A twist on a classic, these vegan sloppy joes will knock your socks off! Loaded with lentils, a soy-based crumble and spices, this one-pot comfort food meal will satisfy the hunger bug every time!
Sloppy joes are a classic comfort food meal that’s traditionally made with ground beef, tomato sauce, onions and some simple spices.
I grew up on those and totally enjoyed them. These days, though, I often mix things up a bit and love to try vegan and vegetarian versions of some of my faves.
With the ingredients that I’m using for this vegan version, even meat lovers will devour them!
Ingredients for Vegan Sloppy Joes
Well, what makes these vegan sloppy joes ‘vegan’?
For the main component of these meatless sloppy joes, I used canned lentils and a soy-based crumble (which resembles somewhat the look and texture of ground beef).
This healthy sloppy joe recipe takes about 20 minutes to make. Yep, 20 minutes! And it’s made in one pot for easy cleanup. So, it’s awesome for an easy weekday dinner.
So, aside from canned lentils and the soy-based crumble, to make this easy sloppy joe recipe you’ll need:
- Olive oil
- Dried spices, like chili powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, and oregano, as well as some salt and black pepper
- Fresh chili (or cayenne pepper powder)
- Tomato paste
- Veggie stock
- A touch of balsamic vinegar
- Burger buns (and any garnish that you enjoy)
How to Make Sloppy Joes With Lentils
Full details are in the recipe card below, but here are the basics:
- In a pan, cook onion in a little oil until tender.
- Add veggie ground round (soy-based crumble) and cook a little.
- Stir in lentils.
- Add spices and fresh chili and cook for a few minutes
- Stir in tomato paste and heat through.
- Pour in stock and cook until heated through and you’ve reached your desired consistency.
- with balsamic vinegar. At this point, if you want a looser consistency, add a little more stock and heat through, if needed.
- Pile on buns and garnish (if you like). Enjoy!
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Type of Lentils To Use
I used canned lentils in this recipe and I regularly have them stocked in our pantry. They are just so darn convenient, and super budget friendly.
Just make sure to rinse and drain them before using to get rid of any excess liquid and salt.
You can use dried lentils, if you prefer, but they take a little longer to prep. Just cook ’em first and then proceed with the recipe.
More Tips & Variations
If you want to add some veggies to your sloppy joes, some diced bell pepper would work lovely! Add when you start to cook onion so they soften a bit.
I used Thai chili pepper here, but you could omit or replace with cayenne powder to taste (if that’s what you have on hand).
I used veggie stock in this recipe, but mushroom stock would work lovely too.
If you want even more tomato flavour add another tablespoon or so of tomato paste. Alternatively, you can add some tomato sauce or ketchup to replace some or all of the stock.
More Delicious Lentil Recipes
- Cheesy Lentil Quesadillas
- Vegan Shepherd’s Pie
- Spicy Lentil Soup with Kale
- Slow Cooker Curried Lentils and Kale
Hope you love this homemade sloppy joe recipe as much as we do!
If you make these vegan sloppy joes, be sure to leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed!
Best Vegan Sloppy Joes (made in about 20 minutes)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion , peeled and roughly minced
- 12 ounces soy-based crumble (vegan and gluten free) (about a 340 gram package or roughly ¾ pound)
- 19 ounce can of lentils , rinsed and drained (about 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 Thai chili peppers , minced (or ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper powder)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup unsalted vegetable stock (or more for a looser consistency, if desired)
- ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 4 burger buns (opt for vegan and gluten free, if needed)
Optional Garnish Ideas
- Vegan cheese shreds (to taste) (or regular if you want vegetarian)
- Hot peppers
- Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium heat.
- Cook onion, stirring often, until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. See 'Notes' below if you want to add more veggies to your sloppy joes.
- To onion, add soy-based crumble. Break up with a wooden spoon or potato masher. Cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- To pan, add lentils and stir to combine. Add chili powder, garlic powder, mustard powder, oregano, salt, black pepper, chili peppers (or cayenne pepper powder) and tomato paste. Stir to combine. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in stock and bring to a simmer for a few minutes until heated through and you've reached your desired consistency (add more stock if you like your sloppy joes more 'loose' or saucy).
- Stir in balsamic vinegar. Serve on warmed or toasted buns. Garnish, if desired, with vegan cheese, hot peppers or any of your favouite sloppy joe toppings. Enjoy!
Nutrition (ESTIMATE ONLY)
Nutrition estimate (if provided) is based on 1 Serving.
Nutrition information (if provided) is provided as a courtesy and should be considered an estimate only. Ingredients can vary and Girl Heart Food makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are guidelines only.