Delicious and easy vegan sloppy joe. Lentils are simmered in a sweet and savory sauce with tomatoes and onions. Great dish to feed a crown or for an easy week night meal for the whole family. Instant pot and stove top directions. High protein and kid friendly.
This recipe is
- healthy thanks to the high fiber and minerals in lentils.
- a plant-based twist on an American classic
- great for vegan & vegetarians or a meatless Monday
- gluten free, one pot easy weeknight meal
- perfect meal for a crowd or potluck
- Lentils - Brown lentils or green lentils work great in this recipe. Lentils are a great meat substitute, especially for ground beef. They're healthy for you because they're high in fiber and protein.
- Seasonings - I love to use onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, salt and black pepper.
- Onion - red onion or yellow onion both work.
- Ketchup - You can also use tomato paste for a deeper flavor. BBQ sauce would also be good in this and if you want to add a little spice, add some cayenne pepper or hot sauce.
- Mustard - The acid balances out the flavors in this dish. Classic yellow or dijon mustard works great.
- Brown sugar - This gives a hint of sweetness. I love using dark brown sugar. You can also use pure maple syrup or coconut sugar.
- Canned tomatoes - or a can of tomato sauce.
- Soy sauce - this adds a nice umami depth of flavor that you would find in classic sloppy joes.
- Vegetable broth - you can also use veggie bouillon cubes or vegetable broth powder.
If you want to save some time, you can use canned lentils. I prefer the taste of home cooked lentils, though.
If you want to add in fresh onion or bell peppers (green bell pepper or red bell pepper work great in this recipe), just sauté them in some olive oil on medium heat in a large sauce pan for 5 minutes or so. Then add in the dried lentils and veggie broth and rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
If you want to add a slightly smoky flavor, add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke.
Stove top directions
Step one: Add some oil to a large saucepan or soup pot on the stove and heat on medium heat. Sauté the onions in the oil until golden brown.
Step two: Rinse the dry lentils then add them and the remaining ingredients to the pot. Heat on medium-high heat and bring to a simmer and partially cover. Cook lentils until they're soft and most of the liquid has absorbed.
Step three: Taste the sloppy joes and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve on a lightly toasted bun.
Instant pot directions
This is a great recipe to make in your instant pot. You need less veggie broth in the instant pot than you do on the stove top, so for one pound of lentils, use only three cups of veggie broth.
Sauté the onion in oil first, then place all of the ingredients in the pressure cooker, then set it to seal. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. Let it naturally release for 10 minutes, then release the remaining pressure.
Fridge - The leftover sloppy joes will last about 5-7 days in the fridge in an airtight container.
Freezer - You can make a big batch of this and then freeze it in a freezer-safe container. Let them thaw out slowly in the fridge to prevent it from getting mushy.
There are a lot of ways to serve this vegan version of sloppy joes. Use it like you would any ground meat mixture.
On a bun- Serve the sloppy joe mixture on some hamburger buns. For healthier options, put them on whole wheat burger buns. Toasted buns taste amazing as well.
On a baked potato - This goes great as a topping for an easy baked potato (without foil).
On loaded fries - Top some fries with the sloppy joe mixture, then whip up some vegan queso. Top with some diced jalapeño
On chili dogs - Put some of this sloppy joe filling on top of vegan hot dogs.
Serve these vegetarian sloppy joes with classic summer time foods like potato chips, tater tots, green salads, garden pasta salad, quinoa black bean salad or this vegan potato salad. These also taste amazing topped with some pickled onion.
Using red lentils will change the texture and flavor of this recipe. Red lentils also don't take as long to cook. I haven't tested out this recipe with red lentils yet. If you use red lentils, use a little less broth.
This recipe would work great in a crock pot. Just add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
This recipe is gluten free as long as you use a gluten free soy sauce and a gluten-free bun.
More recipes you'll love
If you loved this recipe, leave a 5 ⭐️ rating on the recipe card and comment below!
Easy Vegan Sloppy Joes with Brown Lentils
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 yellow onion (diced)
- 1 lb bag of dry green or brown lentils
- ¾ cup ketchup
- 16 ounces diced tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons mustard
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (add 1-2 tablespoon more if you like you sloppy Joe's sweet)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups vegetable broth (if making in the pressure cooker)
- 5 cups vegetable broth (if making on the stove)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Add oil to the instant pot and heat for one minute. Add the onion and sauté until golden brown.1 tablespoon oil, 1 yellow onion
- Rinse the lentils. Place all ingredients in a pressure cooker. Cover and seal and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. Let it naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick release.1 lb bag of dry green or brown lentils, ¾ cup ketchup, 16 ounces diced tomatoes, 4 tablespoons mustard, 2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon cumin, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, 3 cups vegetable broth, 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- If it's too thick, add a little bit of water until desired consistency is reached
- Serve on a hamburger bun with more ketchup and mustard
Stove Top directions
- Add oil to a large pot and heat on medium heat for one minute. Add the diced onion and sauté until golden brown.1 tablespoon oil, 1 yellow onion
- Rinse the lentils. Add the remainder of the ingredients to the large pot. Cover and bring everything to a boil.1 lb bag of dry green or brown lentils, ¾ cup ketchup, 16 ounces diced tomatoes, 4 tablespoons mustard, 2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 tablespoon cumin, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, 5 cups vegetable broth, 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Turn down to medium heat and simmer with the lid slightly off until lentils thicken and soften. Should be between 25-30 minutes. Take the lid off to simmer if it's still too watery after 30 minutes.
- Add more water if it becomes too thick
- Serve on a hamburger bun with more ketchup and mustard
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.