Sloppy and delicious, these Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes are made using pantry essentials including meaty lentils and a tangy tomato sauce. Easy to make, freezer-friendly, and ready in just 30 minutes, serve this lentil sloppy joe recipe sandwiched between a toasted bun with pickled red onions and a side of baked sweet potato fries.
Why You’ll Love Vegetarian Sloppy Joes
Sloppy joes always transport me right back to my childhood. They’re so delicious and comforting. After sharing my favorite meat-filled sloppy joe recipe with you guys last week, I realized that I should probably share this vegetarian version, too.
So what makes these vegetarian sloppy joes so fabulous?
- They’re made with pantry essentials, like lentils.
- Perfect for those families looking to eat less meat.
- They’re protein-packed and fiber-filled.
- A great base recipe. Make your joes spicy, season with taco seasoning, mix with cheese, add some bacon.
- Freeze leftovers for later!
- Simple substitutions to make vegan and gluten-free.
Hearty and easy, lentil sloppy joes are a perfect meal to throw together for family and friends.
Ingredients in Lentil Sloppy Joes
- Lentils – brown or green
- Olive oil
- Bell pepper – any color (I used red)
- Italian seasoning
- Tomato sauce – not jarred pasta sauce. You want plain canned tomato sauce.
- Worcestershire sauce – to make this recipe vegan and gluten-free, substitute regular Worcestershire sauce with Vegan Worcestershire sauce.
- Soy sauce – to make this recipe vegan and gluten-free, substitute with tamari or liquid aminos.
- Dijon mustard
- Hamburger buns
For a sweeter sauce, add a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar or honey. Additional sugar is popular in classic beef sloppy joes, but I chose to leave it out of this recipe on purpose as
For the full list and amounts of ingredients, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
How to Make Vegetarian Sloppy Joes
Lentil sloppy joes are super simple to make. Thay should take approximately 30 minutes to make and will feed between 6-8 people.
Love Lentils? Read all about them in this post (including tons of delicious recipes).
1. Start your lentils. Yep, before you start making your sauce, get your lentils going. Keep an eye on them though- you only want them cooked to al dente.
2. As your lentils cook, start the sauce. Saute the onions and bell pepper, then add the garlic and seasoning. Finally, stir in the canned tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and ketchup.
3. Add the lentils, heat, and serve. Dump your cooked and drained lentils into the sauce and season with additional salt, pepper, ketchup or mustard, to taste. Allow your lentil mixture to cook for a few minutes before plopping a huge spoonful onto a large bun.
Can you freeze leftovers?
Yes, leftover lentil sloppy joe filling freezes really well. As always, allow the mixture to cool completely before transferring to freezer-friendly bags or containers. Freeze for up to 4 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving (you may need to add a few tablespoons of water or broth to help loosen it up).
Serve these lentil sloppy joes topped with crispy white onions or quick-pickled red onions, pickles, or pickled jalapeñ0s. Serve sandwiched between your favorite hamburger bun, wrapped in a warm flour tortilla, or skip the carbs altogether and add top with poached eggs instead. Or, just add some delicious sides like,
More Vegetarian Recipes,
If you try making this Lentil Sloppy Joes Recipe, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Lentil Sloppy Joes - Vegetarian Sloppy Joe Recipe
- 2 cups dry brown or green lentils
- 6 cups water
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium yellow onions - minced
- 1 red bell pepper - stemmed, seeded and minced
- 5 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard - (more or less to taste)
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- salt and pepper - to season
- Hamburger buns - for serving
For the Lentils
- Add lentils to a fine-mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water to remove any dust and dirt. Transfer to a medium-sized pot. Fill with 6 cups of water (or vegetable broth).
- Bring water to a boil over high heat. As soon as it starts to boil, immediately reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Cook for approximately 20 minutes, or al dente.
- Drain the lentils in a fine-mesh strainer and set aside.
For the Lentil Sloppy Joes
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, and cook, stirring often, until soft - approximately 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic and season with Italian seasoning. Continue to cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously.
- Add the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and ketchup to the onions. Mix well and add the lentils to the sauce. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
- Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste, and serve on your favorite toasted hamburger bun.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- This vegetarian lentil sloppy joe mixture can be frozen! Allow mixture to cool completely before transferring to freezer-friendly bags or containers. Freeze for up to 4 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)