These Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joes are an easy and comforting recipe that’s perfect for lunch or dinner! This recipe is easily customizable and great for weeknight meals.
This is one of my favorite plant-based comfort food recipes. When I was a kid I honestly didn’t even really like sloppy joes, but there’s something so good about these!
My instant pot lentil sloppy joes are very popular, but not everyone has an Instant Pot so I wanted to share how to make them on the stove top.
It’s really easy to make this recipe and it also makes a good amount of delicious, inexpensive food. Many of the ingredients are pantry staples that you will use again and again!
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Ingredients and substitutions
Brown or green lentils: These lentils take about 15-20 minutes to cook. Don’t use red or orange lentils as those will cook up much more quickly and get mushy.
BBQ sauce: I prefer a sweet BBQ sauce for sloppy joes because it is the most traditional flavor. That being said, this is a great place to make this recipe your own by using your favorite BBQ sauce!
Sloppy joe sauce: This is comprised of a few pantry staples like ketchup, Dijon mustard (I use whole grain mustard because I love the flavor best, but any mustard will do), chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Traditional Worcestershire sauce is not vegetarian or vegan, but many store-brand kinds are accidentally vegan.
Add-ins: I add diced onion and carrots for flavor and extra veggies. Bell pepper and celery would also go well. You can skip this step if you don’t have any fresh produce on hand.
Step by step instructions
Start by heating a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add olive oil. Add diced onions and carrots to the hot oil. Bell peppers would also be a tasty addition. Saute until translucent, about 6-8 minutes (image one).
Next, add all ingredients but the barbecue sauce (image two). Stir to combine well. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer (image three).
Cover with a lid and simmer until the liquid is fully absorbed, about 20-25 minutes.
Just before serving stir in 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce (image four). You can add more if you prefer saucier sloppy joes!
I love serving these with pickles, lettuce and tomato for a classic sandwich option.
There’s no need to limit sloppy joes to hamburger buns. They are also delicious as a taco filling with tahini coleslaw.
True to their name, they are a bit sloppy! They keep well in the fridge for 5-6 days and can be frozen in a freezer safe container (these are the kind that I use) and freeze for up to 3 months.
Looking for more dinner ideas?
You might like these similar recipes:
- 15 Minute Vegan Fried Rice
- Vegetarian Tempeh Bolognese
- Vegan Lentil Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- One Pot Black Beans and Rice
- Vegan Broccoli Mac and Cheese
Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joes
- 1 cup dry green or brown lentils rinsed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce vegan
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce optional
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 and 1/2 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth or water
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- 5 burger buns
- optional toppings: lettuce, onion, pickles, avocado, tomato
- Heat a medium sauce pot over medium-high heat. Once hot, add olive oil. Add diced onion and diced carrot to the hot olive oil. Saute until onion is softened, about 6-8 minutes. Add minced garlic and saute a minute more, until garlic is golden.
- Add all ingredients except for the BBQ sauce: ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, vegetable broth. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, lower to a simmer over medium-low. Cover and let simmer until lentils are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
- Once lentils are cooked through, turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup barbecue sauce. Add additional sauce as desired.
- Serve on burger buns with optional toppings. Refrigerate in a closed container for up to 5-6 days.
- 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.