Grab a fork, napkin and those tangy toppings, we’re getting sloppy y’all! Freezer friendly vegetarian and vegan Lentil Sloppy Joes are tender, slightly spicy and oh SO crave-worthy. Serve these easy veggie sloppy joes up with your favorite tater tots, Crispy Oven Fries or Texas Potato Salad. This recipe is vegetarian, vegan + easily gluten free [See Recipe Card for VIDEO]
Why You’ll Love These Lentil Sloppy Joes
- Maker Favorite – made over and over again, carnivore and kid approved!
- Nutritious and Filling
- Simple to Make with Pantry Ingredients – included in my favorite Vegetarian Main Meals round up post!
Sari said: “I love this recipe! I’ve made it so many, many times and it’s perfect! My husband loves it too and asks for it all the time.”
A Healthier Discovery: Vegetarian Sloppy Joes
Do you remember? Aqua Net, parachute pants, giant Apple computers, Guns N’ Roses, Van Halen and U2 on the boombox … yoyos (!!). I’m showing my age.
Flashback to the 1980’s when Manwich was a weeknight staple. Ma would whip up sloppy Joes in no time flat and she always served them with tater tots or potato salad. They were one of my favorite things. At the time, vegetarian sloppy joes were unheard of in our household.
I didn’t even know what a lentil was back in the day, let alone be able recognize it if it appeared on my sloppy joe. Never would I thought one day I’d be singing the praises of these veggie sloppy joes!
Ingredients for Lentil Sloppy Joes
Like my other Easy Vegetarian Dinner Recipes, this veggie sloppy joe recipe is all about pulling pantry staples together to make a fabulous dinner! Here’s what you’ll need (see recipe card for details):
- French Lentils – also known as de puy lentils, purchase in the bulk section for best value. They hold their shape after cooking and have a nice firm texture.
- Onion – yellow or red
- Green Bell Pepper
- Chili Powder – your favorite brand
- Paprika – smoky is so nice in this dish!
- Tomato Paste
- Tomato Sauce
- Pickle Juice – a flavor builder for a little tang.
- Vegan Worcestershire – this is also made in a gluten free variety if needed.
- Yellow Mustard
- Maple Syrup
Quick Guide: How to Make Veggie Sloppy Joes
These vegan sloppy Joes are super simple to make and can be meal prepped days in advance (they’re freezer friendly too)! In summary, here’s how to make em’ (see recipe card for details):
- First, put the lentils on to cook.
- Next, while the lentils are cooking, make the sauce. Saute the onions and bell pepper. Stir in the garlic, spices, tomato sauce and tangy ingredients like mustard and pickle juice. Toss in a bit of maple syrup to sweeten the pot.
- Last, when the lentils are done cooking, stir them into the sauce.
Spoon onto buns and top with tangy anything like pickled onions, Pickled Jalapeños, pickles, plenty of mustard and/or a big pile of cooling, creamy coleslaw.
A few glugs of Tabasco are a nice addition too.
It’s simple dinners like this that I like to keep in mind when I’m craving comfort food, yet need it quick. Vegetarian sloppy Joes deliver every time!
A Few Lentil Sloppy Joes Recipe Notes
- Pair this veggie sloppy joes recipe with your favorite coleslaw, Broccoli Slaw with Golden Raisins and Walnuts, tater tots, Crispy Oven Fries, onion rings and/or Texas Potato Salad for the full experience!
- My friend Kelly has a fabulous Quick Pickled Red Onion recipe you can make to pile on top of this vegetarian sandwich!
- Adding a few onion rings on top offers a little crunch too.
- Meal prep ready! Prepare the lentil sloppy joe filling and store in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Freezer friendly? Yes please! Store in a lidded container in the freezer for up to two weeks.
More Vegetarian (and Vegan) Sandwich Recipes to Love
- Italian Pressed Sandwich with Olive Tapenade
- Smashed Chickpea Salad with Pecans and Grapes
- Almond-Sage Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- Cheese-less Smashed Pimento Chickpea Sandwich
- Mushroom and Goat Cheese Veggie Panini
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Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and rating below as it helps others considering making this recipe. If you’re on Instagram, be sure to take a picture and tag me @VanillaAndBean so I can see and share in my stores!
Tangy Lentil Sloppy Joes Recipe
- 1 C (215g) French Lentils *see note
- 4 C (815g) Water
- 1 tsp Sea Salt divided
- 1 Tbs Coconut or Olive Oil unrefined, virgin
- 2 C (245g) Yellow Onion diced (about 1 medium onion)
- 2 C (230g) Green Bell Pepper diced (about 1 large pepper)
- 2 Large Cloves of Garlic minced
- 2 1/2 Tbs Chili Powder
- 1 1/2 tsp Smoky Paprika
- 3 Tbs Tomato Paste
- 1 1/2 C (426g) Tomato Sauce (1 Can)
- 1 Tbs Pickle Juice or other pickling brine like olive
- 2 tsp Vegan Worcestershire
- 3 Tbs Yellow Mustard
- 2-3 Tbs Maple Syrup or more to taste
Serve with (Optional):
- Hamburger Buns
- Pickles, Tabasco, quick pickled onions, jalapeños, extra mustard, coleslaw.
- In a small sauce pot, add the lentils, water and 1/8 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down to low. Cook for about 20-22 minutes, or until tender. Drain the lentils. Set aside.
- While the lentils are cooking, add the oil to a large saute pan and heat until shimmering. Add the onion and cook on low with 1/8 tsp salt for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bell pepper during the last 7-8 minutes of cooking the onions and soften, stirring occasionally.
- To the onion/pepper mixture add the garlic, chili powder, paprika and 3/4 tsp salt continuing to cook on low. Stir to coat the veggies. Add the tomato paste, sauce, pickle juice, Worcestershire, mustard and maple syrup. Stir to incorporate. Add the cooked lentils and stir again cooking on low for 5-10 minutes to warm through and to thicken a bit. Serve with warmed buns and condiments.
- Store the sloppy joes in a lidded container for up to three days or freeze for up to two weeks.
I’ve now made these at least seven times in the past few months and they are perfect! Always a big hit at our church potlucks which are vegetarian.
For potluck I quadruple the recipe and it fills a large crockpot to the brim. Makes about 48 sloppy Jo’s on regular-sized hamburger buns. I do cut back on the tomato sauce by 1/4 to make them just a little less “sloppy”. Love these. Thank you for the recipe!
Hooray! Thank you for your note, star rating, and sharing your tips, Cathy! Super happy to hear y’all are enjoying the recipe!
Love this recipe. I have made this multiple times and it never disappoints. I have been using TruRoots green quick cooking lentils. Saves time and works fine! Brioche buns really take it over the top. Thank you! :)
Hooray, Shelly! Thank you for your note, tip about the quick cooking lentils and five star rating. Super happy to hear you’re enjoying the Sloppy Joes!
I’ve made a few lentil sloppy joe recipes and this one is by far the best! So flavorful, perfect texture. Definitely will be making again.
Hooray! Thank you for your note, Sonya and giving the recipe a go!
Traci’s recipes never disappoint! We had this tonight on Ezekiel bread and the left-overs and covering sweet potatoes tomorrow for lunch. Thanks for another great recipe :)
Hiii Delin! SO happy to read your note. Thank you for sharing! With sweet potatoes is one of my favorite ways to enjoy these lentils!
Can other kinds of lentils be used in this recipe?
Hi Karen! For this recipe you’ll want a lentil that keeps its shape after cooking, so you’ll want to stick to green or brown lentils (or French as indicated). Red or yellow tend to get a bit too soft for this application. I hope this helps and you enjoy the recipe!