Lentils, lentils, lentils! They’re one of those foods that, if you haven’t had them before, they sound pretty dull, boring, and gross.

For some reason, they always make me think of pea soup, which makes me shudder.

easy lentil recipe

But they’re not dull and boring at all- and certainly not gross. The number of ways to prepare them is endless, but my all time favorite way to use them is for a vegetarian version of sloppy joes.

And let me tell you: this gets husband approval, which is the ultimate judge of a delicious vegan recipe.

vegetarian sloppy joes

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

1 cup dried lentils

1 1/2 cups + 1/2 cup water

1 onion, diced

1 clove garlic, diced

1/2 can tomato paste

1 canned chile in adobo sauce, diced

oregano, onion powder, and garlic powder to taste

1/2 cup torn spinach leaves

green lentils

Rinse lentils. Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to boil, then add lentils. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until tender.

While lentils are cooking, sauté onion and garlic. When onions start to brown, stir in tomato paste. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of water little by little, until the mixture reaches the consistency you want. {You can also wait until the end to do this.} Add in chile in adobo, seasonings, and cooked lentils. Fold in spinach leaves. Let cook until the spinach starts to wilt, then remove from heat.

sauteed onions and tomato paste

You can use any kind of bun to serve the sloppy joes, but I rarely have buns on hand when I get a craving for them. It’s pretty easy to whip up your own, although I notoriously start the process without enough time to let the buns rise. I’ve learned to love slightly doughy buns. Winking smile

homemade sloppy joes

Spelt Buns

1 cup spelt flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup warm water

1/2 packet yeast

1 T sugar

1 t salt

1 T canola oil

1 tsp sesame seeds


Mix water, yeast, and sugar. Set aside while preparing other ingredients, then mix all together. Knead until dough comes together and is slightly elastic.

Set the dough mixture in a warm place, loosely covered. Let rise for up to an hour.

After the first rise, punch the dough down & form individual balls. Flatten the balls slightly to make “hamburger-like” buns. Brush tops with water, slice an “X” pattern on top of each bun, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

homemade hamburger buns

Let prepared buns rise for about 30 minutes on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly before slicing in half to make buns.

whole wheat hamburger bun recipe

Serve the vegan sloppy joes on the spelt buns, or simply on a bed of spinach leaves.

vegan sloppy joe recipe

vegan lentil recipe

What’s your favorite way to eat lentils?