Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes

Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes

I love holidays that revolve around food. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, 4th of July. Each one has a specific food that I associate and love. And so while a football game may not necessarily be a holiday, it is definitely something that people celebrate and it has a lot to do with food. As I mentioned with these vegetarian buffalo bites, I was interested in testing out some meat-free options to see how they held up in comparison with their traditional counterparts.

I played around with the idea of a sloppy joe, since that always makes me think of sporting events. I’ve never really seen one served at a hockey game (the only event I’ll attend) but still, the image came to mind. And so I went with lentil sloppy joes. Lentils tend to have a really hearty, meaty quality to them. If you are looking to sub out meat but aren’t daring enough to try one of the standard substitutions like tofu, lentils are a decent choice. Mixed with tomato sauce and veggies and loaded with spices, these sloppy joes tasted pretty darned much like a real sandwich.

Now, I didn’t add cheese to mind mainly because I didn’t have any cheese on hand. it was a sad day. Had my fridge been well-stocked, I would have definitely added a thick slice of American cheese. It would have added something extra. I highly recommend, should your fridge be well-stocked, that you add cheese. Just because it’s cheese and everyone loves cheese, right?

Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes
Recipe type: vegetarian, game day, healthy, dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 5

Vegetarian lentil sloppy joes are a great, meat-free alternative to standard sloppy joes.
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 15 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • sliced rolls for serving

  1. Place lentils in a saucepan and cover with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce to low and cover, cooking for 30 minutes until tender.
  2. In a large pan, heat oil over medium high. Add in onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in carrot and cook an additional 5 minutes until carrots are softened.
  3. Stir in crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and stir well to combine.
  4. Stir in chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and cumin and mix well to completely incorporate. Mix in maple syrup and apple cider vinegar and stir well.
  5. Turn to low and simmer until lentils have finished cooking. Once lentils are finished, place them in the sauce pan with the tomato sauce. Stir well to completely incorporate.
  6. Cook an additional 15 minutes to thicken. Use a spoon and heap a large serving onto your rolls immediately before serving.


12 thoughts on “Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes

  1. I love this idea, Kim! Lentils are so satisfying that meat isn’t necessary at all. The spices, maple syrup, and vinegar sound like a wonderful combination, too. I just love food “holidays”!

  2. What an awesome spin on this hearty dish Kim! I’m a huge lentil fan and would much prefer your meatless version of sloppy joes any day :) This looks so good and the flavors sound fantastic!

    • Yes! I’m thinking about giving up meat for Lent so I’ve been trying to collect a lot of meatless meals lately. This one made the list, for sure. Hope you enjoy it!

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