Need a winning meal? Then you got to try these healthy vegan sloppy joes, seriously! I was never a fan of sloppy joes growing up. I can’t tell you if it was the texture, the sloppiness, or the overall taste. The other day, Jake was pouting for a ‘manwich.’ To be honest, I had no idea what a ‘manwich’ was, so after looking online, I learned that it’s basically a delicious sloppy joe. Since we don’t eat meat, I knew I had to figure out a plant-based alternative.
I first made the base of the sauce with lentils, which turned out great but lacked the meaty texture of a real sloppy joe. Then I recalled that one of my former colleagues made sloppy joes with spelt berries and her kids had no idea it wasn’t meat! Back to the kitchen with a few more tweaks and taste testing, I now have a winner! These sloppy joes are flavorful, tasty, simple to make, and healthy! I hope you enjoy these plant-based sloppy joes, and they satisfy that ‘manwich’ crave! Enjoy!
Add olive oil to a medium-size pan over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the diced onions, bell peppers, and celery.
Season with chili powder, sweet paprika, celery seed, and salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce, cooked lentils and spelt berries, and sugar, and mix. Reduce heat to low-medium, and let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should thicken up, which is what you want.
Scoop about 1/4 cup of the sloppy joe sauce on a bun, top with sprouts (optional) and enjoy!
To eliminate time: cook both the spelt berries and lentils in one pot with 2 and 1/2 cups of water over medium-high heat. Once it starts to simmer, reduce heat to warm and cover to cook for about 30 minutes, or until tender. If the lentils seem tough or dry, add additional water and continue cooking. Do not stir the lentils or spelt berries once you reduce the heat and cover.Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The sauce will be more flavorful the next day!