These vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes are made in the Instant Pot with just a few simple and inexpensive ingredients. Freezer-friendly and kid-friendly, these sandwiches are the perfect healthy comfort food.
I'm excited to share this lentil sloppy joe recipe with you!
Lentils have been making their way into my Instant Pot cooking a lot lately, so it was only a matter of time before vegan lentil sloppy joes became a thing.
I'm not going to lie. Sloppy joes are called sloppy joes for a reason. They are sloppy. You'll just have to have fun while eating these sandwiches. And maybe wear a bib or put a napkin in your lap?
Did everyone receive sloppy joes for school lunch as a kid or was that just me and my fellow Midwestern classmates? I was never a fan of the original sloppy joe, so I took that as a challenge to make a vegan instant pot version that would make me (and you!) happy.
These lentil sloppy joes are like the grown-up, healthier version of that long-gone cafeteria sandwich.
Spice them up with some hot sauce and your favorite BBQ sauce of choice, pile the lentils high on the burger bun of your choice, and choose your toppings.
Here's why Instant Pot Lentil Sloppy Joes are the best
- They require just 10 minutes of hands-on time. The rest of the cook time is up to the Instant Pot!
- These sandwiches are tangy and packed with that classic sweet sloppy joe flavor.
- They're inexpensive and require simple, plant-based pantry ingredients
- Lentils are packed with fiber and plant protein, making this a filling and healthy recipe!
How to make Instant Pot lentil sloppy joes
Start by pressing the "saute" function on your Instant Pot. Heat the olive oil, then saute diced onion and carrot until softened, about 6 minutes.
Next add the garlic and saute a minute more, until aromatic.
Stir in the remaining ingredients (except BBQ sauce) that take this from just lentils to sloppy joe lentils: ketchup, dijon mustard, brown sugar, Vegan Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, salt, and the dry lentils. Add vegetable broth or water; veg broth will add more flavor (and sodium) but water will do in a pinch.
Lock the lid in place. Set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 15 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally. All in all, it should take about 40 minutes for the pot to come to pressure, cook, then release pressure.
Unlock the lid and stir in the BBQ sauce. This adds an extra punch of flavor and sloppiness. Choose your favorite barbecue sauce for a fun flavor, or use this sweet and spicy vegan barbecue sauce.
Can the lentil filling be frozen?
Yes! Add the lentil sloppy joe filling to a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the fridge before using or heat up in the microwave or stove for quick use.
Toppings and Serving Ideas
- raw white onion rings (or maybe even caramelized onions?)
- romaine lettuce or arugula
- avocado (because who can say no to healthy fats?)
For a classic Midwestern meal, enjoy a sloppy joe sandwich with a side of chips and vegan french onion dip.
Looking for similar recipes?
- Instant Pot Red Lentil Curry with Sweet Potatoes
- Mushroom and Lentil Casserole with Mashed Potatoes
- Vegetarian Mushroom Philly Cheesesteak
- Vegetarian Reuben with Quick Pickled Cabbage
Looking for a stove top version? These vegan lentil sloppy joes are the same recipe, minus the Instant Pot!
Instant Pot Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joes
- 1 cup dry green or brown lentils rinsed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- ½ cup diced carrot
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce check ingredient list to make sure its vegan
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce optional
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 and ¼ cups water or vegetable broth
- ¼ cup barbecue sauce
- 5 burger buns
- optional toppings: lettuce, white onion, pickles, avocado
- Press the "saute" function on your Instant Pot. Set to "normal" heat and set the timer for 7 minutes. Add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Saute diced onions and carrots for about 6 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Add garlic and saute a minute more.
- Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT barbecue sauce: dry lentils, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and water or veg broth.
- Lock the lid in place and set the pressure vent to "sealing". Press the "high pressure" button and set the timer to 15 minutes. It will take ~10 minutes to come to pressure.
- When the timer is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. This will take about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the barbecue sauce.
- Serve on toasted burger buns with lettuce, onion pickles and avocado. Enjoy!
- This recipe can easily be doubled. Double all ingredients, including liquid, and cook for the same amount of time.
- How to freeze: Add cooled (it should no longer be steaming) lentil sloppy joe filling to a freezer safe container (these are the kind that I use) and freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw in the fridge before using or heat up in the microwave or stove for quick use.