Both Ian and I remember exactly what we ate on the night he proposed to me. Vegetarian sloppy joes.

July 15, 2006

The oddity of this meal is significant in the memory of that night. He proposed in a place, my house in Thoreau, NM, that we had spent very little time in and that I would move out of just a few weeks later. We don’t have that location to bring our daughters to and fondly say “this is the spot,” but we do have that simple meal to joke about. Thanks to a bit of internet searching, I can now repeat that meal all around the world.

The original sloppy joes came from a white Fantastic Foods box. Ian had stopped at the local co-op in Gallup (the grocery stores would never carry¬†something so exotic!) on his way to spend what was perhaps one of two nights we passed in Thoreau in the year I lived there. The Fantastic Foods mix was perfect in that it took no time and only a jar of tomato paste to put together. We ate it often during our graduate school days. Of course now that we are living as expats, Fantastic Foods is impossible to come by. Sloppy joes have slipped from a common meal to a fond memory. Until this recipe. While the texture doesn’t match that of the TVP used by Fantastic Foods, the flavor is spot on. As per our tradition, we eat it on simple bread (hamburger buns are great) with mayonaise, cheese and pickles. This recipe boosts the dish from easy and filling to healthy with the use of lentils and flax seed. The jury is out on whether it is kid-friendly as our daughter threw such a fit at the table that she went to bed without eating. Due to her exhaustion, Ian and I were able to once again enjoy a favorite meal, just the two of us and the bags under our eyes.

October 28, 2011 · Recipe · 1 comment

From Apron Strings Blog.

1 1/2 cups lentils (I used red)
2 tablespoons flax seeds
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar

(I added a dash of Wochestershire sauce)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons powdered oregano
1 tablespoon dried mustard (I used prepared)
4 cups water (I used 3)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add lentils, flax seeds and bay leaf. Boil for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit another 10 minutes. Drain off water and remove bay leaves.

In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onion and green pepper in oil until softened, about 3 minutes. Add in lentils and flax seeds. Stir together remaining ingredients and then stir into skillet mixture. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 30 minutes, until lentils are softened and almost all liquid has evaporated.

Serve over buns of your choice, with a slice of cheese, if desired.