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Meatless Sloppy Joes

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Do you like Sloppy Joes?

They never appealed to me and I didn’t like them with meat. The word “sloppy” also seems unappealing, so I avoided them altogether—until I made the perfect vegetarian sloppy joes. They are far more delicious than meat sloppy joes!

This is one of my favorite dinner recipes; it’s simple and tasty. Lentils are heart healthy and facilitate digestion, so why not use them as a substitute for meat?! They also make great vegan taco meat…the lentil Benefit List goes on and on. My personal favorite lentil recipe is Meatless Sloppy Joes; it comes together quickly (about 30 minutes) and packs a deep flavor from the cooked garlic and onions—yum!

This simple sloppy Joe recipe easily feeds four people and leaves leftovers. With the Homestead life being so hectic, I’ve quickly discovered that I need easy access to meals, so I doubled this recipe and froze half to save for future dinners!

What’ the best way to store sloppy Joes?

Without the bun, the “sloppy” portion of this recipe stores well in the fridge up to five days, and up to three months in the freezer!

How do I make vegan sloppy joes?

Make this recipe vegan with vegan Worcestershire sauce. The Worcestershire sauce absolutely makes this recipe, so use a good vegan substitute that delivers a similar taste.

What spices are used in sloppy Joes?

I personally love the basic spices: salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and chili powder! If you want spicier sloppy Joes, add cayenne pepper powder.

The ingredients for this recipe include: onion, garlic, green pepper, olive oil, lentils, water or vegetable broth, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, and hamburger buns!

Begin by cooking one cup of lentils according to the package instructions. Cook lentils in two cups of water or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then cover, turn to low, and cook for 18 to 22 minutes. Next, warm two tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet with medium-low heat. Add in half a chopped white onion, two tablespoons garlic, and a chopped green bell pepper. Cook until the pepper is tender and the onion almost translucent. Add in one 15-ounce can of tomato sauce, the spices, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine, and add in the lentils once they are cooked. Cook the mixture for 4 to 5 minutes while stirring frequently. Taste and adjust spices according to flavor! Enjoy on buttered and broiled hamburger buns!

Let’s get cookin’!

Meatless Sloppy Joes

This is one of my favorite dinner recipes; it’s simple and tasty.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course


  • 1 cup lentils
  • 2 cups water or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, minced
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 15oz can of tomato sauce
  • 3-4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • hamburger buns


  • Chop the bell pepper and onion. Mince the garlic. Set aside.
  • Add the lentils and water or vegetable broth to a sauce pan. Vegetable broth gives the lentils more flavor than water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce to low, and cook 18-22 minutes until done.
  • While the lentils are cooking, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Once warm, add in the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until the pepper is tender and the onion is almost translucent. Add in the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and spices. Adjust to taste. I prefer the smokiness of Worcestershire, so I add a lot of it. Stir to combine.
  • Add the cooked lentils to the red sauce and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. The sauce will sputter, so stirring limits air bubbles.
  • Butter and broil hamburger buns until toasted. Spoon on the sloppy joe mixture.
Keyword vegetarian
Meatless Sloppy Joes