Lentil Sloppy Joes {vegan and gluten-free}

We need to have a talk about pickles real quick.

By the way, I’m not pregnant. I’ve heard a lot of pregnant women have a thing for pickles so I wanted to clear that up. Moving on…

Lentil Sloppy Joes {vegan and gluten-free}

I’m always trying to think of new ways to use lentils because a. I love them b. they’re nutritious and c. they’re cheap, so I got pretty excited when lentil Sloppy Joes came to mind.

More often than not, I will Google a recipe before I make it to see how many times it’s been done and if there is a method or version that might be worth trying. Turns out lentil Sloppy Joes have been done more than a few times but there was one recipe in particular that I came across and could not get out of my head.

Lentil Sloppy Joes {vegan and gluten-free}

Okay, everything Ashley makes looks awesome so I shouldn’t be surprised that this one stuck with me, but the idea of adding pickles to a Sloppy Joe {haha- I accidentally hit H instead of J just now} really intrigued me.

Lentil Sloppy Joes {vegan and gluten-free}

Let me just say…holy deliciousness. I’m not so sure a real Sloppy Joe would be as good with pickles but they are aaahhhmazing with the lentil version.

The tangy crunch paired with savory, tender lentils makes one great combination. This was one of those recipes where I couldn’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day…and the day after.

Lentil Sloppy Joes

The lentils take a little while to cook and you have to chop a few veggies but for the most part, they come together in a reasonable amount of time. Plus, you could probably stretch it further than six sandwiches if you really wanted to.

I made a few changes from the original recipe to create a more southern flavor using Worcestershire, mustard powder and ketchup, but you could always use all tomato paste if you are a ketchup-hater. Brandon is a ketchup-hater but he didn’t even notice it in this recipe. It’s funny what you can get away with when you don’t tell them  what’s in it…

Lentil Sloppy Joes {vegan and gluten-free}

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 6

Lentil Sloppy Joes {vegan and gluten-free}


1 cup dry green lentils, soaked overnight and rinsed*

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)

2 medium-size carrots, peeled and chopped (about 3/4 cup)

1 green bell pepper, cored and diced (about 3/4 cup)

3 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

1 (15 ounce) can fire roasted crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon mustard powder (or 1 tablespoon yellow mustard)

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/8 cup tomato paste + 1/8 cup ketchup (or 1/4 cup ketchup or tomato paste)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire

1/2 cup vegetable broth

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for five minutes, until soft.
  2. Add the carrot and the bell pepper along with the minced garlic, paprika, chili powder, mustard powder, and salt & pepper. Continue to cook for another five minutes.
  3. Next, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup, crushed red pepper, Worcestershire, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup then stir to combine. Pour in 1/2 cup vegetable broth and bring pot to a low boil.
  4. Stir in the lentils then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 35-40 minutes over low heat until they are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid.
  5. Top the bottom of each hamburger bun with pickles then scoop the lentil mixture on top. Serve warm and be ready to get sloppy! ;)


*soaking lentils is optional but helps to reduce cooking time

Be sure to use certified gluten-free products if you have a gluten allergy.

Adapted from Edible Perspective

 Lentil Sloppy Joes {vegan and gluten-free}

Looking for another lentil recipe? Check out my Lentil Barley Stew, a warm and comforting meal that’s perfect for a chilly day.


Have you ever had a Sloppy Joe?



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{ 31 comments… add one }

  • Amy @ The Little Honey Bee December 3, 2013, 3:52 am

    Yes! The recipe I have been waiting for :) these look absolutely amazing. Totally pinned for actual making hehe
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  • Amanda @ .running with spoons. December 3, 2013, 4:25 am

    I’ve actually never had a real Sloppy Joe, but I’m in LOVE with the lentil version (Snobby Joes ;) ). It’s been a while since I’ve made them, so I’m definitely keeping your recipe in mind for when the craving strikes.
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  • Erin @ The Almond Eater December 3, 2013, 4:30 am

    Yesss these look amazing! Minus the pickles….don’t hate me. Very good recipe to make use of lentils. And sloppy J (H)oes….lol.
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  • Kelly @ hidden fruits and veggies December 3, 2013, 4:42 am

    Lentil sloppy joes are one of my favorite meals, but Josh doesn’t like them (ohhh no more left overs for me!). I have a recipe I love, but I rarely make them because lentils take so longer to cook than I’d like — love the tip about soaking them! I never knew that.
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  • Davida @ The Healthy Maven December 3, 2013, 4:49 am

    Any post that starts with an ode to pickles is a win in my book. Seriously I have a weird obsession with pickles! And I’ve never eaten a sloppy Joe…Can you believe that? They kind of freaked me out but this recipe looks amazing!
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  • Sam @ Better With Sprinkles December 3, 2013, 5:12 am

    It has been ages since I had a sloppy joe…and i’ve never had a lentil version! Definitely intrigued…although, now i’m concerned with the Brandon-doesn’t-like-ketchup thing. There’s people out there that don’t like ketchup!?! Craziness.
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  • Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl December 3, 2013, 5:18 am

    I have had lentil sloppy joes in the past and LOVED them. This version sounds absolutely fantastic. And let’s be honest, adding pickles sounds absolutely amazing. I’m definitely adding pickles to mine next time!
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  • Becky @ Olives n Wine December 3, 2013, 5:33 am

    Oooh I love how “sloppy” these beautiful vegetarian joes look! I’ve never made these with lentils before but I’m loving the idea of a veggie/bean version. I would most definitely eat these with a fork though – these could easily become mega messy, especially with my tendency for spilling ;)
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  • Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat December 3, 2013, 6:43 am

    Another great comfort food! This looks so delicious and so easy! Love that this is vegetarian and the base is lentils.
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  • Christine @ Gotta Eat Green December 3, 2013, 7:47 am

    Yum, I love lentil sloppy joes! They take a bit longer to make but they are seriously delicious. And with pickles? Perfection.
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  • Kelly @ Kelly Runs for Food December 3, 2013, 8:30 am

    Still giggling over sloppy “hoes” haha. I love sloppy Joes, even though it seems like I haven’t had one since I was a kid! I never thought a pickle addition would sound good, but I totally believe you!
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  • Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) December 3, 2013, 8:54 am

    These look wonderful. I’m definitely going to have to try them. I never make traditional sloppy joes, but I’ve made sloppy jennies (when it’s made w/ ground turkey) and snobby joes (when it’s made w/ lentils). I’m definitely into sloppy joes! :)

  • dishing up the dirt December 3, 2013, 9:09 am

    I’m on a huge lentil kick at the moment! These sloppy joes sound fantastic. I always get the “are you pregnant” because I eat pickles like candy! can’t get enough.
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  • Nicole @ FruitnFitness December 3, 2013, 10:04 am

    Yum, these sound really good. I’m trying to decrease the amount of animal protein I eat and lentils are one of my favorite cheap protein sources.
    Nicole @ FruitnFitness recently posted…Trying new things – Butternut Squash Lentil LoafMy Profile

  • Anna December 3, 2013, 10:36 am

    I’m pretty sure the last time I had a sloppy joe was in an elementary school lunch haha! I ADORE pickles and love lentils- this recipe is definitely happening this week. It sounds mouthwatering. Thanks!
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  • Jillienne @ ChasingRaspberries December 3, 2013, 10:47 am

    I love pickles and cheese! And no I am not pregnant either!

    Sloppy Joe’s are a childhood favorite of mine. I am looking forward to trying out your healthy version. :)
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  • FitBritt@MyOwnBalance December 3, 2013, 11:41 am

    I’ve never had lentil sloppy joes but the recipe sounds delicious!
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  • Nicole ~ Cooking for Keeps December 3, 2013, 11:42 am

    I had sloppy joes all the time as a kid, so I love coming up with and trying new updated versions. Really really love the use of lentils. And I’m also intrigued with the addition of pickles, I’m a pickle person so I imagine I’d love it!

  • Ashlee@HisnHers December 3, 2013, 12:57 pm

    I love lentil sloppy joes (or should I say hoes haha) but I’ve never put pickles on before!! I’ll have to try that next time….mmmm!

  • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats December 3, 2013, 1:57 pm

    I love Ashley’s recipes, they always look amazing.

    This looks delicious! I really need to get onto sprouted lentils to see if they hurt my stomach less so i can go back to having them again.

    My best friend loves pickles so anything with pickles always reminds me of her.
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  • Elise @ 9toFit.com December 3, 2013, 5:25 pm

    I would’ve never thought of something like this, awesome recipe!!
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  • jackie @ Marin mama cooks December 3, 2013, 6:04 pm

    Wow, lentil sloppy joes, I have to say that I have never heard of that before, but it looks and sounds amazing girl. I don’t every pregnat woman craves pickles. I totally didn’t. I think it’s an old wise tail ;) Your photos of these sloppy joes are gorgeous BTW. I love how you styled everything! Have a great night girl! Brrrr… it got cold today and I’m still trying to warm up. :) xoxo, Jackie
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    • Sarah December 4, 2013, 7:37 pm

      Oh my gosh, it has been so cold! Makes me want to stay inside in my sweatpants and not leave. Hope you’re having a good week Jackie! :)

  • Paige@FitNotFad December 3, 2013, 7:54 pm

    This isn’t a kind of food that I would normally gravitate to but your pictures and enthusiasm have me convinced I need to try this immediately! Also, pickles are THE BEST. That is all!
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  • Alexis @ Hummusapien December 4, 2013, 6:22 am

    I must admit….regular sloppy joes totally creep me out! These beauties, however, are right up my alley! YUM.

  • Lisa December 4, 2013, 8:20 am

    Your photos are just gorgeous.
    And these look so fantastic. I always tend to forget about lentils, but I love them so much so I really need to start using them more!

  • Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ December 4, 2013, 9:07 am

    I love your bright photography and I am going to try this recipe as soon as possible!

  • Consuelo @ Honey & Figs December 4, 2013, 1:21 pm

    These look so much better than the meaty version! I love lentils and pickles and I do try adding them to as many meals as I can! I’m so trying these soon, pinned! c:
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  • sonia the mexigarian December 5, 2013, 1:39 pm

    I have never had a Sloppy Joe before. They never sounded appealing. But this does. Go figure haha. I loved you lentil barley stew so I am sure I will LOVE this.

  • Ann November 25, 2014, 3:53 pm

    These are really good. I don’t overnight soak the lentils because I can never plan ahead that much. My luck I would do it and then forget!
    Anyway – these are really good – I’ve made them as is with the exception of using brown sugar instead of syrup. I’ve also made variations such as skipping carrots and peppers (bf doesn’t like peppers and I can be lazy). Tonight I realized I was out of paste so they are gonna be really sloppy. I added some extra sugar and spices but otherwise made as is. This is a great recipe that my boyfriend, sister and mom all loved so thanks! I serve on toasted and vegan buttered gluten free bread:-)

    • Sarah November 25, 2014, 9:57 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Ann! I’m so happy you and your family enjoy them. They’re a favorite of mine too! :)


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