lentil Sloppy Joe

Serves 6

The lentil, an annual plant known for its lens-shaped seeds, comes in hundreds of varieties, with about 50 being cultivated for food. Most are grown in Canada and India. The green variety, used in this dish – along with black, if you can find them – is available in bags and bulk in most grocery stores.

Cook: Cooking time depends on the type of lentil. Green and black cook in about the same amount of time, 25 to 30 minutes. Always use 1 cup of legumes to 2 cups of liquid.

Eat: Intended to be sloppy, served between slices of your favorite bread, the lentils in this dish are also delish with rice or quinoa. I have even used them as a burrito filling.

Store: It’s best to use an airtight glass container to store them; they’ll last up to four days in the fridge. Or freeze the lentils for up to three months. To defrost, place in the fridge overnight or let the container sit on your counter for 2 hours. To reconstitute, add to a pot with about 1/2 cup of water.

Waste: If your ginger is organic, don’t bother peeling it. The stems in your kale and parsley can be used along with the leaves, if they’re finely chopped.

Connect: Gather around this warm pot of lentils and let everyone build their own Sloppy Joe. Or get creative with a burrito night. If you have kids, encourage them to build their own. 

  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seed
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons coriander, ground
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 medium leek, thinly sliced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh jalapeño, minced
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 cup black lentils, or green lentils, if you can’t find black
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 cups oat milk or other unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 cups shredded kale
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • 6 rolls, or more, of your choice 
  1. Measure the spices, placing in a small bowl. Prep onion, leek, garlic, ginger and jalapeño. 
  2. In a large pot with a thick bottom, heat ghee and olive oil on medium. Add spice mixture, toasting for 30 to 60 seconds. Add onion, leek, garlic, ginger and jalapeño. Let cook for 3 to 5 minutes until alliums are tender. 
  3. Add lentils to the pot with water, non-dairy milk and tomato paste. Mix well and let cook, partly covered, for 30 minutes. Make sure to stir occasionally. Finish with kale, parsley and salt. 
  4. Toast rolls and serve. 

Nutrition: 1 cup cooked yields 18 grams of protein and 56 percent of the daily value of fiber; lentils are an excellent source of folate, and a very good source of copper and phosphorus, in addition to other vitamins and minerals.