A twist on a classic, these vegan sloppy joes are chock-full of hearty and delicious ingredients, like lentils, plant-based crumbles, veggies and spices. Best part? These homemade sloppy joes are made in one pot and can be on the table in under 30 minutes!
Sloppy joes are a classic comfort food meal and for good reason! Unlike these lentil sloppy joes, the traditional version is made with ground beef.
I grew up on those classic ground beef sloppy joes and totally enjoyed them (and still do). These days, though, I often mix things up a bit and love to try meatless versions of some of my favourites.
Like these sloppy joe sliders, these vegan sloppy joes are so tasty, even meat lovers will devour them!
This easy sloppy joe recipe takes less than 30 minutes to make and it all comes together in one pot (so it’s awesome for an easy weekday dinner). Just don’t forget the napkins, because these sloppy joes are all kinds of messy and delicious (but so worth it!).
How To Make Vegan Sloppy Joes
Here is an overview of how to make these vegan sloppy joes (refer to the recipe card below for full details):
- Cook some veggies in a little olive oil just until they start to soften.
- Add the plant-based meat crumbles, canned lentils and seasonings.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for a minute just to get the flavours going.
- Pour in tomato sauce, broth, mustard and maple syrup. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sloppy joe filling has reached the consistency that you like best.
- Stir in balsamic vinegar and add a little more salt if you feel it needs it.
- Pile that deliciousness onto hamburger buns and dig in!
Type of Lentils To Use
For this vegan sloppy joe recipe, I used canned lentils.
I regularly have them stocked in our pantry because they’re 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).
Tips for Making This Recipe
- Because tomato sauce can vary quite a bit in salt content (and everyone’s preference is different), you may need to add a little bit more salt if you feel the sloppy joe filling needs it.
- If you like a little more spice, feel free to add more ground cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, a dash or two of your favourite hot sauce or freshly minced chili pepper.
- Veggie broth is used in this recipe, but mushroom broth is a great substitute if that’s what you have on hand.
- I generally find it takes about 10 minutes to get the consistency I like best for the sloppy joe mixture. If you want it less saucy, you can cook the mixture a little more.
The classic way to serve sloppy joes is on hamburger buns. But if you want to mix things up, the sloppy joe mixture is also yummy served with spaghetti, gnocchi or over fries (think something like chili fries).
What To Serve With Sloppy Joes
These vegan sloppy joe sandwiches are nice and hearty on their own, but they’re even better with sides. Some sides you can serve with them are:
- Fries or turnip fries
- Green salad
- Mac and cheese
- Onion rings
- Pasta salad, coleslaw, potato salad or macaroni salad
- Corn on the cobb
- Potato chips
- Crunchy pickle
More Delicious Lentil Recipes
If you make these vegan sloppy joes, be sure to leave a comment below!
This recipe was originally posted November 14, 2018 but has been updated.
Best Vegan Sloppy Joes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and roughly minced
- 1 bell pepper, small dice (I used half of a red pepper and ½ of a green pepper for colour)
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 (12-ounce) package plant-based "meat" crumbles, about a ¾ pound package
- 1 (19-ounce) can lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 to 1.5 cups low sodium vegetable broth, depending on the consistency you want
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup, optional (adds a touch of sweetness if the tomato sauce is a little acidic)
- ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
- Vegan Burger buns, for serving (cut buns in half horizontally if not already precut)
- Heat olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, carrot and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes until the veggies start to soften.
- To veggies, add plant-based meat crumbles, lentils, chili powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Add the tomato paste, then stir, breaking up the crumbles, and cook for 1 minute just to get the flavours going.
- Pour in tomato sauce, vegetable broth, yellow mustard and maple syrup (if using). Give everything a stir so the ingredients are nice and incorporated. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to a medium-low so it's just lightly bubbling, cover with the lid ajar and cook for 10 minutes or until it's reached the consistency you like best.Note: Start with 1 cup of vegetable broth and add more if you feel like you want a looser or thinner consistency.
- Stir in balsamic vinegar and add more salt if you feel it needs it for your tastes.
- Serve the sloppy joe filling on warmed or toasted buns. Garnish to taste, if desired, with any of your favourite sloppy joe toppings or serve as is. Enjoy! Yields about 6 to 8 sloppy joes, depending on how much you top each bun.Note: Properly store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use within 3 to 4 days, reheating before serving. The sloppy joe mixture may thicken as it cools, but you can always add a little more vegetable broth or water to thin if needed.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.
Tried this recipe?
If you do make this recipe, thank you!! It would mean so much if you could leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed it, and it helps other readers too!