For a few years, I’ve been making a lentil dish that is designed to mirror Sloppy Joe’s, and is called Sloppy Joe Lentils. I cannot take credit for the original recipe, but I cannot remember and can find no clue as to where I first saw this recipe. If you look the name up, you will find numerous recipes for such a dish, but none are the actual recipe that I’ve been using and that I have modified a bit over the years.
Be that as it may, I prepared Sloppy Joe Lentils a few days ago, and served it as usual, as with traditional Sloppy Joe’s, over buns. But then a couple of days later, I felt like some of the leftovers, but there was nary a bun, or even a fresh piece of bread, in the house. But I did have some left over spaghetti noodles, and I figured, why not? So I heated them both up, and mixed the lentil dish into the noodles, and just as it was it was great! So I figured, why not make a similar lentil dish, but intended to be a spaghetti sauce? So, I took the recipe I’d been using, added a little, subtracted a little, and made Spaghetti alla Lentils, and it was one of the best dishes I’ve made since becoming a vegan.
I cannot say that no one else has ever thought of this, but I think my “new” recipe is pretty good, so here it is:
My first thought in re-constructing the recipe as a pasta sauce was that it needed more tomato, a LOT more tomato. The original recipe called for one 15-oz can of diced fire roasted tomatoes, so my first inclination was to add a second can of diced tomatoes, but this one would be one with Italian seasoning, you know, diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano. But it needed even more tomato than that, plus a little more body, so my next addition would be a 6-oz can of tomato paste. And it also needed more garlic than the seasoned tomatoes would provide. So, here is the list of ingredients for Spaghetti alla Lentils:
3-1/3 cups Vegetable stock
One large onion, chopped
One red bell pepper, chopped
Two cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1-1/2 tablespoons chill powder
1-1/2 cups lentils. Note – I prefer red lentils for both the original dish and for the new one, but I did use brown lentils when I made the dish, just because that was what I had available
One 15-oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
One 15-oz can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
One six-oz can tomato paste
Two tablespoons soy sauce
Two tablespoons spicy brown mustard (can use Dijon but I prefer this)
Two tablespoons dark brown sugar
One teaspoon rice vinegar
One teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
Splash of Cholula hot sauce
Salt to taste
And this is how to put it all together:
In a large (6 quart is about right) pot place 1/3 cup of the stock. Add in the onion, pepper and garlic, and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and glistening. Mix in the chilli powder and give it another two minutes. Add in all other ingredients. Note – the Cholula adds heat, so use it to your taste, as you’d do with the salt as well. Bring to a boil, cover
and cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally, or until lentils are soft. Cook your spaghetti at the appropriate time (I generally cook mine in boiling water for about 10 minutes), drain, and mix into the lentil “sauce”. OR you can serve the lentils and pasta separately and let your dinner companions add them together to their taste.
Serve with vegan garlic bread, or if you must, hamburger buns.