Ever since I was a kid, “Pav Bhaji” was pure comfort food for me. Traditionally, it’s a mix of potatoes, peas, carrots, and Indian spices, served on a warm, toasted, buttered, fluffy white bun as kind of an open-faced sloppy joe. It’s like Indian street food, and it tastes delicious.
And while I do love the traditional version, it’s not the healthiest thing to eat on a regular basis. It’s basically refined carbs, regular carbs, and then more carbs, with a little bit of fat from the butter and cooking oil thrown in. There’s very little fiber and virtually no protein in the original so it doesn’t work as a filling meal. But it tastes SO good!
So I was on a mission: make a healthier “pav bhaji” recipe that tastes just as good as the original, but gives you way more bang for your nutritional buck.
This recipe fits the bill! It looks pretty similar to the traditional version, and tastes the same, but has TONS of secret healthy add-ins that will keep you full, happy, and satisfied for hours.
What are the secrets?
Red lentils to start. When cooked down they become totally mushy and soft, and take on the flavor of anything they’re cooked with. Those little gems bring protein and fiber to the recipe and you won’t even notice them in the dish! To add to that, I dumped in a bunch of veggies: cauliflower, zucchini, and mixed vegetables, and cut the potato-to-other-veggies-in-the-dish ratio way down. There are still potatoes, just not as many as the traditional recipe would call for. And of course, all of the warm, aromatic Indian spices that you’d see in any self-respecting pav bhaji 🙂
I served it on a sprouted wheat burger bun for more protein and fiber, and to make it more like a veggie burger.
The result? An absolutely amazing, spicy, filling and fun dinner, that both the husband and Layla loved.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup dry red lentils
- 1 16oz bag frozen cauliflower
- 1 10oz bag frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans, corn)
- 3 zucchini, diced
- 3 tomatoes, diced
- 1 red onion, diced
- 3 red potatoes, diced
- 2 tbsp ginger
- 1 tbsp garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric
3.5 tsp Pav Bhaji masala (you can get this online or at any Indian store)
1.25 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1/8 or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste if needed)
- Sprouted Wheat Burger Buns
This recipe makes 10 servings. 1 serving = 1/10th of the mixture + 1 sprouted wheat burger bun.
Total cooking time (including prep): 60 minutes
Indian Spiced Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (or “Pav Bhaji”)