1 1/2 cups brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 yellow onion, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 (6-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
8 Gluten free buns
Place lentils in a small pot. Cover with 2 inches of water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne and tomato paste. Cook, stirring constantly until spices and tomato paste are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add vinegar and then use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Add 2 cups water, garlic, apricots and crushed tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and let sauce simmer until it thickens, at least 30 minutes.
When lentils are cooked, drain off any excess cooking liquid. Add lentils to the pan with sauce; stir well to combine. Mash some or all of the lentils using a wooden spoon. Toast hamburger buns in the oven, if desired. Ladle 1 cup of the lentil mixture on each toasted bun and serve.