hot lunch: apple-lentil slappy joes

apple-lentil slappyjoes | everybody likes sandwiches

For one year, in grade seven, my school decided to raise money by having “Hot Lunch Wednesdays”. Instead of bringing our lunches on Wednesdays, if our parents paid into the system, we’d get a hot lunch prepared and served by Nick, our school custodian. Trust me, the lunches were better than you might think. Nick was beloved in our school and the lunches were highly sought after. My favourites were the beef pies with gravy and the sloppy joes – two things that weren’t in my mom’s repertoire. My mom made beef pies on occasion, but they were filled with rutabaga and other vegetables along with beef. Nick the Custodian’s pies were sized individually, came inverted and covered in gravy. They were, I later realized, from the supermarket’s frozen section and unlike my mom’s pies, there was not a vegetable in sight. My grade seven self cheered loudly. But it was the sloppy joes that made the biggest hot lunch impact. The combination of the beefy chili hitting the hamburger bun was a match made in heaven for my tender tastebuds. The hamburger bun was transformed from a bun to a wet delicious sponge (I know, it doesn’t sound that good to me either). When I got home, I begged my mom to pour a ladle of her homemade Bolognese sauce over some sandwich bread so I could replicate a sloppy joe at home. It was true comfort food.

apple-lentil slappyjoes | everybody likes sandwiches

I first had lentil sloppy joes at a local brew pub and was gobsmacked that I had never heard of such a thing. It was tasty, healthy and paired well with a beer. Not too shabby. I remember bookmarking the Snobby Joes recipe from Veganomicon, but never following through. Until today. But this recipe isn’t the same one from that cookbook. Instead of cooking the lentils separately, I cooked them like I would in a stew hoping to get a smoky flavourful dish. I also wanted to use up an apple that had been sitting in my crisper since December. Not so great for snacking on, but oh so good for cooking. I was well rewarded. This dish is simple and hearty and gives me all those good kind of feelings that I had back in grade seven.

apple-lentil slappyjoes | everybody likes sandwiches

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18 comments to “hot lunch: apple-lentil slappy joes”

  1. 1
    Lydia   March 31, 2014 at 2:14 am

    You read my mind. I was craving something with apples and lentils just the other day- and I only have green ones. I’m new to liking lentils, so I’m excited to try this!

  2. 2
    Joanne   March 31, 2014 at 3:34 am

    Sloppy joes are a ubiquitous childhood favorite, I think! There something about the messiness factor combined with the deliciousness. Must try this veg version!

  3. 3
    cheri   March 31, 2014 at 5:53 am

    What a great combination, I bet it’s delicious, will have to try.

  4. 4
    Sara   March 31, 2014 at 8:10 am

    No offense to vegans, but I might have to try this with bacon added … ;)

  5. 5
    Nicole   March 31, 2014 at 9:05 am

    These look great! I very rarely had lunch at school and I felt the same way when I was able to! I like that you cooked the lentils like a stew instead of cooking them separately. Easy and I’m sure it helps infuse great flavor. Thanks for sharing!

  6. 6
    Eileen   March 31, 2014 at 10:02 am

    I haven’t even thought about sloppy joes in…I have no idea how long. Maybe since actual high school? But now that I’ve seen this, I think I’m going to have to make up a batch very soon indeed. Perfect for the rainy days we’ve been having!

  7. 7
    kickpleat   March 31, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Wow, how specific, Lydia :) I hope you enjoy this one! I also have a few other lentil-apple recipes on my blog if you’re up to searching.

    Definitely, Joanne!

    Thanks Cheri.

    Nicole, hot lunches were so much more preferable to cold peanut butter sandwiches :)

    Eileen, I know, it’s a throw back to an earlier time. Hope you enjoy this updated version.

  8. 8
    Viktoria   March 31, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Looks great! Might I ask where you got those ww buns? They look like a brand that Drive Organics used to carry, but don’t anymore :(

  9. 9
    kickpleat   March 31, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Viktoria, I got them at Whole Foods – I know, it’s so difficult finding ww hamburger buns on the drive lately. Uprising seems to have stopped making them. I can’t remember the brand, but it was BC-based.

  10. 10
    Jennifer   March 31, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    I have to agree with Sara…some bacon on this would be divine! Great looking recipe.

  11. 11
    Elizabeth   March 31, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    I’ve never tried cooking apples with lentils but it sounds mighty good. A very tasty looking hot lunch.

  12. 12
    Lucy @ Lucyeats   April 1, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Looks so hearty and perfect for cold days :)

  13. 13
    Tiffany @ Triple Crème Decadence   April 1, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Ooh lentils in sloppy joe form..sign me up!

  14. 14
    Robert F   April 4, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    I made this and enjoyed it, but I wanted a somewhat more tomato-y flavor. So I added more ketchup, wine, and a big shot of Worcestershire sauce; this give it a beefier mouth feel. Unfortunately, my ancient green lentils never softened, but the dish was an overall solid meal.

    I’m not vegan and I don’t take offense to bacon, but adding bacon to a vegan meal is like adding shredded cheddar to a salad, it sort of misses the point.

    Oh, and consider moving “2 c water” to a separate line. My eye stopped at “wine” and I had a hard time finding that ingredient.

  15. 15
    kickpleat   April 4, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Jennifer, I’m not one of those bacon gimme-gimme types :) But go right ahead, I’m sure it would be wonderful! Thanks :)

    Elizabeth, it’s a good pairing, give it a try!

    Thanks Lucy & Tiffany!

    RobertF, you know my plan was to add worcestershire but I totally forgot! Glad it worked out well. If I had a can of tomatoes on hand, those would have been added in. I have to disagree about adding cheese to salad – LOVE it :) Edited recipe, thanks!!

  16. 16
    JoanneM   May 3, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Loved reading your childhood story about lunches at school. Could a nostalgic food memoir be around the corner? ;-) Lots of memories on my end too for Sloppy Joes. My mom didn’t make them but I would just take her standard Greek meat sauce that she made for spaghetti and I’d ladle it onto a hamburger bun. It’s been ages since I’ve eaten a Sloppy Joe. I don’t think I could stop at one though, and that might become a problem lol.

  17. 17
    Lisa   May 7, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I’ve made this three times now, and it is the perfect easy thing to bring to work for lunch or dinner on the run. I got super lazy and substituted a half a jar of BBQ sauce for the ketchup/marinara/etc one day (kept the sriracha!) and had half the department looking over my shoulder while I ate. Heartfelt thanks for sharing this!!!

  18. 18
    kickpleat   May 8, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Joanne, ha, I don’t think so, but you never know :) These are a good version and you could make them with other kinds of beans if lentils are bothersome.

    Lisa, so glad you are loving this meal! Yay, I’m thrilled that it’s become a go-to dish :)

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