These EASY and HEALTHY slow cooker bbq lentils are the perfect addition to any bbq summer meal AND a comforting fall meal. Gluten free, grain free, high in plant based protein and iron and budget friendly! Can be made vegetarian/vegan.
Healthy comfort food. That’s going to be the theme this fall.
Yes, it’s August. But, it’s the 9th which is like… the 2nd week of August which means we’re just over 2 weeks away from September which means FALL.
Even though I’m pretty sure it’s not technically fall til October… is it? One sec, lemme check.
OKOK Google tells me it’s September 22nd.
But can we just be honest about the fact that basically all food bloggers (bold statement) start prepping for Fall by August.. or even July (hi, me) and that I can’t possibly be consuming fall food without getting in a fall mindset… and also that it’s been chilly AF when I go downstairs in the morning wrapped up in my winter housecoat because it’s cold at night and in the mornings these days. It’s even staying cool enough to wear long yoga pants & hoodies all day long while having the oven on for 4 hours while I slow roast… a roast. And potatoes for Mark WITHOUT the air conditioning.
Yeah, it’s fall in our house.
Many years ago, fall for me was just squash. Squash on squash on squash with some apples thrown in for good measure. I didn’t really do anything ‘creative’ or really comfort food-y. IT was just roasted squash with some salt and butter, cinnamon and brown sugar maybe, turned in to soup or just eaten whole, and then a lot of snacking on apples.
OH and pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin cream cheese muffins, obviously. I was usually more excited about tall boots, scarves and sweaters than the food.
Then I moved on to better fall food. Comforting fall food. I won’t say it wasn’t healthy, because I always make healthy food. My definition might be different than yours… basically I just cook real food, from scratch, minus the chemicals, BIG on the love. Usually local, organic as much as I can, hormone free, all that jazz. But I still favored heavier foods most of the time.
I was in a time in my life where my body just really craved heavier foods. ESPECIALLY in the fall. Legit, my FAVORITE fall meal, which just so happens to be the blog’s most popular post and the post that put me on the map in the blog world, is my apple, mushroom and sausage stuffed acorn squash. OH MY GOSH. It is just the best. I make it every year, and I’ll be making it again this year. FOR SURE.
But aside from that, I don’t tend to favor heavy food regularly. My body is more in to lighter comfort foods. I still want slow simmered, comforting scents filling my house, from scratch, soul food. I just, in this season of life, need more vegetables, more legumes, more whole grains, more lean proteins and less butter.
I can’t even believe I just said that.
Have I mentioned my distaste for all things pork lately? I’m pro turkey all the way these days. Pork has been turning me off for months. No thank you.
So today I give you slow cooker bbq lentils. With smoked turkey sausage. It’s like pork and beans… but it’s turkey and lentils.
Is it fall food? Or summer bbq food? I guess it’s both. So I can justify posting this on August 9th. I mean, it’s made in the slow cooker so if it’s still hawt where you are, you won’t add heat to your house and you can eat it with your bbq foooods. BUT if it’s chilly, or you’re finding this recipe 2 months later and it’s fall, then you can slow cook this pot of love all day, come home to the most excellent smell filling your house and feel warm and comforted as you warm up to a plate of these bbq lentils poured over a baked potato and some greeeenz.
Or really just take a couple slices of buttered bread and dunk, scoop, and shove in your face. With a fried egg while you’re at it.
This is going too far. I need to be done.
I’ll see ya back here on Saturday for more healthy comfort food. It’s also kind of summerish…. but also fallish. It’s both. I promise.
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp paprika, sweet or smoked
- 1 6oz can tomato paste + 18oz water (can filled 3 times)
- ½ C of your favorite bbq sauce, sweet or smoky... or sweet AND smoky!
- 1½ C dry green lentils, rinsed
- 3½ C water
- 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 1 TBSP tamari soy sauce
- 2 tsp yellow mustard
- 150g smoked turkey sausage, chopped up in to small pieces
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- salt and pepper, to taste
- A few drops of liquid smoke, optional
- In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and paprika and continue to cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
- Add the tomato paste and cook for 5-7 minutes, until starting to brown.
- Add 3 cans full of water (18oz) to the pan and stir until a smooth sauce forms. Add a good few pinches of salt and pepper then transfer to your slow cooker. Add Worcestershire sauce, sausage, soy sauce, mustard, lentils and water. Stir to combine.
- Cook on high for 3½-4 hours or on low for 6-8. It's done when the lentils are tender but not mushy.
- Add apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper to your liking. If using smoke, go ahead and add it in. It isn't necessary but I usually add ⅛-1/4 tsp liquid hickory smoke.
- Serve over buttered baked potatoes and greens, with your favorite bbq meats and veggies, crusty bread and butter, fried eggs, etc. Go wild.
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