Lentil Sloppy Joes

This budget recipe is easily frozen, and any leftovers can be transformed into a taco filling by the addition of Mexican spices and some salsa, or into a bolognese with some garlic powder and Italian herbs. Now, that’s a versatile dish! Serves 8.


1 1/2 cups dried green lentils, rinsed (if you are short of time, you can use two cans of cooked lentils instead and skip Step 1)
1 onion, finely diced
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 cup water or vegetable broth
2 tbsp tomato ketchup or barbecue sauce
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp suitable-for-vegan prepared mustard (Dijon or yellow)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp hot paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. In a large pot, cover the lentils with 3 cups water, season with salt, bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover the pan with a lid, but leave it slightly ajar so that the water doesn’t boil over. Allow lentils to simmer for 25-30 minutes or until tender but not mushy. Check occasionally to make sure that the lentils haven’t dried out. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the lentils to rest and soak up any remaining water while you make the sauce.

2. Heat a nonstick pan over a medium heat and sauté the onions for 2 minutes until starting to colour, stirring all the time. If they stick, add a few drops of water to loosen. Add the red pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water to deglaze the pan, and continue cooking until evaporated.

3. Add onion and red pepper to the large pot with the lentils. Add the rest of the ingredients, and stir to combine. Simmer over a low heat until the sauce is reduced and thickened, about 5-10 minutes, being careful not to let the pan scorch.

4. Serve on toasted suitable-for-vegan bread rolls or buns (or bread of your choice) with some salad vegetables, if desired.

Note: if you like your food spicier, add a dash of Tabasco or other hot sauce, or more cayenne pepper if you’re feeling brave.