Friday, August 27, 2010

Messy Lenny

Sloppy Joes. They're the things of childhood. I have fond memories of Manwich and ground beef on a soft, white hamburger bun, dripping all over my plate.

Manwich, however, contains ingredients that I don't want to consume. Take a look:


Tomato Puree , (Water , Tomato Paste) , High Fructose Corn Syrup , Distilled Vinegar , Corn Syrup , Less Than 2% of: Salt , Sugar , Dehydrated Onions , Dehydrated Red and Green Bell Peppers , Chile Pepper , Tomato Fiber , Spices , Guar Gum , Xanthan Gum , Dehydrated Garlic , Carob Bean Gum , Natural Flavors

No, thanks.

And I love beef. I really love beef. It's the only meat I have a love affair with. However, I'm in my 30s, and I need to eat less of it. I'm striving for a mainly plant-based diet, so most beef has to go. My whole family benefits from eating a mostly plant-based diet. Enter the lowly lentil.

Lentils make wonderful ground beef stand-ins for several recipes: Meatloaf, tacos, and sloppy joes are three of my favorites. After reading mixed reviews on lentil sloppy joes, I decided to venture forth and create my own spin on this idea. I love sloppy joes, so it was worth the effort. What I got was a recipe that tasted so much like the Manwich of my childhood that I wouldn't have known the difference had I not been the chef.

This is not a Sloppy Joe. This is Messy Lenny. The Lentil.

Messy Lenny

What You Need:
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • 1/2 a large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup ketchup (check for high fructose corn syrup!)
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • a few dashed of garlic powder
  • buns for serving (I suggest this recipe)
How it's Done:
  1. Cook lentils in water until tender. Some folks say they can be cooked in 30 minutes. I find that 60 is more realistic. Here's how to cook them: Add lentils to water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender. Check the water level occasionally to prevent scorching. After cooking, if there is more than a couple tablespoons of water left, drain some out and proceed.
  2. Add onion, pepper, and oil. Cook and stir until vegetables are tender.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cook and stir until thickened. Remove from heat and serve on buns.


Hillcresthome Prims said...

I remember that sandwich growing up. I love your blog and the diffrent recipes you have on here, thanks for sharing.


Jenn said...

Oh, yes, who could for get Manwich?? lol A childhood staple for many, I believe!
Messy Lenny, that's great! I wouldn't have even known there was no meat in it from the picture. They look fabulous!

heather said...

the recipe i had cooked the lentils right in the ketchup mixture. which worked but like previously mentioned took 2 hrs! i will try to pre-cook them first!

and i love the name!

i just shared with a message board my sloppy joe recipe and they said they just open a can...really after eating the homemade version i will NEVER go back to a can!

Michelle said...

I ALMOST did that, but then I remembered that beans, in general, don't cook very well if salt is added to them before they're cooked all the way. So I started them out plain. :) This recipe is delicious. Just like Manwich only better.

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Awesome!! I will totally have to try these, I have some lentils in the pantry that no one seems to like...I wonder if manwich like sauce would change their minds? Only one way to find out LOL!

Yenta Mary said...

I have a friend who's vegetarian who says the one meat dish she misses is Sloppy Joes. I'll have to try this for her, 'cause they look REALLY good!

Michelle said...

Andrea, this would totally make up for your last sloppy joe incident. You could even adapt this to use ground beef. But please, for the love of all good foods...STAY AWAY FROM THE GROUND TURKEY!! I agree with what you think it tastes like. I'm not convinced we're wrong.

StephenC said...

What a clever idea. All you posters are making it hard to chose a menu, there are so many good ones!

Sharlene T. said...

You are just too cool... gonna try this this weekend and test the grandkids.... know they'll love it...

Michelle said...

Mary, Steven, Sharlene, you're all too kind. Please try this. It's so good that just the thought of it makes my tummy rumble. It's so good that I'm putting it back on the menu for next week. And I rarely make things two weeks in a row.

Home Cooking Memories said...

Love the idea of using lentils in sloppy joes. So far I've done kidney beans which I really like, but I'm always up for trying something new. Thanks!

Katherine said...

I've tried some lentil recipes before, but I never really loved any of them. This however looks like it could be really yummy! I think I'll give lentils another shot, thanks!

Jen said...

I have to admit..I love a good manwich!! lol..but my hubby hates them..Great take on the manwich..he's the cook in the family...I'm definitely going to show him this recipe!!!
Thanks for stopping by!

Samara Link said...

1) I am continually amazed at the fact that you make up your own recipes! That's AWESOME and a real talent.

2) I loved Sloppy Joe's as a kid, too. But I haven't had one in years and years and year. So, I'm totally excited that you posted this, and I will be trying them for sure ... this week.

3) I am sitting in the living room, catching up on your blog, while David is watching golf. I just told him about this recipe with lentils, and your creative name for it. He said, "they can't be good". So, that means I have to make these now so I can prove him wrong. BTW, he has loved everything I've made from your blog with the exception of the Lentil Loaf. And I loved it and was happy to have it to myself! I'm sure he'll like these, too. Will keep you posted!

Michelle said...

Samara I hope he does...but then again...If he doesn't, you get them to yourself. And lemme tell ya: I was looking for seconds at this meal. =D

Thank you for the kind words. I have a lot of fun in the kitchen.

Elizabeth said...

This is the coolest recipe I've seen today! Like you I've been paying so much more attention to what we're really eating and it saddens me. Since you say it really does taste like Manwich then I will give these a go - hopefully on next week's menu.

Thank you!!!

Renee said...

Michelle, these look wonderful! Man look at what I missed out on while you were here in Colorado, I could have gleaned some of your cooking wisdom :)

Samara Link said...

Last night was Messy Lenny night at our house, thanks to your recipe. They were awesome! David, who was a skeptic going in, really liked them, as did I. Thank you! I'll be making these again.

Michelle said...

YAY! I'm glad you both liked them! :)

Samara Link said...

I featured your Messy Lenny on my blog today! I linked them to your blog and to the recipe on your blog.

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