Take a trip back to your childhood to sloppy joes, but make them way better! These vegan sloppy joes are protein packed and taste just like what you remember, full of lentils, TVP and familiar seasonings!
I'm sure you guessed it, I did grow up eating sloppy joes, with the meat and mixture from a can. They were one of my favorite meals and I loved topping the sandwich with extra mustard and pickles. Yummm.
I love serving these meatless lentil sloppy joes with my creamy delicious vegan macaroni salad on a warm summer day!
All Ingredients: Red Lentils, tvp, diced pickles, smoked paprika, ketchup, mustard, red bell peppers, sugar, salt, and pepper.
If you prefer onions over bell peppers, you are more than welcome to swap.
TVP is optional here, you can double the lentils if you want.
I like the smokiness that smoked paprika adds to this recipe, but feel free to use just paprika.
I like using red lentils because they cook faster, I'm all about saving time, but you can use other lentils if that's what is available to you. Just keep in mind that the cooking process will be slightly longer.
Diced pickles can be exchanged with a bit of prepared dill relish. Just be sure to read ingredients, as some relishes have more than just cucumbers.
Canned Lentils require no boiling, so if you wish to make this recipe even faster, definitely use canned lentils.
Please see recipe card below for exact measurements.
Step One - Dice up bell peppers and add them to your pan. If you need some oil, go ahead and add some, but a little water should do if using a good non-stick pan.
Step Two - Once your bell peppers are starting to soften, add rinsed lentils and water and bring to a boil. Let the lentils cook for about 5 minutes before moving on.
If you are using other colors of lentils, you may need to let them cook 10-15 minutes.
Step Three - Add in all of your seasonings. For this recipe, that would be sugar, paprika, salt and pepper.
Step Four - Mix everything together well.
Step Five - Add in the TVP (if using).
Step Six - Once the TVP is mixed in, add in the relish, ketchup and mustard and mix all of that in as well.
👩🏻🍳Cook's Top Tip
Make absolutely sure you wash/rinse your lentils well before adding them. Grains like rice and beans do not get washed when processed. They're picked straight from the fields and put into the bag that is sold to us. Always wash your grains.
📖Substitutions & Variations
There are a few changes you can make to better serve your tastebuds!
- If you'd rather not use ketchup and mustard, you're welcome to make your own sauce using tomato paste and seasonings or even use your favorite bbq sauce!
- TVP is not needed for this recipe, you can simply double the lentils and even do a mix of lentil colors for different textures. I just like a more 'meaty" type of sloppy joe.
- Skip the sugar and use sweet relish rather than dill relish. Or if the ketchup has enough sugar in it for your tastes, skip the sugar all together.
- Trade the water for veggie stock when boiling the lentils for even more flavor.
- If you want to make this super easy, you could get a can of Manwich (which is accidentally vegan) and combine that with some store-bought plant-based ground and call it a day!
- You may use canned lentils, just keep in mind that 1 cup of dry lentils = 2 cups canned. And you will not need to boil them.
- Add a can of rotel or some fire roasted tomatoes for an extra kick.
- Got some extra veggies to use up? Things like zucchini can be shredded and added into the mixture.
Why stop there?? Add some toppings to your sloppy joe sandwich!
- I love adding extra mustard and pickles to my sandwich.
- Top your plant based sloppy joes with my tangy vegan coleslaw.
Not a fan of bread?
- Try serving this vegan sloppy joe mixture in lettuce wraps.
- Mix it into some yummy cheese pasta.
🍱How to Store
Refrigerator - Store in an airtight container for up to 6 days. Do not store on buns for more than a day.
Can this be frozen? It sure can!
Freezer - Store for up to 3 months. Thaw naturally in the fridge or via cold water bath. Could also defrost in the microwave.
Reheat - Via microwave in 1 minute increments, or via oven at 350F / 180C for 10 minutes.
Looking for other sandwich recipes?
❓Frequently Asked Questions
Typically, the lentils should soak up most if not all of the liquid, with a meaty addition like textured vegetable protein which would thicken it even more. Aside from those two options, you could use a little bit of tomato paste, or maybe even make a tiny bit of corn starch slurry.
If you've tried this recipe and enjoyed it, I would love it if you could rate it 5⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a comment! It's a great, and free way to support me!
Easy Vegan Sloppy Joes
- 1 saute pan
- Rinse your lentils well, and set aside.
- Dice up 1 bell pepper into small bits, then add to a non-stick pan and saute until soft. You can add a little bit of oil if your bell peppers do or will stick.
- Once the bell pepper is soft, add in the lentils and water or veggie stock and bring to a boil. Allow the lentils to cook for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, add in the TVP, mix, and then add all of your seasonings.
- Mix everything well, then add dill relish, mustard and ketchup and mix well again.
- Place onto buns and serve!
- Can exchange the water for veggie broth for extra flavor
- For Gluten-free use gluten free buns, and make sure the veggie bouillon is also GF (some are not).
- Storage - Store in the refrigerator (without bun) in an airtight container for up to 6 days. Can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat via microwave or in an oven for 10 minutes at 350F / 180C.
This recipe belongs to Planty Of Eats
This recipe was first written 11-2019 and has been updated 7-2023
What's up! My name is Bree, and I run this kitchen! I love sharing my recipes with you and I hope you enjoy them. You can follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, or Tumblr. Get to know more about me and this site if you'd like. Thanks, bud!