As a kid, I was always excited for school lunches. School lunch meant foods like pizza, peanut butter bars, and lots of other stuff that we just didn’t have very often (if ever) at home.
One of my favorite lunches was sloppy joes. I loved those sloppy joes. Of course, it wasn’t cool to say that you actually liked them, but I did. And I still do. There’s just something about a sweet and tangy sloppy joe that I really like.
I wanted to find a way to make them a little healthier, though, so I added some extra veggies and some lentils. If you’ve never had lentils before, this is a great way to try them out because they just blend right in and don’t take away from all the delicious sloppy joe-ness goin’ on.
- 1 ½ lbs. lean ground beef
- 1 c. finely chopped red bell pepper (about 1 medium)
- 1 c. finely chopped carrot (about 2 medium)
- 1 c. diced onion (about 1 medium)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T. liquid smoke
- 1 (18 oz.) bottle brown sugar barbecue sauce (you can use whatever barbecue sauce you'd like, but a brown sugar sauce will give more of the traditional sweet taste)
- 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
- 1/4 c. water
- 1 c. brown lentils, picked over
- In a large skillet, brown ground beef.
- Drain fat from ground beef, and set aside.
- Wipe out most of the grease from the skillet, leaving about 1 teaspoon in the pan.
- Place bell pepper, carrot, and onion in skillet. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Pour in liquid smoke, barbecue sauce, tomato sauce, and water; stir to combine.
- Add the cooked ground beef back in along with the lentils, and stir to combine.
- Cover and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes, or until lentils are soft.
You might also like the following lighter/healthier recipes