When it comes to my carnivorous habits, I like to tell people that I’m “a social meat eater”. I mean I’ll never order a burger for myself, but if I’m at a friend’s house and they hand me a plate of steaming, BBQ sauce drenched ribs (the kind that would have “flavor waves” if there was ever a cartoon version of my life), I’m definitely not going to refuse.
When it comes to cooking for myself, I cook mostly vegetarian. This decision does not stem from any sort of moral obligation, but rather from concern for my physiologic wellbeing. To put it delicately, red meat (well, meat in general) doesn’t really agree with my stomach. I tell myself that it has something to do with my faulty enzymatic breakdown of meat proteins, but it’s probably just the placebo effect. Well, whatever the underlying reason, I tend to avoid most meat products, and I’m pretty sure that decision is greatly appreciated by my closest contacts.
For the most part I don’t feel limited by these dietary restrictions, but there certainly are a couple of foods I’ve always wanted to try, but didn’t feel like risking it – for example, Sloppy Joes. With that being said, one of the limitations of trying to find a good vegetarian version of a meat dish without having tried the real thing is you have nothing to compare against…so even if I think it tastes good I have no idea if it tastes anything like “the real thing”. So, if you choose to try out this recipe, be warned that the primary taste tester has no idea what it’s actually supposed to taste like…That being said, this is a very healthy alternative to it’s gastro-inducing counterpart. Enjoy!
(Adapted from More Make It Fast, Cook It Slow)
What you need:
- 2 cups uncooked lentils
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbs soy sauce
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- 2 tsp brown mustard
- 3 6-ounce cans of tomato paste
- 2 1/4 cups water (add more if you want soupier lentils)
- 8 hamburger buns (or brown rice)
- Cheese (optional)
What you need to do:
- In a large crockpot, combine your rinsed lentils (they don’t require pre-soaking!), onion, celery, green pepper, spices, brown sugar, soy sauce, mustard, tomato paste and water. Stir to combine the ingredients.
- Cover and cook on high for about 3 hours, or until the lentils have softened.
- Serve on hamburger buns or with brown rice. Add cheese if desired (I like the creaminess it adds).