Comfort food. Weekend dawning. How are you spending it? The unseasonably cold weather here has me filling my days with soups and blankets after venturing out to work. And a spicy, hearty sandwich pairs well with the week also. I love sloppy joes. Maybe it was watching Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen in "It Takes Two" on constant repeat (anyone remember the epic sloppy joe food fight at their summer camp?)...Or maybe it's just a comfort food for me... Becoming a vegetarian has been the best decision I've made—but I would be lying if I said the craving for a sloppy joe went away in 2012. Thankfully, utilizing lentils has been a satisfying alternative. An alternative so tasty, the carnivore husband approves of too. World = complete.
Legumes (packed with protein and texture) paired with a can of sloppy joe sauce is my usual solution. However, Whole Foods' recipe for homemade sloppy joe sauce designed specifically for lentils proves to be worth the extra effort to make the classic sauce from scratch. Recent obsession with radicchio, primarily because of the vibrant color, tops my take on this sloppy joe recipe with organic rolls toasted and glazed with olive oil & sea salt. You can find the recipe here, I also included it below which includes my additions and alterations.
VEGETARIAN SLOPPY JOES WITH LENTILS & RADICCHIO: + 1 1/2 cup brown lentils + 1 yellow onion, diced + 1 red bell pepper, diced + 1 1/2 tbs chili powder + 2 tsp paprika + 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin + 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper + 6 oz can no-salt added tomato paste + 2 tbs red wine vinegar + 6 cloves garlic, minced + 1/4 dried apricots, chopped + 15 oz can no-salt added crushed tomatoes + 1/2 head radicchio, finely chopped + Fresh , bakery style mini buns + Sea Salt + Olive oil
Cook lentils according to the packages directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat sauté onion and bell pepper. Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne and tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes. Add red wine vinegar and stir. Add 2 cups water, garlic, apricots, and crushed tomatoes. Simmer to thicken sauce, about 30 minutes.
Combine thickened sauce and lentils together.
Brush mini buns with olive oil, crack sea salt on top and broil for 30-60 seconds or until toasted. Ladle lentil mixture and fresh chopped radicchio onto toasted bun. Server with blue corn chips!