Sloppy joes are known for being hearty, delicious, and well… sloppy! But even if you don’t eat meat or other animal products, it’s possible to enjoy this classic comfort food. The trick is to use lentils, a legume that’s rich in protein and fiber. Plus, by making sauce with fresh and flavorful ingredients, you won’t have to buy the canned stuff. The result is a wholesome, filling meal that’s perfect for vegans and plant-based eaters alike.

Vegan lentil sloppy joes

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Things You’ll Need

  • 1 cup uncooked lentils of choice

  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth (or according to packaging)

  • Olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups diced green or red bell pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups diced yellow onion

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons mustard

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Ingredients for vegan lentil sloppy joes

Step 1

Cook the lentils according to the package’s directions. Pay attention to the amount of liquid needed, as different brands and types have different requirements. However, if you want slightly mushier sloppy joes, use a little more liquid. You can also mash up the lentils once they’re cooked.

Cook lentils

Step 2

Set aside the lentils. In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over low-medium heat. Sauté the minced garlic for 3 to 5 minutes or until fragrant. Add the diced peppers and onions, drizzling on more olive oil as needed. Cook until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Cook peppers and onions

Step 3

Add the lentils and remaining ingredients.

Vegan lentil sloppy joe ingredients

Step 4

Mix well. Simmer over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Give it a taste and add more spices or condiments, if needed.

Cook lentil sloppy joe filling

Step 5

Serve on whole wheat or gluten-free buns. This recipe makes enough for about eight sloppy joe sandwiches. Don’t forget the pickles and sweet potato fries, too!

Vegan lentil sloppy joes

Wasn’t that easy? If you’re all out of buns, this vegan lentil sloppy joe recipe is also tasty on top of salad or quinoa. You can even eat it in taco shells or on top of tortilla chips. No matter your style, we bet you’ll want seconds (and thirds) of this delicious dish.


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