The perfectly savory and delicious Lentil Sloppy Joe Recipe is here! Easy to make with lentils and a flavorful sauce packed with clean ingredients, these vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes will not disappoint!
Yep. You read it right. This is a “Sloppy Joe” without the meat, preservatives, additives, etc. These are unprocessed, whole-food Lentil Sloppy Joes. And they’re SO good!
Anyone else out there reminded of childhood dinners when you think of Sloppy Joes? Classic Sloppy Joes were always a hit at our house growing up. So, I decided to take everything we love about this nostalgic sandwich, put a healthy twist on it, and serve it on buns for a meal that kids (and adults) will love! Don’t want the bun? It’s also great over your favorite salad.
Ingredients for Lentil Sloppy Joes:
I was pleasantly surprised by how well this dish worked. I was a bit of a skeptic going in, thinking, “can lentils with some tomato sauce, seasonings and maple syrup really replace ground beef smothered in whatever-it-is-that-comes-in-the-manwich-can?”. Is that possible?
The answer is definitely yes! This turned out to be an ooey, gooey, comforting sandwich that absolutely hit the spot. Here’s everything you need to make it:
- Olive oil – for cooking the veggies.
- Onion, green pepper and garlic – adds delicious savory flavor.
- Cooked lentils – I used pre-cooked lentils from Trader Joe’s, which is a huge time-saver (and the way my recipe is written). If you are making lentils from scratch, you might want to check out the original recipe for some guidance.
- Spices – This recipe uses a blend of chili powder, oregano and cayenne pepper to perfectly season the sauce.
- Sloppy Joes sauce – That classic tomato-ey flavor you love in a traditional Sloppy Joe is achieved through a tasty combination of: crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, maple syrup and yellow mustard.
- Rolls or buns – for serving. I recommend toasting your bun before adding the Sloppy Joes mixture, so it doesn’t end up soggy.
How to make Lentil Sloppy Joes:
This homemade lentil Sloppy Joes recipe is incredibly easy to make, and comes together in one skillet in under 30 minutes. Here’s the easy method:
- Sauté the veggies – Start by cooking the onion, green pepper and garlic. Once the veggies are soft, add in the lentils.
- Cook the lentils – Stir the lentils with the spices and then mix in the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Let this mixture cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in maple syrup and mustard and cook another two minutes or so.
- Assemble sandwiches – Serve the Sloppy Joes filling piled high on toasted Kaiser rolls or burger buns. If you want to add extra toppings to your sandwich, sliced red onion, pickles and cheese are all delicious options on these Sloppy Joes. Enjoy!
Ways to serve Sloppy Joes:
Sloppy Joes are typically served on a hamburger bun. Other than the classic Sloppy Joes sandwich, here are some other tasty ways to serve them:
- Keep it light and serve it, open faced, on only half of a bun.
- Use it as a stuffing to fill baked russet potatoes or baked sweet potatoes.
- Spread the Lentil Sloppy Joes over some baked tortilla chips along with some light, shredded cheese to make a Lentil Joes Nacho plate.
- Mix the filling into some whole grain pasta tossed with some simple steamed broccoli.
- Serve it over spaghetti squash.
- Or simply eat it on its own.
What sides to serve with Vegetarian Sloppy Joes:
Lentil Sloppy Joes pair wonderfully with anything you would pair with a sandwich or burger. Here are some serving suggestions:
- Salads – Cucumber Tomato Salad, Creamy Cucumber Salad, Simple Coleslaw, Pasta Salad
- Potatoes – Sweet Potato Fries, Roasted Potatoes, Potato Chips, Baked Potato, Potato Salad, Tater Tots, Mashed Potatoes
- Other sides – Mac and Cheese, Sautéed Broccoli, Roasted Radishes, Baked Beans, Dill Pickles, Corn on the Cob
These healthy Lentil Sloppy Joes are weeknight meal perfection. A one-pan meal ready in under 30 minutes that is family-friendly, satisfying, and comforting. I hope you get a chance to give this one a try soon!
Storage & Reheating Tips:
Storing leftovers – If you have leftover Lentil Sloppy Joes, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. The Sloppy Joe filling freezes well too. To freeze, transfer it to an airtight container or freezer-safe re-sealable baggie and freeze for up to 3 months.
Reheating – If frozen, thaw the Sloppy Joe filling overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stove. Always assemble Sloppy Joe sandwiches right before serving so that the buns don’t get soggy.
More family dinners you’ll love:
If you make this Lentil Sloppy Joes recipe, be sure to leave a comment and ★ rating below letting me know how it turned out. Your feedback is so helpful for me and our Clean & Delicious community (thank you!).
Lentil Sloppy Joes
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 green pepper diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cup cooked lentils
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp oregano
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 1/4- cup tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 8 small Kaiser rolls or sesame buns*
- Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over a medium high heat. Add the onion and pepper and sauté for about eight minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and sauté another couple of minutes.
- Add the cooked lentils, chili powder, oregano and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and pepper and then stir in the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Cook for another ten minutes or so (if it looks a little dry, or if you just want it extra gooey, add some extra tomatoes and/or a few splashes of water). Stir in maple syrup and mustard and cook another two minutes or so.
- Spoon a cup of the Sloppy Joes filling onto a toasted mini Kaiser roll or hamburger bun. Enjoy!!
- Makes 8 servings.