Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Sloppy Lentils

Last night I made sloppy lentils on homemade hamburger buns for dinner, along with a side of oven-baked sweet potato fries.

Lately, Liam has been particular about his foods. Not that he is picky about what he does and doesn't like to eat. He likes just about everything. No, the problem is that he has a particular food in mind, and when I give him something different he gets angry. Often, this turns into a guessing game of which food my 9-month old is thinking of at the moment. I know, I know, I shouldn't give into his demands. He should eat what's served. Right? Well, at the same time I want him to learn that food is good, and I don't want to turn him off to trying new things by forcing him when he is unwilling.

So, enter the lentils and sweet potato fries. He has had the fries before. The last time, he threw them on the floor and handed my second try to Dahlia, who knows where to patiently wait beside his high chair. This time, however, he gladly snatched the fry from my hand and shoved it into his mouth. I could hardly keep them coming fast enough.

Then it was time to try the lentils. I scooped some onto his little bamboo spoon (I thought about letting him try a bite of the sandwich, like Mama and Daddy, but then opted for the less messy option...). When I moved it toward his mouth, he began waving his arms excitedly and his mouth popped open. I gave him the lentils. He tested them in his mouth for a few seconds, and then chomped ferociously, demanding more, and then more and more again. He ate a good serving of it.

Apparently, Liam loves sloppy lentils. Maybe you will, too.

The original recipe is from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker, but I often make it on the stove top when I forget to get it going in the morning...
I actually prefer the red lentils for this recipe, but you could also use the small French puy lentils or make it with the brown as the recipe directs.

Sloppy Lentils
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium-sized yellow (or red) onion, chopped
1 small red or green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (my addition)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 cups dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
One 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes (I use Muir Glen's Fire Roasted, mmm...)
3 cups water
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tbsp prepared mustard
1 tbsp sweetener (honey, brown sugar, sucanat, agave... your choice)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1.Heat the oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper; cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and chili powder, stirring to coat. Cook 1 minute longer.

2.Transfer the onion mixture to a 3.5 - 4 quart slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Stove top variation:
1. Follow step one as above, but do so in a large saucepan, or, better yet, in a dutch oven.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 45 minutes, or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.

Serve on hamburger buns for a yummy and messy meal, which we often eat with a fork in hand. Serve with sweet potato oven fries.


  1. Sounds good! Thanks for sharing the recipe. We like couscous sloppy joes around here, which are easy to make with couscous, mashed white beans, onions and ketchup and mustard and brown sugar. I'd love to have your recipe for homemade hamburger buns too.

    Glad I discovered your blog through Thrifty Green Thursday.

  2. this sounds delicious! i may have to try this tonight:)

    (we do love us some shopping totes, too. my favorites are the super-sturdy ACME bags from're so great for groceries!)