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Square cropped image of a close up of a sloppy joe sandwich on a sesame seed bun with the top bun resting to the back left of the sandwich. The sandwich is garnished with a radish and pickle on a toothpick.

Vegan Sloppy Joes (with Lentil “Meat”)

These vegan sloppy joes are incredibly easy to make and create a delicious, nutritious meal that’s way better than using store-bought sauces. The recipe can be made gluten and/or soy free.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American-inspired, Vegan
Keyword Lentil sloppy joes, Vegan sloppy joes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 Sandwiches
Calories 240kcal


  • Cutting Board
  • Knife
  • Large pot
  • Large stirring spoon
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mesh strainer


  • 4 C cooked lentils (2 19oz cans, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 C canned diced tomato , drained (1 28 oz can)
  • 1 C chopped onion
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced or crushed
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce , low sodium*
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper


Step 1: Prep Ingredients

  • Rinse and drain 2 19 oz cans of lentils, or use 4 C of cooked lentils. Add to a large pot.
  • Use a mesh strainer to drain excess liquid from one 28 oz can of diced tomato. Add to the large pot with the lentils.
  • Peel and dice the onion. Peel then mince or crush the garlic.
  • Add onions and garlic to the large pot along with all remaining ingredients: soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, molasses, Dijon mustard, ground cumin, chili powder, dry oregano, dry basil, salt and pepper.

Step 2: Cook Sloppy Joes

  • Place the pot on your stove over high heat and bring to a boil.
  • Cook over high heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture has thickened – about 20 minutes. There shouldn’t be any pooling liquid in the bottom of the pan (when you scrape across the bottom, the mixture should hold its shape and not pool into the area that was just scraped).
  • As liquid evaporates, the mixture will thicken. It’s important to keep stirring, especially towards the end of cooking, to keep the mixture from sticking to your pot. You may want to turn the heat down to medium once most liquid is absorbed.

Step 3: Serve

  • Serve on fresh buns with additional toppings if desired (see above for serving ideas).



*Soy sauce can be replaced with tamari for a gluten free option. If the soy sauce/ tamari is not low sodium, you may not need the full amount of salt called for.
**Nutrition calculations performed on sloppy joe filling only. Buns and additional toppings may impact recipe nutrition amounts.
Accuracy of nutrition information cannot be guaranteed (certain ingredients may not have all nutrients listed in the database); amounts may vary (and will vary depending on brands of ingredients used); all nutrition fact values rounded to the nearest whole number.


Serving: 1Sloppy Joe (1/6 of recipe; filling only) | Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 985mg | Potassium: 939mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 303IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 129mg | Iron: 6mg