F & N: Sloppy Lentils

It Frugal Fridays! This is our frugal and nutritious (F & N) meal of the week! This is a variation to sloppy joes without the meat, and is actually quite good! Served on a sprouted wheat bun (I haven’t had success making my own buns yet…), topped with raw cheddar cheese and peas and corn on the side! Yum! We are eating lentils once a week now and it is a great way to save money on the food budget, cutting back on meat while still eating healthy!

3 cups water
1 cup lentils, rinsed
salt to taste (optional)
1 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
15 oz can diced tomatoes

1/2-1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon chili powder
3-5 tablespoons rapadura, molasses, or honey
1 Tbsp white vinegar
salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 hamburger buns, split

Soaking Step (for benefits read here), optional: Allow lentils to soak over night in warm filtered water with 2 Tbsp acid medium. Rinse and cook as described below.

Combine water and lentils in a saucepan; season to taste with salt if desired. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook onions with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the onions have softened and turned translucent, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, garlic, tomato paste, ketchup, mustard powder, chili powder, molasses/sweetener, vinegar, salt and pepper; simmer 5 to 10 minutes until thickened.

Drain lentils and reserve cooking liquid. Stir lentils into sauce mixture, adding cooking liquid or water as needed to obtain the desired “sloppy joe” consistency. Serve on buns.

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

51 Responses to F & N: Sloppy Lentils

  1. termite detection dog August 16, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Kudos for an informative article. I’ve been looking around for this type of data for a while now.

  2. Ana July 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    I just tried this recipe tonight.
    We didn’t like it… It was too sweet for us.
    But, thanks for sharing it! I love trying new recipes. We don’t know if we like something unless we try it!!
    ( By the way… I loooove the sweet potatoe cassarole and the easy french bread! Yummy!)

  3. Amy Walker June 20, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    I’m so excited about trying this! I love lentils and we have them too at least weekly…so many yummy ways to prepare them. This sounds so fun. This is the first recipe I’ve seen for homemade ketchup too! Hope to try that.

  4. Debbie May 26, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    Hi Lindsay! I finally made this recipe. I have been going to do it for a while. They were so good and my two children liked them. I am so glad because all the other recipes I’ve made with lentils were not a big hit with them. Thanks for sharing and if you know any other lentil recipes, please share. God Bless

  5. Allie May 19, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    I know this post is three years old…but I finally made these tonight. They were delicious! My whole family loved them. Thank you!!

  6. Esther May 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    Hi just made your sloppy lentils-which were delicious by the way, but i was wondering if they freeze well? Have you ever tried freezing this meal? thanks

    • Lindsay May 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

      Yes, I have frozen leftovers on many occasionally successfully.

  7. katie March 15, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    thank you so much for this recipe i just had this for dinner and it was super yummy

  8. IslandChica October 1, 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    Thank you for this delicious, cruelty-free meal! I ended up using tomato sauce instead of diced tomatoes and didn’t have ketchup so just left that out. It was a hit with the whole family!

  9. Crystal July 4, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    This is the best sloppy recipe! I used a pound of grass fed meat because I didn’t want to send family into shock. Everyone loved it! This is definately going to be a regular in our house.

  10. jaysgirl_hiccups April 9, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    This is delicious! I made it a few weeks ago. Both hubby and toddler loved it!!

  11. Misty March 24, 2010 at 10:07 am #

    Where do you get your sprouted buns? I have no trouble finding organic sprouted bread but I have not really seen buns.

    • Lindsay March 25, 2010 at 9:08 am #

      I buy them through Azure Standard. It is Alvardo Street Bakery brand.

  12. Kendra March 9, 2010 at 3:10 pm #

    This is an incredible recipe! I made it for me and my husband, he (the meat lover) even liked this! We’ve been eating the leftovers for the past two days and it’s still amazing as ever. YUM!!

  13. Jennie Paige January 14, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

    I have made this a couple times only I turned into a crock pot meal and added meat. I put it up on my food blog. I also thought it was more like chili so my husband named it Lentili. I thought it was cute.

  14. Amanda November 9, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    just made it… and its delicious. Thank you!

  15. Becky November 2, 2009 at 11:08 pm #

    I’ve been interested in finding more “main dish” recipes that use beans or lentils. I tried this tonight for dinner and it was a warm and flavorful meal – perfect for the start of our cold weather. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe, this one is a keeper!

  16. Allegra November 2, 2009 at 8:26 am #

    Quick question: How much Worcestershire sauce do you use?

    • Lindsay November 2, 2009 at 1:59 pm #

      Sorry…I updated the ingredient list but did not update the recipe instructions. I have removed Worchestershire and replaced it with vinegar, because worchestershire often has HFCS.

  17. Alexis November 1, 2009 at 4:18 pm #

    I just made this, and it is SO GOOD. Mmm thanks for the recipe!

  18. Jodie October 22, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    These are fantastic! I tried them on my family and they LOVED them! It is now a staple. I don’t know that I will ever make them with meat again. We also just put it on homemade bread rather than buying buns and it worked great.

  19. Betsey June 9, 2009 at 2:46 pm #

    I have been meaning to make this for months, but just did tonight for the first time. I cooked my lentils in homemade veggie broth instead of water. I only had red lentils in the cupboard, so I used those. Since they pretty much disintegrate, I mixed some TVP (about 1 cup…didn’t measure) in after the lentils were cooked.
    I started out sort-of measuring the ingredients, but ended up just dumping them in…but I did stick with the listed ingredients, in about the same ratios (I had more of the lentil mixture though…w/ the TVP).
    Also, I used regular yellow mustard instead of mustard powder, since that’s all I had.
    AMAZING RECIPE! It has a “meaty” texture and taste, and I don’t know if most people would realize that it wasn’t meat. So awesome!

  20. Katie June 1, 2009 at 4:32 pm #

    Great recipe!! I am (mostly) vegetarian and do all the cooking for my family who are meat eaters. My dad is always making funny faces at the meatless meals I make, but this one he loved! I am glad it makes a lot too, that way I can take some to work tomorrow and share with my friends. As a note, I used chicken and beef broth instead of water to cook my lentils. I find it gave it a deep flavor only broth can bring :)

  21. Alissa June 1, 2009 at 11:03 am #

    Hi Lindsay,

    I’ve made this recipe several times before (it’s on our monthly meal plan and it’s my husband’s favourite day of the month! lol). I’ve never soaked lentils before, but on your advice I’m doing that this time. What I was wondering is, is it possible to make this recipe in the crock pot? I’d love to just throw everything in the crock pot in the morning and have it ready at supper time. Will the lentils get too mushy that way if I’ve pre-soaked them?


    • Lindsay June 2, 2009 at 7:19 am #

      I have not tried it in the crockpot, but I would imagine it would work. Give it a try and let us know how it goes for you!

      • Alissa June 3, 2009 at 9:19 am #

        Hey LIndsay,

        Thanks for the reply. I made it in the crockpot yesterday. The only thing I did differently was use one cup less water. I thought it turned out great, but my husband said it tasted a little different from usual, but that it was still good. In any case, it was nice to put it in the crock pot in the morning and forget about supper until suppertime!

        Thanks for the great recipe,

        • Melissa December 2, 2009 at 9:07 am #

          I was hoping someone would try that. But my question is, did you pre-soak the beans, or just put them in dry in the crockpot?

  22. Jennifer S May 1, 2009 at 6:27 am #

    I made these last night and it’s a great recipe! Very tasty! I think it would be great over cornbread too, if you just add an extra cup or even two of liquid.

    I had a 28 oz can of tomatoes, so I used the other half-can, the leftover half-can of tomato paste, leftover lentils and onions to start a simple vegetable soup. I just added about 4 cups of water to the tomato paste to make tomato juice, added a cup of stock and the can of tomatoes to onions which I sauteed in olive oil. Added a can of roast beef from Trader Joe’s, and a package of frozen organic veggies, and the lentils and simmered for an hour. It makes 4 quarts of really good soup and you can add whatever is on hand!

    Organic tomato paste is such a great frugal item. I get it on sale at Meijer for 59 cents a can. Just keep adding water to make tomato juice to use in chili and soups, it’s so much cheaper than buying organic tomato juice, which in my area is around $3 for a half-gallon bottle. Add less water to make a basic sauce you can season as desired, great for homemade pizza!

    • Leah Mick November 22, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

      wow! that sounds good…next time I’ll make a double batch…then make soup for later…love that!

  23. Rebecca December 11, 2008 at 9:46 pm #

    This was a wonderful recipe! We had it tonite for dinner and will enjoy it again tomorrow for lunch since I made a double batch. I plan on increasing the amount of lentils slightly since it was a bit too much sauce for my hubby’s taste. But otherwise it was a huge hit! Thank you so much for taking the time to share.

  24. RENA October 16, 2008 at 7:19 pm #

    Lindsey we had this for dinner tonite really good.we will have this often thanks for sharing RENA in Oregon City

  25. Amanda October 8, 2008 at 7:18 am #

    I really want to make this, but lack the mustard powder. Can I use regular mustard instead? Or can I leave it out alltogether since it’s only 1 teaspoon?

    • Lindsay October 8, 2008 at 7:26 am #

      You could go either way…regular mustard would probably work just fine. It does add a little zip to the recipe and thus it is included.

  26. Janette August 31, 2008 at 4:42 pm #

    Thanks for the delicious recipe. I am telling all my friends about it. I really like your website too, all the articles etc. I’ve bookmarked your site as one of my favorites. :)

  27. Sujay August 27, 2008 at 12:23 am #

    People in the Indian subcontinent eat lentils on almost a daily basis because it is neither practical nor economical to consume large quantities of meat in India. In addition, many indians are vegetarians too. There are so many different types of lentils available here. You can take some recipes from here (many are nearly spiceless)and westernize them.

  28. Bel August 20, 2008 at 6:45 am #

    I made this tonight but altered the recipe a bit. I was out of dry lentils and time, so had to use tinned. It is delish! Thank you!

  29. Jen June 25, 2008 at 2:26 pm #

    The first time I made this recipe, I didn’t soak the lentils overnight, just for 30 min. before cooking them. The stayed intact and were very good. This time, I planned ahead and soaked them for about 16 hours, and when they cooked they seperated from the hulls and so now it’s like mushy lentils with skins. I’m sure you always soak yours overnight, so is that normal? They taste fine, but aren’t much for presentation. Any suggestions?
    Also, how on earth do you find the time to fit it all in? How do you enjoy your family, clean your home, cook such enormously nutritious meals, research everything, blog, etc., etc. I just can’t imagine how you do it without burning out. I can barely keep up with the basics, and I feel stressed ALL THE TIME. Any tips?

    • Lindsay June 25, 2008 at 9:06 pm #

      I have found that the lentils tend to get mushy pretty regularly…but then again, they don’t look all that appealing in the first place! ;) I think the problem is that you may have cooked them too long. When they soak they absorb a lot of the soaking water, and thus are already getting soft and won’t need to cook as long as regular.

      As to your question about fitting it all in, that has been the purpose of my simplifying series on Wednesdays (view past posts here)…I hope to convey little steps towards simplifying your life to focus on the priorities without other things becoming too time consuming. I have found that a little organization plan to keep the household maintained, not having too much stuff to maintain in the first place, and keeping a basic schedule help me out…plus most importantly, seasoning every day with prayer and time in the Word. God’s grace is the only thing that can sustain me…and yes, I have my burn out days! But it is on such a day that I try to take the time to step back, re-evaluate, and see what needs to go!

      Blessings upon you!

  30. Morten Pedersen June 9, 2008 at 11:19 am #

    Hey that looks good ! I must try it someday! maybe I add some bacon …… ( not )

    • Kate June 9, 2008 at 4:19 pm #

      turkey bacon rocks! It’s a must to microwave it. frying is a big no no in our home lol. some people bake their bacon tho.

  31. jerilyn May 29, 2008 at 9:14 am #

    These were delicious! Thanks for sharing. I tweaked the recipe- since we’re in temporary housing I didn’t want to buy a lot of stuff so I just got a packet of sloppy joe mix (it said there was no MSG). My meat and potatoes husband even liked them.

    I plan on remaking the leftovers and use the topping on baked potatoes. :)

  32. Susan May 22, 2008 at 12:39 pm #

    These sound so great! I’m going to have to give these a try next week or so. DH always said he hated lentils, until one time I snuck them in and he didn’t even notice. He finally admitted he’d never really eaten them…lol! Now he’ll eat lentils without any problem! Thanks for the recipe!

  33. Alison @ Pennythoughts May 21, 2008 at 7:12 am #

    Thanks, Lindsay! I’ll have to go get some brown lentils. I only have red ones around the house, and I really don’t think they would work because red lentils virtually disintegrate during cooking.

  34. Alison @ Pennythoughts May 20, 2008 at 4:14 pm #

    What kind of lentils do you use for this recipe? They don’t look like red lentils to me. Thanks!

    • Lindsay May 20, 2008 at 5:53 pm #

      I used brown lentils, but I am sure any would work.

  35. candace May 17, 2008 at 12:24 pm #

    Thanks, it looks good!

  36. [email protected] May 16, 2008 at 5:42 pm #

    This looks so good! I will try this soon; we are starting to replace lentils for meat too and like you; I haven’t been too succesful in the bun-making area. They keep turning out like weird little bagels someone forgot to put a hole in :)

  37. RickD May 16, 2008 at 2:00 pm #

    Looks good Lindsay! I’ll have to watch more closely and see if any of these wonderful things show up at the Shared Meals…;)

  38. Heather Young May 16, 2008 at 9:48 am #

    That sounds really good–we use a lot of lentils and I am trying to come up with a good bean and lentil burger. Too bad we can’t use tomato–vitamin C powder works well as a replacement but not nearly so good or so red. :)

  39. Ann'Re May 16, 2008 at 9:05 am #

    Thanks for sharing that! Sounds yummy…I’m looking forward to trying it. :)

  40. Andrea May 16, 2008 at 8:54 am #

    Mmm! Looks good. As a bonus, I think I have all of these ingredients in my kitchen. Yay! Now, If it weren’t for the overnight soaking, this would be a perfect last minute meal. I’ll just have to re-define “last minute meal planning” to the night before instead of thirty minutes before!