Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentil Sloppy Joes are an inexpensive, healthy alternative to the meat laden version while still having the flavors of the classic. By serving over rice or on a vegan and/or gluten free bread, they can also be a great vegan and gluten free dish.

lentil sloppy joe

While it is great that lentil sloppy joes are low in fat and high in fiber, it is more notable that they taste great.

I believe that my husband was very skeptical when I first told him my plans to make the classic sloppy joes but using lentils instead of ground meat. After he ate the second one, he informed me that he gave it his “stamp of approval.” He not only enjoyed the dish, he did not miss the meat.

I should note that what type of lentils you select may influence how similar the mouth feel of the dish is compared to its meat rich counterpart. Green and brown lentils both retain they shape fairly well while other varieties, like red, tend to fall apart too much to be similar to the texture ground meat.

Recipe: Lentil Sloppy Joes


  • 1 c. dry lentils, green or brown
  • 1 med. to lg. onion, chopped
  • 1 med. bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (to taste)
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 15 oz. can tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. tamari, soy sauce or 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. prepared mustard
  • 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/3 c. water
  • black pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste


  1. Cook lentils according to lentil package directions (if cooking in bulk, generally 2 – 3 cups water for 35 – 45 minutes) until tender. You generally do not have to soak lentils in water prior to cooking, but doing so will cut the cooking time in about half (works well with the brown lentils). Salt to taste when they are close to being done.
  2. Meanwhile, add the chopped onion and peppers to the 1/3 cup of water in a skillet or dutch oven. After a couple of minutes, add the garlic. Cook until everything is softened.
  3. Add chili, soy or salt, tomatoes, mustard, sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire, paprika, tomato paste, and water.
  4. Bring to a low boil .
  5. Taste and add black pepper and/or salt, if desired.
  6. Add drained lentils.
  7. Cook until desired consistency. If serving on a bun or bread as sloppy joes, allow to cook until the mixture is fairly thick. If serving over rice, you can stop cooking sooner and just allow the mixture to rest to absorb more flavors while remaining fairly loose.


Serve on rice or vegan-friendly bread for a vegan dish.

Carefully watch that tamari and Worcestershire sauce is gluten free if desiring a gluten free dish. Use salt instead and omit Worcestershire if you do not have access to gluten free.

Serve over rice or on a gluten free bread to maintain a gluten free dish.

Copyright © 2014.
Recipe by Paula, A Simple Home Cook.

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  1. […] I am not sure if she ever used this particular recipe, but I made some minor tweaks and tried it anyway. My family really liked the result. Like my mom, I will not be making it very often either…it is a nice to have every once in awhile. Because it is rich with bacon and starches, I serve it with an otherwise meatless meal ie. as a side to Lentil Sloppy Joes. […]

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