Lentil Joes (Vegan Sloppy Joes)

This post is written by Samuel, Bonnie’s husband

For dinner a little while ago my wife and I made Lentil Joes with homemade BBQ sauce. This is a delicious meal that is fairly easy to cook, cheap, and makes getting some vegetables into dinner easy. It will take around an hour if you make the lentils. I don’t know if I’ve seen canned lentils, but you could use other beans and it would probably still work well. For meat eaters, using half ground beef and half lentils is a great way to save money and add some nutritional variety.

The pictures unfortunately are from more recently. We tried it again and added quinoa. Bonnie really liked it; I could take it or leave it.

I expect this is enough to feed 5-8 adults.  Other commentary is below the recipe.

Recipe

Ingredients:
Sauté oil
2 onions
1 cup other vegetable*
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 ½ cups dry (about 5? Cups cooked) lentils**
1 heaping Tablespoon vegetable broth (I estimate we used about 4 teaspoons)
1/3 to ½ cup BBQ sauce, or just to taste (we used this recipe from Gimme Some Oven and it was wonderful)
¼ cup tomato sauce***
3 Tablespoons ketchup (one big squirt from a big bottle)

Note: If too thin, you can add a little bit of cornstarch dissolved in cold water. Our lentils were ended up with extra water and we needed to thicken it a little bit, so we did.

 

Instructions:

Sauté the onions and vegetables in the oil, and add the salt and garlic as they are sautéing. When they are sautéed to taste, add the lentils, veggie broth, and sauces. We added the tomato sauce because it was left over (and we did not measure). We don’t think it really mattered, and would be comfortable omitting it.

Mix well and simmer for at least a minute. Serve on toast

*I did not measure, but I polished off a nearly gone bag of peas and added around ½ cup or more of frozen spinach. The vegetables did not seem to affect the taste. I wanted to add grated carrots, but we were out of carrots. The amount of 1 cup is arbitrary and reflects somewhere close to what I did, but I would have done more if we had carrots.

**I cooked about 2 ½ cups, but I saved what was supposed to be about 1 cup dry for another meal. I think I used the equivalent of 2 ½ to 3 cans of beans. Instructions to cook lentils should be on the lentil bag, and they’re easier and much faster than most beans.

***We had a small amount of tomato sauce left from making barbecue sauce. I don’t think it is actually necessary.

Ours came out wetter than we would have liked, so we simmered for a while and it got better. I still expect the consistency will be a little more sandwichable as leftovers.

It’s enough like Sloppy Joes to satisfy me, and definitely delicious. Just like in this recipe, I don’t usually do meat imitations, and although I’m new to vegan eating, I found I hardly thought about the fact that it didn’t have meat. We made a very large batch, so if needed, cut it in half. We weren’t close to throwing any away between my wife and I and our two-year-old boy.

I alluded to this above, but if you don’t want to or don’t have time to cook beans, you can try canned beans, but I haven’t seen canned lentils or tried other beans. Lentils are much faster than larger beans to cook from a dry bag of beans, taking only about 45 minutes. If you try with canned beans, be sure to leave a comment and let us know how it went. I expect it will work well if you use a smaller bean such as a black bean.

I will consider doubling the garlic when I make it again. With Bonnie’s homemade BBQ sauce (recipe here) it was flavorful, but more garlic might have kicked it up a notch. Bonnie made the BBQ sauce by taste more than by exact measuring, and it came out great.

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Never-Fail Vegan Oreos

There are very few perfect treats in this world, and Oreos are high on my list of perfectly yummy delicacies.

Aren’t they pretty?

The best part of these little sandwich cookies is that they are 100% vegan and nitrate free. (Common animal products substitutions are included in parentheses.)

Yep!

Just be sure to use vegan sugar, (apparently some sugar is made a certain way that uses animal products) if this is an issue for you.

For my recipe, I’ve drawn the cookie recipe from here, and the filling recipe from here. However, some modifications have been made.

Both very good recipes, but Mine needed to be vegan, not call for anything I wouldn’t usually have on hand, etc.

For the cookies:

  • 1 cup coconut oil, solid (can substitute butter)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (I sometimes use raw, but the larger grains could make an odd texture)
  • 1 flax egg (1 Tbs ground flax seed, 3 Tbs water, mixed together before being added.) (can substitute an egg).
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, solid
  • 1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon nondairy milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)
  • Pinch kosher salt

Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla, and beat until well incorporated.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture, beating on the lowest speed.  Continue to mix on the lowest setting until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.

Divide the dough in half, and shape into two discs.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

When the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a baking mat.  Set aside.

Roll the dough to 1/8 – 1/4-inch thickness.  Use a cookie cutter (approximately 2 inches in diameter) to cut out cookies and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet. I used the wide end of a large frosting tip to cut out these teeny ones.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cookies are cooled, prepare the filling.  Combine the softened butter, half and half, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined.  The mixture may be a bit lumpy, but will come together.  Add the powdered sugar gradually, approximately 1/3 cup at a time, until the filling comes together.  It will be slightly stiffer than a cupcake frosting. Try not to snitch too much of it, so you can save it for the cookies!

Transfer the filling to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip.  Pipe the filling onto half of the cookies, and top with the remaining cookies to form cookie sandwiches.

The cookies are best chilled, but there’s no wrong way to eat these. Eating them straight out of the freezer is wonderful and keeps them good for longer than they’ve ever lasted at my house.

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Japanese Cheesecake

My birthday cake!

Based off of a very popular online recipe, I made a wiggly, jiggly, delectable cake that was very memorable.

I’ll link to the original, and just add my tips to make it.

  1. Read the recipe all the way through before you do anything.
  2. Prepare your ingredients, because once you get going, it can be pretty involved.
  3. Follow the instructions, and DO use a springform pan (if you have one)but also,  do put  foil tightly around the bottom to prevent leakage. Don’t forget the parchment paper so removing the cake from the pan goes smoothly.

According to Tasty’s recipe:

Ingredients

for 6 servings

  • ½ cup (130 mL) milk
  • 4 oz (100 g) cream cheese
  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 8 eggs, yolk
  • ¼ cup (60 g) flour
  • ¼ cup (60 g) cornstarch
  • 13 large egg whites
  • ⅔ cup (130 g) granulated sugar
  • parchment paper
  • strawberry, to serve
  • powdered sugar, to serve

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 320°F (160°C).
  2. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk the milk, cream cheese, and butter until smooth. Remove from heat and cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth, then slowly drizzle in the cream mixture, stirring until evenly combined.
  4. Sift in the flour and the cornstarch, whisking to make sure there are no lumps.
  5. In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until you see soft peaks when lifting the mixer up from the egg whites. Gradually add the sugar while continuing to beat until you see hard peaks when lifting the mixer up.
  6. Take about ¼ of the egg whites and fold them into the egg yolk mixture, then repeat with the remaining egg whites until the batter is evenly combined.
  7. Place a 4-inch (10-cm) parchment paper strip around the edge of a 9×3-inch (23 cm) cake pan that is already lined with parchment at the bottom. If you are using a springform pan, make sure to wrap the bottom and sides completely in foil, twice, to prevent any leakage.
  8. Pour the batter into the parchment-lined pan and shake to release any large air bubbles.
  9. Place the filled pan into a larger baking pan or dish lined with 2 paper towels at the bottom. The paper towels ensure that the heat is distributed evenly along the bottom of the pan. Fill the larger pan about 1-inch (2-cm) with hot water.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes, then reduce the heat to 280°F (135°C), and bake for another 55 minutes, until the cake has risen to almost double its height.
  11. Remove from oven, and carefully, invert the cake onto your dominant hand and peel off the paper. Be extremely careful, the cake will be hot. You can also invert the cake onto a plate, but this will cause the cake to deflate more.
  12. Sprinkle the top of the cake with powdered sugar, slice, and serve with strawberries while still warm!
  13. Enjoy!
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