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Dinner Tonight: April 1, 2024 Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentil Sloppy Joes


Get in the spirit of April Fool's Day with a family joke contest!


What's the silliest April Fool's prank you encountered today?

This vegetarian take on Sloppy Joes was featured in our book Eat, Laugh, Talk: The Family Dinner Playbook. You can also make a half-meat version by replacing 2 cups of the lentils with half a pound of ground turkey or beef; or you can compromise by cooking some ground meat in a separate skillet, and letting meat-eaters add it to their sandwiches as they wish.


Serves 4-6

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 4 cups cooked lentils (if using canned lentils, drain and rinse first)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Sandwich or burger buns, for serving
  • Shredded cheese of your choice for topping, as desired (optional)


  1. In a deep skillet over medium heat, saute the onion in olive oil until very soft and slightly golden brown.
  2. Add the bell pepper and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, until the bell pepper begins to soften.
  3. Add the cooked lentils and stir. Season with chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until very fragrant.
  4. Add ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and vinegar to the skillet. Stir well.
  5. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the mixture seems try, add some water to it, a little at a time. The lentils should be saucy but not runny.
  6. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Serve on warm buns, with shredded cheese if desired.

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