top of page

Lentil Sloppy Joes


4 Servings

Prep Time:

5 Minutes

Cook Time:

25 Minutes

Total Time:

30 Minutes

This recipe from the Minimalist Baker (link below) is super simple and takes only 30 minutes to make. I followed her recipe pretty closely except I chose to omit the oil.



  • 2 cups water (I used half water, half veggie broth)

  • 1 cup green or red lentils, well rinsed (red lentils for quicker/more tender result or green lentils for more bite/texture)

Sloppy Joes: 

  • 2 tablespoons of water

  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, minced (plus more for serving)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 cloves yield ~1 Tbsp)

  • 1/2 medium red or green bell pepper, diced

  • Sea salt and black pepper (to taste)

  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar (plus more to taste)

  • 1-2 tablespoons of vegan-friendly Worcestershire sauce

  • 1-2 teaspoons of chili powder (plus more to taste)

  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin (plus more to taste)

  • 1 pinch smoked or regular paprika (optional)


  • If using green lentils: To a small saucepan, add liquid (I used 1 cup water, 1 cup vegetable broth for added flavor // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and rinsed green lentils and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered for about 18-22 minutes, or until tender. The water should have a constant simmer (not boil). Drain off any excess liquid and set aside.

  • If using red lentils: To a small saucepan, add liquid (water and/or vegetable broth) and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add rinsed red lentils and bring back to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 7-10 minutes, or until just tender. You want them to be cooked through but not mushy. Drain well and set aside.

  • In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add water, onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Season with a pinch each salt and pepper and stir to combine.

  • Sautè for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the peppers and onions are tender and slightly browned.

  • Next add tomato sauce, coconut sugar, vegan worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin, and paprika (optional). Stir to combine.

  • Once the lentils are cooked, add them to the skillet as well, and stir to combine.

  • Continue cooking the mixture over medium-low heat until completely warmed through and thick, stirring occasionally – about 5-10 minutes.

  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more chili powder and/or cumin for smokiness, salt for saltiness, coconut sugar for sweetness, or worcestershire for depth of flavor.

  • Serve the mixture on toasted buns with sliced onion. Best when fresh, though leftover sloppy joe mixture will keep in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days, or in the freezer for 1 month. Reheat in the microwave, or on the stovetop, adding water or vegetable broth if the mixture has dried out.

Recipe Origin:

bottom of page