Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lentil & Beef Sloppy Joes (& Cheesy Hamburger Buns)

The sloppy Joe: I hadn't had one in years, but one day browsing recipes I saw one for a lentil sloppy Joe. I was intrigued, and it kind of sounded good. I bookmarked it and came back to it a few weeks later. The original recipe I saw did not suit me, so I looked around a bit more and found this one which was a better match for what I had on hand.

You may notice that the recipe I followed calls for 1/2 cup ketchup. In an odd turn of events, we had used more of our ketchup than I had realized (although, honestly, I hate ketchup and didn't check before I started the recipe. When you dislike ketchup like I do you never dream you'll run out... I only use it in recipes, and the only other thing I've used it in that I can think of is meatloaf, maybe twice. We occasionally have hot dogs or other dishes that Thomas likes ketchup as a condiment on, but I really didn't think we'd have less than 1/2 cup!). Pondering possible substitutions, I came up with barbecue sauce or tomato sauce. I asked Thomas' opinion and we decided to try the barbecue sauce. It was a success! It added a really nice flavor and sweetness that I don't think it would have had otherwise. In the future I think I will always do half ketchup and half barbecue sauce.

Lentil & Beef Sloppy Joes

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1 small carrot, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup dried brown lentils
~1 cup water
1/4 tsp. oregano
8 ounces ground beef
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  1. Sauté onion, carrot, bell pepper, and ketchup in vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat until vegetables are tender. Add garlic and continue to cook for about a minute.
  2. Add lentils, oregano, and water. Boil about 5 minutes, then reduce heat and cover, simmering about 35 minutes. Check occasionally to ensure there is enough water. Add more water in 1/4 cup increments if necessary.
  3. In the meantime, brown ground beef in a skillet. Drain off fat.
  4. To ground beef, add Worcestershire sauce and barbecue sauce, stirring until combined.
  5. Add fully cooked ground beef mixture to lentil mixture. Continue cooking until lentils are done.
  6. Serve hot, on hamburger buns.
I don't keep hamburger buns around, so I made my own to go with my sloppy Joes. I used this recipe. They turned out pretty good, but I did goof up a little: where the recipe said to make 6 buns, I split my dough 6 ways and ended up with 6 buns, but they were such a funny shape I couldn't justify slicing them. The result was basically 6 bun halves. Which was fine, but they were kind of big and it would have been better to have 6 actual buns. So, if you want 6 buns, divide your dough 12 ways...

Cheesy Hamburger Buns

2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup finely grated cheddar cheese
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. instant yeast
4 Tbsp. softened butter
1 large egg
2/3-3/4 cup lukewarm water
  1. Mix all ingredients until well combined, sticky, and gooey. Cover and let rise about an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Divide dough (taking into account my advice above). Your dough will still be sticky. You can add a little bit of flour to make this process less messy. Place on baking sheet lined with wax paper or parchment paper. Shape into small rounds. The original recipe uses a hamburger bun pan. I used a baking sheet, which resulted in misshapen buns, but it's what I had :o)
  4. Let rise another 30-60 minutes, or longer if you have time.
  5. Bake about 20 minutes.


  1. You can't have something that sounds this good without pictures!

    1. I know, I know... talk to my photographer ;o)