A meatless version with the same classic flavor!
This recipe for easy vegetarian sloppy joes brought me right back to my childhood. Of course, it is a bit different than I remember. My mom always went the ground beef route, and the sauce she used came right out of a store-bought can. I’m not complaining though: She was a busy lady, and I LOVED sloppy joe night!
These days, we’ve become a little bit more health-conscious than we were back then. That said, our recipe is just as delicious, even though it’s vegetarian-friendly and the wonderful, tomatoey sloppy joe sauce is made from scratch. These meatless sloppy joes offer all of the flavors from the recipe Mom used to make, minus the meat and preservatives.
Benefits of Swapping Out the Meat
It shouldn’t be a huge surprise to anyone that using ingredients like bell pepper, lentils, and black beans in place of beef or turkey cuts down on fat content. And, while you might think the amount of protein would suffer, each serving of these sloppy joes actually offers a whopping 17 grams! Additionally, by using lentils and black beans, these sloppy joes will give you a healthy dose of fiber, too!
Our Easy Vegetarian Sloppy Joes are a 30-Minute Meal
This super simple stove-top recipe will be ready to enjoy in about 30 minutes. Start by adding the olive oil to a large pot and heating it over medium heat. Once hot, saute the garlic, onion, and bell pepper until soft. This usually takes about five minutes. Add the cooked lentils to the pot along with the black beans and chili powder. Saute this mixture for one to two more minutes.
In another bowl, combine the tomato sauce, chili sauce, maple syrup, soy sauce, and smoked paprika. This will be your homemade sloppy joe sauce! Add it to the pot and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is thick and sloppy! Finish by stirring in the green onions. Serve on the hamburger buns of your choice and enjoy!
Want to Make it with Ground Beef or Turkey?
This recipe can easily be turned into a meat-based meal. Traditional sloppy joes are made with ground beef or turkey. If you’re going to go this route, we suggest choosing ground turkey, as it is the leaner option.
In a large pan, cook the meat over medium to medium-high heat. In the meantime, you can mix the sloppy joe sauce together in a medium bowl. Once the beef or turkey is fully cooked, remove the pan from the stovetop and carefully drain any excess liquid. Add the sloppy joe sauce mixture to the pan and stir well to combine. Turn the heat to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until it’s reached the desired consistency. Serve over hamburger buns as you normally would and dig in!
Vegetarian Sides for these Sloppy Joes
This recipe is an absolutely delicious way to try your hand at a meatless meal! And while these sloppy joes are tasty and filling enough on their own, you may want a little extra something to go with them. If so, keep it vegetarian by trying one (or two) of these delicious veggie-based sides:
Easy Vegetarian Sloppy Joes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped
- 2 cups red lentils cooked (1 cup dried)
- 15 ounce canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 bunch of green onions finely chopped
- 6 whole wheat hamburger buns
Sloppy Joe Sauce
- 15 ounce canned tomato sauce
- 3/4 cup chili sauce
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce low sodium
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add garlic, onion, andbell pepper. Saute until softened for about 5 minutes.
- Add cooked lentils, black beans, and chili powder and saute for about 1-2 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine Sloppy Joe Sauce ingredients.
- Add sauce to the pot and mix well. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, for about 15 minutes or until the mixture has thickened.
- Mix in green onions and spoon evenly into buns and serve hot.
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If you try these easy vegetarian sloppy joes for meatless Monday, or any other night of the week, be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comment section.
We have plenty more vegetarian and vegan options for you to try out! Here are a few that are similar to these yummy sloppy joes: