How to Make the Best Vegan Sloppy Joes
Did you grow up eating sloppy joes? If so, I think this recipe will make you so happy! These sloppy joes are 100% vegan, yet they still have a meaty-like flavor. They’re sweet, tangy, smokey, and extremely flavorful. So if you’re craving nostalgia or comfort food, you need to give these vegan sloppy joes a try!
What are Sloppy Joes?
A sloppy joe is a sandwich consisting of typically ground beef, onions, tomato sauce and/or ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and seasonings served on a hamburger bun. It’s slightly smokey, sweet and tangy, super saucy, and SLOPPY. Apparently, the dish originated in the United States during the early 20th century.
Vegan Sloppy Joes
This recipe can come together in under an hour. And it’s so simple that it’s sure to become a staple recipe in your home!
First, I cook lentils in water with a vegan beef bouillon cube. Since I don’t use ground beef, I like cooking the lentils with a beef bouillon cube to compensate for the lack of beef flavor. Then I saute onions, bell peppers, garlic, a handful of seasonings, tomato sauce, and a few other key ingredients. Once the ingredients have come together to create a smokey, sweet, and tangy sauce, I add the cooked lentils and simmer until perfectly thick yet saucy.
My favorite way to serve the sloppy joe mix is inside a classic hamburger bun, for a traditional sloppy joe. However, I also love serving the mixture over a baked sweet potato if I want a slightly healthier meal. The sweet and tangy flavor from the saucy lentils pairs so well with sweet potato!
So, what are you waiting for!? Head to the grocery store, pick up the few ingredients you may not already have in your kitchen, and get cookin’! I am beyond confident you will fall in love with this recipe.
If you make my lentil sloppy joes or any of my recipes, don’t forget to post a picture to Instagram, tag me @chefsummerstorm, and #gardengrub so I can see your recreation!
How to Make the Best Vegan Sloppy Joes
- 1/2 cup green lentils, uncooked
- 2 cups water
- 1 vegan beef bouillon cube
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
- 1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 tbsp garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- One 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tsp yellow mustard
- 1/4 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- Sift through the lentils to make sure there are no tiny pebbles. Then, rinse them well.
- Place the lentils in a small saucepot with the water and vegan beef bouillon cube over high heat. Stir, cover, and bring to a boil.
- Once the lentils are boiling, stir to ensure the beef bouillon cube is dissolved, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. (I set my burner to 3 out of 10.) Cook for 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Place a large saute pan over medium/medium-low heat. Once hot, add the olive oil, diced onions, and bell peppers. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the garlic to the saute pan and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
- Add all the seasonings, and cook for one more minute, stirring constantly.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir until combined. Drain the cooked lentils, add them to the saute pan, and stir until evenly combined. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, or until desired thickness. Stir occasionally.
- Serve the sloppy joe mix in a bun, or try it on top of a baked sweet potato!
This is actually really good! I wasn’t expecting the lentils to satisfy me like meat does in real sloppy joes, but it was awesome! I was expecting it to be sweeter too and it’s more savory, which I really enjoyed. I also added 1/2 tsp Worcestershire b/c I felt like 1/4 wouldn’t do much. Phenomenal!
Only thing I didn’t have was vegan beef bouillon cubes. I used the Knorr beef cubes and they have bioengineered food ingredients in them 🥴 wish I had vegan ones instead!
Hi Halley! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed the sloppy joes, even with your substitutions! 🙂