A childhood favorite of mine were sloppy joes, they don't hold the same appeal today but I do like this variation made with lentils in lieu of ground meat. I don't normally like to eat 'simulated meat', I'd rather have the item prepared in a way to celebrate it's qualities rather than being a poor substitute for another food, but in this case the lentils do both. I guess it's not really a 'meat substitute' (like those of those strange soy proteins you find in the cooler cases at the market), but it is still a protein rich and iron rich plant. And it's just as messy as the sloppy joes I ate as a kid. They would also be a good side dish, sans bun and toppings.
Lentil Sloppy Joes
1 c. brown lentils, rinsed and checked for stones
1 T. olive oil
1 c. onion, chopped
1 T. garlic, minced
1 c. ketchup
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. yellow mustard
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1/8 t. ground ginger
red pepper flakes, to taste
sea salt + pepper
1. Sort through lentils for stones and debris. Rinse and cook in water in medium saucepan over medium heat until tender (~30 minutes).
2. Meanwhile prepare remaining ingredients. When lentils are about halfway done, saute onions in oil over medium-high heat for 8 minutes.
3. Add garlic and saute for another minute. Add ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Simmer until thick and dark, about 8-10 minutes.
4. Stir in drained lentils and heat until warmed through (1-3 minutes).
5. Serve on toasted buns with pickles, lettuce, and onions.