The Best Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joes
Lentil Sloppy Joes- packed with protein and flavor, these vegan lentil sloppy joes make the best comfort food. Comes together easy in just one skillet! (gluten-free)
One meal that I definitely missed after going vegetarian was sloppy joes. I probably wouldn’t touch the kind I used to eat with a 10-foot pole now, but this lentil sloppy joe recipe has easily replaced them in my mind as the best kind of comfort food.
They are nutrient-rich, satiating and packed with flavor. I especially love them on a sprouted bun with crunchy dill pickle slices. The smoky, umami-rich lentils paired with the tangy pickles is a thing of beauty. It’s one of those recipes where you can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day…and the day after.
The Best Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joe Ingredients
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil- We’re using just 1 tablespoon of oil to sauté the vegetables but you could omit this and use water or vegetable broth to make the recipe oil-free.
- Onion, Celery and Carrot- This trio creates the flavor base for the sloppy joes. I tend to go for yellow onions here but sweet or red onions will work as well. You could also use green bell pepper in place of celery if you’re not a celery fan.
- Garlic- Fresh garlic rounds out the flavor so I don’t recommend skipping it, although you could use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder in a pinch.
- Chili Powder- A mild chili powder adds a good amount of savory depth. We’ll cook it with the vegetables first to help toast the spices and bring out their flavor.
- Mustard Powder- If you don’t have mustard powder, 1 tablespoon of yellow or dijon mustard will work in its place.
- Smoked Paprika- Just a little smoked paprika gives the lentils a hint of smokiness.
- Crushed Tomatoes- Fire roasted tomatoes incorporate even more flavor but regular tomatoes are good too.
- Ketchup- For even more tomato flavor, we’re adding ketchup to the base. If you don’t have ketchup, tomato paste makes a good substitute.
- Apple Cider Vinegar- A splash of ACV gives the sauce a slight tang.
- Vegan Worcestershire- While not *totally necessary*, I really love the way Worcestershire rounds out the flavor of these sloppy joes. It’s a must for meaty plant-based recipes.
- Pure Maple Syrup- A few teaspoons of pure maple syrup give a subtle sweetness that sloppy joes are known for. Feel free to sub coconut sugar, brown sugar, or agave/honey.
- Vegetable Broth- Vegetable broth gives the base some liquid to help everything cook down and infuse the base with even more flavor.
- Green Lentils- Green lentils are ideal for holding their shape when cooked so I recommend sticking with that variety for best results. I like to use canned lentils to help save time (just drain them prior to using in the recipe) but you can cook them yourself if you prefer. 1 cup dry lentils will yield what you need for the recipe.
How to Make The Best Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joes
- Sauté the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Add the spices.
- Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire, maple syrup and vegetable broth. Simmer until thickened.
- Add cooked lentils and stir until evenly combined. Cook until heated through.
- Serve warm on a toasted bun (with pickles, if desired) and enjoy!
Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joes
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped, about 1 cup
- 2 medium-size carrots, peeled and finely chopped, about ¾ cup
- 3 celery ribs, finely chopped, about ¾ cup
- 3 garlic coves, minced, about 1 tablespoon
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder, or 1 tablespoon yellow/dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes, with their juices
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire
- 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 2½ cups cooked green lentils, about 2 (15-ounce cans) or 1 cup dry
- In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion then cook for a few minutes, until translucent.
- To the pot, add the carrot and celery. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. Add the minced garlic, chili powder, smoked paprika and mustard powder. Stir together and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
- Next, add the crushed tomatoes, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, vegan Worcestershire, maple syrup and vegetable broth. Bring to a low boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until sauce has thickened.
- Lastly, add the cooked lentils and stir until evenly combined. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve warm over toasted buns with pickles (optional), and enjoy!