Lentils, take two…

To quote my husband (talking about food), “I will try anything twice.” I can agree with that because you never know (especially with my cooking) if the problem is the actual food, or the method of preparation.

That is why I found myself cooking lentils, once again. This time I decided to make lentil sloppy joes. Sloppy joes are amazing. I miss them since becoming a vegetarian. We have made them with soy burger crumbles as a meat sub, and that’s okay, but not the same.

Anyway, that is not the point. So:

Lentil Sloppy Joes

1 1/2 cups dried lentils
4 cups water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3/4 cup ketchup
3 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar
3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
salt and pepper
hamburger buns

Combine lentils and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until it begins to soften. Drain lentils and add to skillet, along with ketchup, mustard, vinegar and brown sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer  15 to 20 minutes. If the mixture is too soupy, remove the lid and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Serve on hamburger buns.

If you aren’t a vegetarian you can skip making your own sauce, just cook the lentils, and add a jar of Manwich. (Yes, I just advocated taking a short cut and using a canned sauce over home made. That will rarely happen.) But, if you are a vegetarian just know that this canned sauce has anchovies in it.

There is no picture for this entry because we didn’t eat it. Don’t get me wrong, the sauce was great, but it is official: Chad and I do not like lentils. At all.

I’m kind of disappointed because lentils seemed to be such an easy sub into a vegetarian diet.

Next on our “To Try” list: chickpeas and tofu.

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Lentil and Mixed Veggie Casserole

Lentils are said to be a staple of vegetarian cooking. They have a high amount of protein and are often used as a meat substitute, or so I am told by  my good friend Google. I learned that a while ago and just needed to find an excuse to cook with lentils. And here we are.

I learned two things cooking this particular dish. The first thing I learned is that lentils are a member of the legume family. Just a random fact for you. I’ll share the second thing I learned later.

Lentil and Mixed Veggie Casserole
**From Betty Crocker Easy Everyday Vegetarian**

Cook Time: 3 hours
Makes 8 servings
220 calories/serving

Ingredients

1 lb (2 cups) dried lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 cans (14 oz each) vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 bag (1 lb) frozen broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower, drained and rinsed
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed golden mushroom soup

1) In a 3 or 4 quart slow cooker, combine veggie broth, lentils, pepper, and salt. Cover and cook on low heat setting for approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes

3) Stir in vegetables and soup. Cover and continue cooking on low for another 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

The changes I made: I used cream of mushroom soup because when I picked up the golden mushroom soup and looked at the ingredients, I discovered that it was made with beef broth. Not an issue if you aren’t a vegetarian, but I opted to go with the cream of mushroom soup since it was vegetarian friendly.

I left out the cauliflower and subbed in some fresh celery. I hate warm cauliflower, that was the only reasoning behind that.

So, (and here is the second thing I learned with this dish) I really don’t like lentils. Neither does Chad, so this recipe was not husband approved. We both agreed that the broth and veggies tasted GREAT, but the lentils just were not our favorite thing. Don’t let that discourage you from making this dish, I know plenty (okay, maybe 2) people who really like lentils. Besides, if you make the dish and hate it you can always order pizza. That’s what we ended up doing.

And the pizza was great.