Smoky & savory Vegan Sloppy Joes, made with whole food plant ingredients and naturally sweetened. Only 30 minutes from start to finish, this is a tasty plant based meal that the whole family will love!

vegan sloppy joes on a board

Meet one of my favorite vegan meals: the Best and Easiest Vegan Sloppy Joes!

When I went vegan 8 years ago, vegan sloppy joes were one of the meals I made most often. One of the first cookbooks I got was Veganomicon and the recipe I used was from that book. I still have that cookbook, it’s a great one, especially for vegan beginners!

What’s so great about Vegan Sloppy Joes?

  • They are super inexpensive to make, with lentils as the base. You can find cheap lentils in the bulk section of your grocery store.
  • Going along with the inexpensive bonus, they also use everyday ingredients you can buy at any grocery store and keep in your pantry for last minute meals.
  • They are filling and SO satisfying!
  • They are oil free, naturally sweetened and FULL of fiber and protein.
  • Leftover sloppy joes keep really well in the fridge, and they can also be frozen!
  • And best of all, they are so flavorful- rich, smoky, sweet and savory; the sauce will keep you coming back for more!


lentils being added to pan for vegan sloppy joes

How should I serve Vegan Sloppy Joes?

You can go the traditional route and serve sloppy joes on any kind of bun (just check the ingredients to ensure vegan). Either fill a burger bun, or serve open faced. I like the whole wheat buns from Trader Joes.

Or simply serve open faced on sprouted wheat bread, or gluten free bread if needed.

The mixture also tastes good served with a baked potato, or straight out of a bowl! Usually, we just use Ezekiel bread or whole wheat burger buns.

Sometimes, I like to add pickled red onion or sliced pickles. Yum!

stirring lentils into tomato sauce for vegan sloppy joes


You can buy pre-packaged cooked lentils, or canned lentils to make this recipe even faster! If you do that, this meal will only take you 10-15 minutes to make, talk about fast food. You will need about 3 cups cooked lentils.

Want more easy & healthy vegan dinner recipes? Check out my eBook, Plant Based Family Dinners or any of these recipes:

Spaghetti and Easy Vegan Meatballs

Cheesy Vegan Quesadillas

Oven Baked Taquitos

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

vegan sloppy joes on a plate

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for more easy, healthy and tasty plant based vegan recipes!

Recipe adapted from Veganomicon cookbook.

vegan sloppy joe on a plate

The Best and Easiest Vegan Sloppy Joes

Smoky & savory Vegan Sloppy Joes, made with whole food plant ingredients and naturally sweetened. Only 30 minutes from start to finish, these are a tasty plant based meal that the whole family will love!
4.92 stars (36 ratings)


  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped small
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • (1) 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup (or tomato paste)
  • 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoons salt, or to taste
  • For serving: whole grain hamburger buns


  • First, cook the lentils: In a medium pot with a lid, add the lentils and water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 18-20 minutes or until tender. Drain excess liquid and set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chopped onion, green bell pepper and garlic. Use a few tablespoons of water, or vegetable broth, to saute and prevent burning. Stir constantly for 3-4 minutes, using more water as needed.
  • Now add the chili powder and smoked paprika, and stir to coat the vegetables for about 1 minute. Add a little water if it's too dry.
  • Next, add the tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard and maple syrup. Stir until well incorporated. Add in the cooked lentils and stir. Season with salt to taste.
  • Serve on burger buns with red onion slices if desired and enjoy! We also eat this open faced on sprouted wheat bread, over a baked potato or even just out of a bowl, it's so good!


  1. To make this meal faster and easier, you may use canned or packaged already cooked lentils. You will need about 3 cups cooked lentils.
  2. The sloppy joe mixture freezes well, simply fill freezer friendly containers, leaving a little room for expansion and freeze. Let defrost when ready to use, add to a pot and cook until warm. 
  3. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  4. Nutritional information is for the sloppy joe filling only.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 224kcal, Carbohydrates: 43g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 815mg, Potassium: 869mg, Fiber: 15g, Sugar: 15g, Vitamin A: 2318IU, Vitamin C: 29mg, Calcium: 81mg, Iron: 5mg


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