Recipe: Vegetarian Sloppy Joe Paninis

Did you have sloppy joes as a kid? You know, the ground meat and spicy tomato sauce on a bun business. I didn’t; we were more of a Spaghetti O’s household. The only sloppy joes I ever encountered were in the school cafeteria and those were a sad sight to see. So I really have no idea what inspired this recipe. Maybe it’s just my love of lentils and all the ways in which they are a perfect meat substitute. Lentils are earthy, meaty, filling, and have tons of protein. Add a super easy homemade tomato sauce, cheese, and grill it all up in a panini and you’re golden.

Domestocrat’s Vegetarian Sloppy Joe Paninis (makes 6 servings)
2 cups green lentils
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
2 tsp. EVOO
15 oz. can of tomato sauce
14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1.5 tbsp. crushed garlic
1/4 tsp. aleppo pepper (if you don’t have aleppo, you can used red pepper flakes)
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. King Arthur Pizza Seasoning (you can swap this for any italian seasoning)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Salt to taste

First, cook up the lentils. Give them a good rinse and once over to make sure there aren’t any stones or junky pieces. Put the lentils in a pot, cover with water, and let them boil over medium-high heat until they are al dente. The firmness is totally up to you. I found al dente to be good especially since they will soften more while they cook in the tomato sauce.

IMG_9893IMG_9901

While the lentils are cooking, start on the sauce. Dice up the onion and bell pepper. Saute over medium-high heat until both are tender and just start to brown.

IMG_9911IMG_9916

When the veggies have browned, add in the garlic and all the spices. Give the mixture a good stir, lower the heat to medium-low, and let that cook for another few minutes.

IMG_9928IMG_9932

Next, add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste to the pot. Cook together for 10 minutes.

IMG_9918

Quick Tip – I know tomato paste in a can seems like such a pain but here’s what I do with it: use the portion I need and then spoon the rest into a freezer bag, divide with my fingers into different sizes, and toss in the freezer for another day. Super easy!

IMG_9940

Next, add the lentils, give the pot a big stir, and then simmer uncovered over low heat for 2 hours (checking in/stirring every 10-15 minutes or so).

IMG_9949IMG_9962

When the 2 hours is almost up and you are getting ready to eat, prep the panini makings! (i.e. bread and cheese, is there nothing better?)

IMG_9970

Since we don’t have a panini press (I just can’t justify spending money on such a big appliance that I wouldn’t use all that often), I used our grill pan to make these paninis. I grilled up the bread a little bit first that that it would be a sturdy base.

IMG_9976

I then added two slices of cheese on the bottom slice of bread then two big scoops of the lentils. I topped with the other piece of bread and flipped a few times to melt the cheese and get these pretty grill marks on the bread.

IMG_9983IMG_9984

What a delicious panini! I couldn’t resist adding another little scoop of lentils to my plate (not to mention a few chips and guac). The whole thing was super hearty, filling, and tasted magnificent. A totally grown up spin on a childhood classic.

IMG_9985IMG_9990

About Domestocrat

I'm a lady who enjoys photography, football, cooking, long drives with the windows down, This American Life, kettlecorn, hot yoga, pop punk, my nephews, my cat Reggie, and my home: Boston.
This entry was posted in Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Recipe: Vegetarian Sloppy Joe Paninis

  1. melissa says:

    Fabulous use of lentils; I wouldn’t have thought to put them in a sandwich like this. Want to make this!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s