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Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes

Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes
Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes

Recipe At-A-Glance

Looking for a kid-friendly way to bring Meatless Monday to your house? Try these Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes. Lentils are hearty, meaty, and packed full of plant-based protein!

Vegan, Gluten-Free

Ready in 30 minutes

This post was updated March 2016.

Even though one-third of the creatures living under my roof are Canadian, I’d consider our household distinctly American. We go to the fair. We watch auto racing. And we eat a lot of meat. We’re pretty much your quintessential Americans. As citizens of this fair land (scratch that, only Juniper and I are citizens, my husband is a permanent resident), we also enjoy the taste of good ole doctored up pound of ground beef.

The amount of stuff you can do with ground beef is pretty incredible. Even more incredible are the number of products on grocery store shelves that blast across their packaging, “Just add ground beef!” One of the more popular (and more prevalent in my childhood) is Manwich.

Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes

I love Manwich (AKA: sloppy joes). They are delicious, sweet, and a little bit spicy, but honestly, I think the “just add ground beef!” way of life is seriously contributing to our country’s health issues. I love meat as much as the next carnivore, but I think, as a country, we eat meat too frequently. The nutrients and minerals in red meat are great for you, but to get the benefits of those you only really need to eat one-three ounce serving of red meat every 7–10 days! I don’t know about you, but the last time I made sloppy joes, I had a lot more than three ounces. And I know most people have it more that 3-4 times a month.

MY OTHER RECIPES

So where do that leave us if we want some sloppy without the cow? Lentils!

Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes

When cooked down, lentils have an awesome, meaty texture. They are packed full of fiber and some great nutrients and minerals. Plus, they cut the caloric load of sloppy joes down quite dramatically! One serving of lentil sloppy joes rings in around 220 calories. The beef version? Try 350 calories for a similar-sized serving.

The lentils really work perfectly for a ground beef substitute! They work especially well in highly flavored sauce dishes like this. Really, do you even taste the ground beef in sloppy joes? Or do you just taste the sloppy part? This is a super kid-friendly way to do Meatless Monday. Trust me, your family will love these!

Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes

To make this a weeknight-friendly dinner, the base of the sauce is ketchup. Did you know that many store-bought ketchups are chock-full of sugar and in most cases high fructose corn syrup (AKA: corn sugar)? To keep this on the healthier side (while still keeping the prep quick and easy), go ahead and splurge the few extra cents to get yourself a bottle with a nice and clean ingredients list.

And if it’s really important to you to keep this entire dish vegetarian (like say, you’re serving it to folks who are strict vegetarians instead of flexitarians like I am), make sure you get vegan Worcestershire sauce. Annie’s Homegrown makes a good one that is available at most health food/natural foods stores. Typical Worcestershire sauce is made using fermented anchovies (sounds disgusting, tastes delicious!)—which is obviously not vegetarian. Enjoy!

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Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes


  • Author: Cassie Johnston
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 large servings

Description

Looking for a kid-friendly way to bring Meatless Monday to your house? Try these Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes. Lentils are hearty, meaty, and packed full of plant-based protein!


Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 medium green pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup green lentils
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce (like Annie’s Homegrown)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Whole wheat hamburger buns, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Add in the onion, green pepper, and garlic, and cook until the veggies are just slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the lentils, salt, and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender.
  3. Add in the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar. Simmer until just thick and heated through, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately on top of whole wheat hamburger buns.

 

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23 comments

Leave a Comment

  • Love this take on a sloppy joe! I haven’t had an actual one in aaages but this recipe seems like a great substitute.

  • Dani SAYS

    These look delicious! The only time I’ve had lentils was in an off-the-shelf item that tasted a LOT like chili. I can’t recall the brand or anything about it – my sister served it to me – but it was absolutely incredible. I’ve been intrigued by lentils ever since and need to spend some time working with them and incorporating them into our diet!

  • Thanks for sharing this! My friends in England were wanting to have a sloppy joe party because they’ve never had them but always heard about them, but I wasn’t too keen on eating a bunch of beef. I don’t mind making it for other people, but I’m really not comfortable eating it so I’ve been trying to think of a good way to make a veg option. :)

  • Janelle SAYS

    I’m going to have to try these. They look so good.

    I started making homemade yogurt following your recipe. It took a couple weeks to get the consistancy to my liking, but now I never buy yogurt any more.

    Thanks so much for the wonderful recipes.

  • Renee B SAYS

    Oh wow! These look so tasty! I have to try this recipe!

  • Don’t you just love striking genius, thinking up your own food idea or recipe and then Googling it to find that a hundred other people have thought of it and blogged it. That happened to me with lentil Sloppy Joe’s. Aw well, that’s part of the foodie life I guess! Yours looks delicious, by the way!

    • Cassie SAYS

      Gosh, that happens to me pretty much all the time. :P I don’t think I’ve ever had a single original idea.

  • Bryan SAYS

    this is great….will be a exellent meat substitute as well…
    thanks for sharing !!

  • Bethany SAYS

    This is an AWESOME recipe! My whole family loves it…even my picky 8 year old and my 18 month old! Not too often that I come across a recipe that makes everyone happy…thanks!

  • Amy SAYS

    I made this last night for my family. I am a vegetarian and they are in the process of learning how to make more meat-free dishes that taste good. They really liked it! I was surprised that the sauce really does taste like the sloppy joes I remember from my childhood, but probably without all the questionable ingredients found in canned, mass-produced food. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • LOOKS AMAZEBALLS. I’ve clipped it to make it sometime in the near future.

    xox Elizabeth

    http://www.littlemomentsofhappiness.com

  • Julia SAYS

    Woot, about to make this to feed two hungry journalists all throughout our busy production day tomorrow. :D Not sure my Aussie husband has ever tried this American classic and since I’m vego, I’ve never made it for him before. It’s going to be a good one, I can feel it. ;) Thanks for posting!

  • Laura SAYS

    “The nutrients and minerals in red meat are great for you, to get the benefits of those you only really need to eat one-three ounce serving of red meat every 7–10 days”

    What is your source for the 7-10 days part?

  • Laura SAYS

    Greetings Cassie!
    Have you cooked this dish in your rice cooker?
    Do you know you can cook lentils and quinoa in your rice cooker?
    I soak both together in cold water for 15 mins and rinse well to remove the starches.
    I only use white Basmati rice, I am diabetic and the rinsing off of the starch does not spike my blood sugar.
    Now if you already know about this, well, nevermind (I hear Rosanna, Rosanna Danna calling. Take care…

  • Shana Daye SAYS

    I have red lentils. Would those be ok? Is there a flavor/texture difference?

    • Julie @ Wholefully SAYS

      The red lentils don’t hold their shape as well, so I suspect you wouldn’t get that “meaty” texture you want for sloppy joes if you used them. Sorry!

  • Charlotte SAYS

    Cassie, I love this recipe (and so does my bf!). It’s def a go to when I’ve got a bag of lentils burning a hole in my pantry. Do you have a crock pot conversion? I want to bring it to an office potlock and keep it warm. Thanks!

    • Cassie SAYS

      You know, I’ve never made it it the slow cooker (because it’s so fast on the stovetop), but if you’re just looking to keep it warm, you can whip it up on the stovetop and then transfer it into the slow cooker to keep it warm. :)

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