There are a few throwback foods that we all loved as a kid and still love as adults, and sloppy Joes are on that list. Our parents loved them because they were easy to make, and we loved them because they were delicious. Plus, with a name like sloppy Joes you know it's going to be fun to eat. Lentil sloppy Joes are a plant-based twist on the classic sloppy Joe sandwich. Instead of using ground beef, this version relies on lentils as the main protein source, making it suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Cooking it in the Instant Pot makes it even quicker and easier.
Wellness coach and recipe developer brings us this recipe for Instant Pot lentil sloppy Joes and says, "The Instant Pot has become one of the handiest appliances in my kitchen. I love that I can leave it unattended if I need to run out and it will automatically switch to the warm setting when it's done. This sloppy Joes recipe is a must for busy weeknight dinners whether you are vegan or not."
To make this recipe, start your store visit in the produce aisle and pick up an onion, green pepper, garlic, and carrots. Then hit up the dry goods area and grab some brown lentils. The rest of the ingredients you might have in your pantry: vegetable broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, soy sauce, molasses, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, and hamburger buns. "If you have trouble finding liquid smoke, you can omit this ingredient as long as you are using smoked paprika to give us that smoky flavor," Hahn shares.
Then check your spice cabinet for chili powder, cumin, salt, and smoked paprika. You're ready to make Instant Pot lentil sloppy Joes.
Turn on the saute setting on the Instant Pot.
Add the oil to the Instant Pot and let it heat for 2 minutes.
Add the onion, green pepper, garlic, and carrots and saute for 5 minutes stirring frequently.
Cancel the saute setting.
Add the lentils, broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, soy sauce, molasses, apple cider vinegar, liquid smoke, chili powder, cumin, salt, and smoked paprika.
Seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
After the cook time, let the Instant Pot natural release for 15 minutes. Open the lid and stir.
Serve the lentil sloppy Joe mixture on hamburger buns.
There are many ways to customize Instant Pot lentil sloppy Joes. Starting with our main ingredient: lentils. If you have green lentils on hand and would like to use those, feel free to swap those in place of brown, but red lentils would involve a different cooking time so avoid those. "I typically only use red lentils for soups and curries where I want them to add body and thickness," Hahn remarks.
Add extra vegetables to increase the nutritional value and flavor. Other colors of bell peppers, celery, or corn can be great additions. "If you're adding more veggies to this dish, just make sure to dice them small so they won't be too chunky for the bun," Hahn explains.
Control the level of sweetness by adjusting the amount of the molasses, or if you want to substitute another sweetener you can use brown sugar, maple syrup, or agave nectar. Start with a small amount and taste as you go, adding more if needed. "I love using molasses in this sloppy Joes recipe. It has a robust flavor that is both sweet and slightly bitter. But switching to another sweetener is fine," Hahn shares.
Lentil sloppy Joes make a delicious and satisfying meal on their own, but they pair well with a wide variety of sides as well. A crisp and creamy provides a refreshing contrast to the rich and savory lentil filling. "You can make a classic coleslaw, or often I will just add a little olive oil, vinegar, and a small amount of mayonnaise (vegan or regular) and it is the perfect 5-minute topper," Hahn shares.
Serve your lentil sloppy Joes with a side of crispy fries for a classic and satisfying combination. Sweet potato fries are a nutritious alternative with a slightly sweet flavor. Creamy potato salad with a tangy dressing is a great choice or a with a vinaigrette dressing is a nice choice also.
As with all meals, a is always a great accompaniment. A simple green salad, Caesar, cobb, or chopped vegetable salad will all complement the savory lentil sloppy Joes.