Thursday, April 26, 2012

Feeding Friendship: Tex-Mex Lentil Sloppy Joe's

As a child, I loved the taco burger at Taco Tico.  I'm not sure why since it was just lightly seasoned ground beef on a bun.  But love it I did.  That taco burger was certainly not what I was thinking about when I picked lentils as the ingredient for this round.  I think that thought process was something like "huh, I have four bags of different types of lentils in my pantry."

But back to taco burgers.  The taco burger, is really just a sauceless (and therefore sadder) version of the sloppy joe, so I was excited to see Homesick Texan's Tex-Mex Sloppy Joe which takes the oddly sweet sauce of a traditional joe and turns it into a spicy, smoky very adult meal.  I pretty much never buy ground beef, and, while I'm sure that ground bison or turkey would be great here, I decided to take a vegetarian route and replace the ground meat with a combo of brown and red lentils that I had on hand.  This is a brilliant substitution in my mind because it cuts meat out of a meal where really what you care about is the sauce so you don't miss the meat a bit and you get an extra boost of fiber.  These are fork and knife sandwiches, or even open-faced ones.  Don't try to pick these up unless you are looking to ruin your shirt.

Tex-Mex Lentil Sloppy Joe's
serves 4-6
Adapted, broadly from Homesick Texan

1 1/2 cups lentils, any type
1 T canola oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c sliced, pickled jalapenos
15 oz. tomato sauce

2 T ketchup
2 T BBQ sauce
1 T Worchestershire sauce

1 T cumin
1 T hot chili powder
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp salt
2 avocados
1 lime, juice of
1/4 cup cilantro, minced
Hamburger buns

1. Simmer lentils in 4 cups of water until al dente, about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, saute onions in canola oil over medium heat until translucent, add garlic and jalapenos and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
3. Add tomato sauce, ketchup, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cumin, chili powder, oregano, and salt.
4. Simmer 10 minutes to thicken.
5. Add lentils and simmer an additional 10 minutes until lentils are tender.
6. While the lentils are simmering in sauce, mash avocados with lime juice, cilantro, and salt to taste.
7. Smear the avocado on the split buns and top with big spoonfuls of the lentils.

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