Add 1 cup water, 2 cups vegetable broth, and 3 Tablespoons tomato sauce to a medium-sized stock pot, and stir to combine. Add ¾ cup dry lentils and stir again to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, then place the lid on the pot and lower heat to simmer for 25-40 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Drain and discard the liquid, set lentils aside. (Alternatively, you can cook the lentils in an instant pot/pressure cooker at high pressure for 14 minutes.)
Meanwhile, mix together the dry seasonings/spices (onion powder, garlic powder, dried minced onion flakes, paprika, cumin, chili powder, ground mustard, sea salt, and black pepper) in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large Dutch oven or stock pot, add the finely diced onion, green pepper, and celery; sauté in olive oil over medium heat. Place the lid on the pot until veggies appear soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add a tablespoon or so of water or broth if they start to stick and/or to prevent burning.
Add minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, then add the combined dry spices (from step #2), and sauté for 1 minute to release their fragrance.
Add 1 cup tomato sauce, ¼ cup water, soy sauce, liquid smoke, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup or honey, molasses, and cooked lentils (from step #1); bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture is thickened.
Serve immediately atop Martin’s Sandwich Potato Rolls, with vinegar-based coleslaw.
Recipe adapted from: https://monkeyandmekitchenadventures.com/