recipes and tips for better living

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oh So Sloppy: Veggie Head Friendly Sloppy Joes

My three favorite foods growing up were kraft mac n' cheese, nestle Quik hot chocolate, and manwich.  Might be hard to believe considering how i eat now, but once upon a time this was my diet.  I drank quik EVERY morning with milk, had mac n' cheese as often as ma would let me (and yes, i'd layer on more salt), and manwich was more of a special occasion treat when dad was out of town.  For so many years (and through so many doctors, specialists, hospital visits, and bills later) we still wondered why i had so many digestive problems?  hmmm...any guesses?  Let's see....maybe dairy?....gluten?...refined sugar?....and let's top that all off with possible nutrient deficiencies.  I blame no one (Ma, if you're reading don't fret...i thought that flintstone vit-y was picking up the loose ends too)!  So clearly given my attention to diet these days, you wouldn't find any of these foods in my house.

So what's my life like without manwich, mac n' cheese, and quik?  Pretty Awesome - i feel a lot better and i never have really missed these foods...well not enough to revert back.  I can still enjoy hot cocoa made with high quality cocao powder and almond milk, and can make a cheese-less version of mac and cheese with nutritional yeast and cashews and rice based pasta (though i never do), but i'd never even considered making manwich, given that it was just a can of high fructose corn syrup'ed, spiced, tomato sauce with a bunch of additives and "natural flavors" to mix with meat - a few things i'm not very partial of.   Well all of that changed yesterday after reading a recipe on how to make lentil sloppy joes.

Yes, you heard me right:  Lentil sloppy joes.  These couldn't have come at a better time.  I was looking to add more iron rich foods in my diet and lentils are right at the top of this list.  A 1/2 cup of lentils actually have almost the same amount of iron as 4 oz of beef.  Not bad veggie heads!  I was introduced to this recipe from a friend of mine in Seattle (shout out to Holly!) who posted them on her FB page a while back.  The recipe is from PPK - isa chandra moskowitz's site - she's written a bunch of veggie cookbooks.  While i hadn't gotten around to making them til now, i'm glad to report that they are a perfect beef, ground turkey, or TVP substitution for sloppy joe night.  While i probably won't make them often since they require canned tomato sauce and paste (i try to avoid canned foods, though i have been using canned pumpkin lately in some smoothies), they do make a great special occasion treat.

I went off the PPK recipe for the most part.  Differences in mine were that i cooked up more lentils (1 1/2 cups), added red and orange bell pepper, put in a whole can of tomato sauce (15 oz) and tomato paste (6 oz), added a dash of apple cider vinegar for more tanginess, added half a diced sweet potato, and subbed out the maple syrup for stevia and agave.  I also adjusted the amount of spices a bit.

Since i don't eat gluten i served myself a portion on Rudi's G-free bread.  While my plate could have looked a lot prettier if i had a fancy bun or garnishes, i didn't was pretty darn tasty and made me feel like a kid again.


  1. oh wow, what a fantastic idea!! I think we had the same diet growing up. And yes, i will occasionally give in to a nestle hot cocoa although my mac n' cheese is now a homemade gluten-free recipe! BTW- Lovin the new background!

  2. Looks delicious! I like your suggestion of adding more lentils and more lentils and the red bell peppers. Im going to give it a go!

  3. Thanks you two! it really is delicious and totally fills the manwich void! :)

  4. That's so funny! As I was reading this, I was planning a comment telling you how much I lurrrrrrve lentil sloppy joes/sloppy janes/snobby joes! I'm so glad you like them, too, and that's my fave recipe for them. Mmmmmm! Guess what's going on my menu this week, Meredith!?


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