Growing up, I always felt a tad deprived our family never had classic sloppy joes at home. They just weren’t something my mom prepared for us, meaning I only had them if I begged to get school lunch—yes, sometimes I would plead for school lunch, since I was a lunch-box kid—or if I struck sloppy-j-gold when eating over at a friend’s house. There was something I loved about sweetly sauced meat mixture, the pillow-y soft buns and shamelessly messy nature inherent to this dish.
As an adult, I’m pretty sure I know why my mom wasn’t crazy for the classic sloppy joe, and I’m sure it was due with the lack of vegetable content. These Lentil & White Bean Sloppy Joe sliders have all the flavors of the classic, with a hefty hand of vegetables, plus nutritious and filling legumes. Since the standard sloppy joe can be a bit of a meat-fest, these joes replace all of the meat with lentils and white beans. The combination of both legumes is the key to adding textural interest, and ensures that these won’t be mistaken for a mush-fest.
To start, gather your ingredients: tender lentils and white beans, carrot, onion, poblano pepper and garlic, plus ketchup, brown sugar, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire, all make for a healthful and hearty sloppy joe.
After the vegetables are cooked though, mix in and heat up the remaining ingredients. I like to add several dashes of a vinegary hot sauce. It’s totally optional, so if your family dislikes spice, feel free to omit.
Then, pile on a heap of this veggie- and fiber-packed saucy mixture onto tender-soft slider buns. Messy, delicious and comforting!