Lemons and Basil

Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes + Mom Update

I don’t know whether to talk about these mouth-watering Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes first, or about TIME and wanting/needing more of it. More time for me, more time for you, I think it’s safe to say that aside from us all needing a little more love, we need more time!

Yesterday I had a great conversation with a coworker about health and the challenges of eating whole, real food that benefits your body while still enjoying life and social events, AND without feeling deprived! This coworker of mine has had some life changes in the past few years and her schedule is very different these days, working full-time, than it was before when she had a little more flexibility in her day to manage healthy eating and exercise.

I think its fair to say that most of us feel like time and busy schedules is one of the leading factors keeping us from managing or obtaining good health. It definitely takes effort and being intentional. My coworker shared with me her desire for good health, but the difficulty of it, with limited time for exercise, limited food options at times and just the sheer overwhelmingness of it all. “Eat this”, “don’t eat that”, “a little of this”, “not too much of that”…it can be easy to just say forget it.

Conversations like these energize me. I want to find a way to encourage and help people implement daily habits that are manageable, affordable and obtainable. I want to share that doing these things, finding a way to eat right and get in a bit of exercise is providing your body with a little self-care. That taking this time for yourself is not at all selfish, but rather the first step in improving your health, which then hopefully begins to positively impact your family and loved ones.

I have so many dreams for Lemons and Basil and turning it into a place not only of healthy recipes, but a resource to learn and implement healthy living in a realistic way. There are so many “Pages” swimming around my head that I want to build and develop in hopes of making clean-eating more doable, but TIME, time is my issue, time is what I’m lacking. And I know I am not alone in this, it’s likely that every single person reading these words feels the EXACT SAME WAY. So at least we’re all in this battle of time together!

Speaking of time, I’ve already taken up plenty of yours and I haven’t even gotten to the food. But let me quickly encourage you, as I hope I did to my coworker yesterday, that eating clean is a life style. It’s about balance. If you mess up or make some concessions today, no big deal. Tomorrow is a new day and all you have to do is pick back up where you left off. Get back on track. That’s the difference between a diet and a life style, a diet is temporary, and often feels full of “off-limit” items. But a life-style focused on clean eating is about being intentional in what goes in your body and enjoying the benefits of fueling your body with the nourishment it not only needs, but craves!

SO stick with it, and don’t beat yourself up if you slip. In fact, I’ve eaten a small piece of caramel apple cake at work the past two days. But I kept the pieces small and I made sure the rest of my food throughout the day was made up of fresh fruits and vegetables along with some protein, healthy fats, and whole grains. Again, it’s about balance.

Okay, I’ve taken up way too much of your time, all I can say about these Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joe’s is that they are truly amazing! And while it’s been a very long time since I had a traditional meat-filled sloppy joe, I didn’t miss the meat for one second. The texture and flavor were so divine that I nearly swallowed the sandwich whole and was utterly disappointed when there were no more leftovers.

Aside from cooking the lentils, the rest of this dish comes together incredibly quick and is the perfect fare for vegetarians and meat-lovers alike. Try toppings your lentil sloppy joes with some fresh avocado and caramelized onions. I also baked some matchstick Sweet Potato Fries {you can use this recipe for a reference, but cut them into smaller/thinner pieces and bake less time} and used them not only as a tasty side, but even threw a few on top. DELISH!

Also, for those of you who have kept up with the latest on my Mom’s health, I posted a recent update here {final update here}.

As always, I hope you’ll give this one a try! Enjoy and Happy Friday!

Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
These Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes will delight even the most zealous meat-lovers in your family!
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
  • 1 cup dry lentils, cooked according to package
  • ½ tbsp organic coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup unsalted diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup tomato Paste
  • 1½ tbsp chili powder
  • ½ tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½-1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • Suggested Toppings:
  • caramelized onions
  • avocado
  1. Rinse and sort the lentils then cook according to package (I used Trader Joe's Green Lentils and just added water and lentils to pan, brought water to a boil, then simmered 35 minutes until all water was absorbed and lentils were soft)
  2. While lentils cook, add coconut oil and minced garlic to pan and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add onions and bell peppers and cook until onions are translucent, approximately 3-5 minutes.
  4. Then add cooked lentils to the onion and bell peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes to heat through.
  5. Meanwhile, add diced tomatoes, tomato paste, all seasonings (chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, sea salt, black pepper and onion powder), apple cider vinegar, mustard and honey to food processor, blender or NutriBullet and blend for 20-30 seconds or until smooth. Once sauce is well mixed and smooth, add it to the lentil and veggies and stir over medium-low heat until hot.
  6. Divide out for sandwiches, I used approximately ½ cup of sloppy joe mixture per sandwich and got six servings.
  7. Top with desired toppings, we used caramelized onions, avocados and crispy sweet potato sticks!
  8. Enjoy!
Nutrition info INCLUDES BUNS but does NOT include toppings as those will vary based on your preferences. I used Trader Joe's 100%Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns which are 170 calories, 4 grams fat, 30 grams carbs, 6 grams protein, and 4 grams of fiber - just to give you an idea!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 364 Fat: 5.3 Saturated fat: 1 Unsaturated fat: .2 Trans fat: 0 Carbohydrates: 64.2 Sugar: 14 Sodium: 393.6 Fiber: 15.5 Protein: 15.8 Cholesterol: 0

Adapted from Simply Scratch.