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it tastes the same…if you close your eyes…

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The other day at Publix, I bought a bag of lentils.  I wasn’t sure what to do with them, so I hit the Internet for some recipe ideas and to do a little background check on my new friend(s).

A few lentil notes:

  • They get 25% of their calories from protein, and they are a great source of iron—perfect for a vegetarian diet
  • Legumes have the third highest protein count (by weight) of plant-based foods, behind soybeans and hemp
  • Lentils come in a variety of colors, the most common are brown and green
  • They have been said to lower cholesterol and are rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins
  • At 230 calories for a whole cup, lentils keep you full and satisfied without taking in a lot of calories

Lentils have what can be described as a meaty texture.  They’re used in all sorts of dishes instead of meat and are especially plentiful in Indian food.  Check out Meghann’s Lentil Shephard’s Pie and Emily’s Indian Lentils with Spinach and Eggplant.

After a little poking around, I decided on Vegetarian Sloppy Joes.  There are plenty of recipes on the Internet, but I structured mine around one I found on VeganDad’s blog.  I made a few changes, by using brown lentils instead of red.  I used about 3.5 servings of lentils (dry), and I cut everything in the original recipe in half since I was only making about 4 servings.  I also cooked my lentils first, then mixed them in with my sauce and let that sit on the stove for a while.


I decided to pull double duty by steaming my broccoli on top of the lentils.


I love ketchup…and it isn’t often that I get to pour it into recipes by the (half) cup full.  The brand I use (Hunt’s) has no HFCS added, and I can get behind that.

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We had these on sandwich thins served alongside steamed broccoli and homemade potato chips.  They were so good!  I never really ate Sloppy Joes as a kid, but I thought these would give them a run for their money.  True to name they were quite messy, but it was totally worth it.

And as for the potato chips…if you don’t have a mandolin, you need to get one.  Jonathan gave me mine for Christmas last year, and I absolutely love it.  The brand is OXO I believe, and you can find them at most retail stores.  I used it to slice up a few Yukon gold potatoes, then I spread them out on a baking sheet with a little S&P and baked them at around 400 degrees till they were crispy and brown.

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Check. That. Out.  You read a newspaper through those slices.

One helpful hint:  Be sure to watch these.

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I could have been sneaky and just showed you the pretty ones…but I believe in showing the good, the bad, and the burned.  And there you have it.

Do you have meatless meals often?  What’s your favorite creative swap?  Do you have any fun lentil recipes to share?  I really want to try Jenna’s Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf.


4 responses »

  1. Nice to see your supporting the family ketchup brand. I made a pizza yesterday topped with thinly slice yukon gold potatoes.

  2. I need a mandolin!

    Lentils are awesome. I saute a little onion, garlic and cumin, throw the lentils in and let them simmer. Paired with some rice, it’s delicious. 🙂

  3. I do have a mandolin! Helpful tip… mandolins and fingers don’t mix. Trust me, I know.

    I have meatless meals fairly often, but they usually just don’t have meat. I don’t try to create substitutes I guess because I’m not trying to go vegetarian.

    I’ve never cooked with Lentils but I definitely need to. My college town has an annual Lentil Festival. Lentils are huge in Pullman, Washington. I don’t get it…

  4. I suck at cooking potato “chips” in the oven, I always burn them, even sweet potatos! On the lentil thing – very ironic – I am eating my last frozen portion of my first attempt at lentil cooking right now 🙂 They are mighty filling.


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