Vegan Sloppy Joe – (Easy-To-Make Homemade Recipe)

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Discover the joe of Homemade Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe a homemade twist on a classic! Bursting with rich, smoky flavors and a perfectly textured mix of veggies and legumes, this recipe brings a delightful surprise to your palate. It’s a great way to indulge in a guilt-free, plant-based version of an all-time favorite, ensuring your taste buds and health are equally happy.


  • Kid approved – Our Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe is a hit with the little ones, offering a fun and tasty meal that’s both nutritious and enjoeable.
  • Nutrient-Rich – Packed with wholesome veggies and protein-rich legumes, this recipe is a powerhouse of nutrition, perfect for a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Budget-Friendly – Economical ingredients and easy preparation make this Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe kind to your wallet without compromising flavor.

When I first decided to embrace a vegan lifestyle, my cravings for classic comfort foods posed a challenge. Among these, the traditional Sloppy Joes was a dish I missed dearly. 

I remember searching for a vegan alternative that would still capture this beloved meal’s hearty and satisfying essence. That’s when I stumbled upon the perfect Vegan Sloppy Joe’s recipe.

This homemade recipe may just be the key to satisfying those comfort food cravings without compromising taste or texture.

It’s a great way to enjoy a familiar favorite while adhering to a vegan diet. My advice? If you decide to switch to vegan meals, this recipe could eliminate doubts about missing out on traditional flavors.

vegan sloppy joe recipe

What Is A Vegan Sloppy Joe Recipe?

A Vegan Sloppy Joe is a plant-based version of the classic American vegetarian sandwich, traditionally made with ground meat. This recipe replaces meat with a savory blend of lentils, mushrooms, or textured vegetable protein, offering a similar texture and richness.

It typically includes onions, garlic, and bell peppers, cooked in a tangy and sweet tomato-based tangy sauce spiced with herbs and seasonings.

Served on a toasted bun, it’s a delicious, hearty meal. This recipe is a great way to enjoy familiar comfort food in a vegan-friendly way, ensuring a satisfying experience for vegans and meat-eaters.

Fact: Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe offer a cruelty-free twist on classic comfort food, providing a satisfyingly savory and hearty meal without the need for animal products.

Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe

Recipe Directions

Cook the Lentils

  • In a medium pot with a lid, combine the lentils and water.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 18-20 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
  • Drain any excess liquid and set the lentils aside.

Tip: As an alternative, you can use 3 cups of canned lentils, drained and rinsed.

Sauté Vegetables

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the diced onion, chopped green bell pepper, and minced garlic.
  • Sauté the mixture for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are slightly softened.

Add Spices

  • Stir in the chili powder and smoked paprika.
  • Cook for about 1 minute, making sure to coat the vegetables evenly. Add a splash of water if the mixture seems too dry.

Combine With Sauce

  • Pour in the tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, and maple syrup.
  • Mix well to ensure all ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Add Lentils And Season

  • Add the cooked lentils to the skillet.
  • Stir the mixture and season with salt to taste.


  • Serve the Vegan Sloppy Joes recipe mix on burger or hamburger buns.
  • Optional: Add red onion slices for an extra crunch and flavor.
  • Alternative Serving Suggestions: Enjoe it open-faced on bread, over a baked potato, or simply out of a bowl.
Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe

Variations, Add-Ons And Toppings


  • Bean-Based Sloppy Joes: Use cooked lentils, black beans, or kidney beans instead of textured vegetable protein (TVP) for a protein-rich alternative.
  • Mushroom Sloppy Joes: Incorporate finely chopped mushrooms for a meaty texture and earthy flavor.
  • Quinoa Sloppy Joes: Swap TVP for cooked quinoa for a gluten-free and plant-based protein-packed version.


  • Grilled Onions: Sautéed or grilled onions add depth and sweetness to the sloppy joe filling.
  • Bell Peppers: Diced bell peppers provide crunch and a pop of color to the dish.
  • Carrot Ribbons: Shave carrots into ribbons using a vegetable peeler for added texture and sweetness.
Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe


  • Avocado Slices: Creamy avocado slices add richness and freshness to the vegetarian sloppy joes.
  • Dill Pickles: Tangy pickles lend a contrasting flavor and crunch to the dish.
  • Vegan Cheese: Melted vegan cheese on top adds a gooey and indulgent touch to the sloppy joe.
Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe

Vegetable Substitutes

  • Mushrooms: Finely chopped mushrooms provide a meaty texture and umami flavor, making them an excellent substitute for ground meat in Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe.
  • Lentils: Cooked lentils offer a hearty and protein-rich base for the sloppy joe filling. They soak up flavors well and provide a satisfying texture.
  • Chickpeas: Mashed chickpeas or chickpea flour can be used to create a thick and chunky texture similar to ground meat, adding protein and fiber to the dish.
  • Cauliflower: Finely chopped or grated cauliflower can mimic the texture of ground meat while adding a subtle sweetness and nutritional value to easy Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe.
  • Walnuts: Ground walnuts provide a rich and nutty flavor and a meaty texture, making them an excellent plant-based substitute for ground meat in sloppy joes.

Tip – For richer flavor, let the mixture simmer longer. Toast buns for extra crunch. Add diced jalapeños for heat. Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated for easy meals.

Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe

Best Side Dishes 

  • Sweet Potato Fries Their sweet flavor and crispy texture contrast well with the savory Sloppy Joe.
  • Coleslaw Adds a crunchy, fresh element, balancing the richness of the sandwich.
  • Corn On The Cob A classic pairing, corn offers a sweet and juicy component.
  • Baked Beans Complement the sandwich with their smoky, hearty flavor.
  • Garden Salad A light, refreshing salad can cut through the heaviness of the dish.
  • Pickle Spears Their tartness and crunch provide a nice contrast.
  • Roasted Vegetables Offer a nutritious and flavorful addition.
  • Potato Salad A creamy and tangy potato salad pairs well with the robust flavors.
Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe

How To Serve?

  • Classic Sandwich Style: Spoon the vegan sloppy joe mixture onto burger buns or sandwich bread for a classic handheld meal. Top with pickles, onions, or vegan cheese for extra flavor.
  • Over Baked Potatoes: Serve the vegan sloppy joe mixture over baked potatoes for a hearty and satisfying twist on the classic dish. Top with vegan sour cream or chives for a finishing touch.
  • Stuffed Bell Peppers: Fill halved green or red bell pepper with the vegan sloppy joe mixture and bake until tender for a delicious and colorful meal. Top with vegan cheese and fresh herbs before serving.
  • Sloppy Joe Bowls: Serve the vegan sloppy joe mixture over cooked rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice for a nutritious and filling bowl meal. Add avocado slices, diced tomatoes, or corn for extra texture and flavor.
  • Sloppy Joe Wraps: Spoon the vegan sloppy joe mixture into large lettuce leaves or tortillas and roll them up for a lighter alternative to traditional sandwiches. 

Tip – For sweet potato fries, sprinkle with cinnamon for extra flavor. Add a tangy dressing to coleslaw for zest. Roast vegetables with herbs for enhanced taste.

Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe

Storage And Make Ahead


  • Cooling: Allow the Sloppy Joe mixture to cool to room temperature before storing to prevent condensation from forming inside the storage container, which could dilute the flavor and texture.
  • Airtight Container: Transfer the mixture into an airtight container. If you’ve made a large batch, consider storing it in smaller portions for easier reheating.
  • Duration: Properly refrigerated, vegan Sloppy Joe mix can last 3-5 days. The flavors often meld and improve with a bit of time, making leftovers particularly tasty.


  • Prep For Freezing: For longer storage, the Sloppy Joe mix freezes well. Cool the mixture completely, then portion it into freezer-safe bags or containers. Flatten the bags for efficient storage and quicker thawing.
  • Label: Mark the bags or containers with the freezing date to track how long they’ve been stored.
  • Duration: Frozen vegan Sloppy Joe mix can last up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, or use the defrost setting on your microwave when you’re ready to use it.
  • Bulk Preparation: Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe are perfect for batch cooking. Prepare a large quantity of the mixture in advance and store it using the methods above. This approach saves time and ensures you have a hearty, satisfying meal on hand with minimal effort.
  • Serving Day Prep: If you plan to serve the Sloppy Joes for a gathering, you can make the mixture a day or two in advance and simply reheat it on the stove or in a slow cooker to keep it warm for serving. This allows the flavors to deepen and meld together.
  • Reheating: Gently reheat the mixture on the stove over medium heat, adding a splash of water or vegetable broth if it seems too thick or dry. If using a microwave, cover and heat in short bursts, stirring occasionally to ensure even warming.
  • Bread And Toppings: For the freshest tasting Sloppy Joes, prepare or buy your buns and any desired toppings (like coleslaw, pickles, or sliced onions) close to the serving day. If you’re making homemade buns, you could bake them ahead of time and freeze them, then thaw and warm them in the oven for a few minutes before serving.

Tip – To maximize health benefits, use whole grain buns for extra fiber. Incorporate a variety of vegetables for a broader range of vitamins and antioxidants.

Time-Saving Tips 

  1. Prep Ingredients Ahead: Chop vegetables and measure spices in advance.
  2. Use Canned Lentils: Opt for pre-cooked, canned lentils instead of cooking from scratch.
  3. Batch Cook: Make a larger quantity and freeze in portions for quick future meals.
  4. Simple Sides: Serve with easy, no-cook sides like raw veggies or pre-made salads.
  5. One-Pan Cooking: Cook everything in one skillet to reduce cleaning time.
  6. Pre-Made Sauces: Use store-bought vegan sauces to cut down on prep time.
  7. Utilize Kitchen Gadgets: Use a food processor for chopping and a slow cooker for simmering.
vegan sloppy joe recipe

Vegan Sloppy Joe Recipe

Vegan Sloppy Joes offers a delicious, plant-based twist on the classic American sandwich. It's a perfect blend of familiar comfort food flavors and health-conscious ingredients, ideal for vegans and meat lovers.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Rest Time 5 mins
Servings 6
Calories 350 kcal


  • Medium Pot With Lid
  • Large Skillet
  • Wooden Spoon or Spatula
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Knife and Cutting Board
  • Can Opener
  • Colander
  • Toaster Or Oven
  • Food Processor
  • Slow Cooker


  • 2 cups Water (half water, half vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup Green or Red Lentils (well rinsed)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive/Grape Seed/Avocado Oil
  • 1/2 medium White or Yellow Onion (minced) (plus more for serving)
  • 1 Tbsp Garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 medium Red or Green Bell Pepper (diced)
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper To taste
  • 1  can Tomato Sauce (15-ounce)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Coconut Sugar (or sub brown sugar, more to taste)
  • 1-2 Tbsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce (ensure gluten-free if needed)
  • 1-2 tsp Chili Powder (more to taste)
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin (more to taste)
  • 1 pinch Smoked or Regular Paprika
  • Gluten-Free or Whole-Wheat Buns As needed


  • Cooking The Lentils
    Add 1 cup of uncooked green lentils and 4 cups of water in a medium pot.
    Bring the water to a boil over high heat.
    Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid.
    Allow the lentils to simmer for 18-20 minutes or until tender but not mushy.
    Once cooked, drain any excess liquid from the lentils and set them aside.
    Alternative: If using canned lentils, drain and rinse 3 cups.
  • Sautéing The Vegetables
    Place a large skillet over medium heat and pour 1 tablespoon olive oil.
    Once the oil is hot, add 1 diced medium yellow onion, 1 chopped small green bell pepper, and 2 minced garlic cloves.
    Sauté the vegetables for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they become slightly soft and aromatic.
  • Adding Spices
    Add 3 tablespoons of chili powder and 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika to the skillet.
    Stir well to ensure the vegetables are evenly coated with the spices.
    Cook for about 1 minute. Add a little water to prevent sticking if the mixture seems too dry.
  • Creating The Sauce
    Pour in one 15-ounce can of tomato sauce into the skillet.
    Add 2 tablespoons of ketchup (or tomato paste), 3 tablespoons of yellow mustard, and 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup.
    Stir the mixture well until all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
    Combining Lentils and Seasoning
    Add the cooked (or canned) lentils into the skillet.
    Mix the lentils with the sauce and vegetables until everything is well combined.
    Season the mixture with 1 teaspoon of salt, or adjust to your taste.
  • Serving
    Serve the Vegan Sloppy Joe mixture on burger buns. You can toast the buns if desired.
    Optional: Top with red onion slices for added flavor and crunch.


  • Lentil Choice: Green lentils are preferred for their texture, but brown lentils can also be used. Avoid red lentils as they become too mushy.
  • Consistency Adjustments: If the mixture is too thick, add a bit more water or tomato sauce. If it is too thin, let it simmer longer to reduce.
  • Spice Level: Adjust the amount of chili powder and smoked paprika to suit your heat preference. For extra heat, consider adding cayenne pepper.
  • Sauce Variation: Feel free to experiment with different types of mustard or ketchup to tweak the flavor profile.
  • Sweetness Balance: The maple syrup adds sweetness. Adjust the quantity based on how sweet or savory you prefer your Sloppy Joes.
  • Serving Suggestions: Besides buns, this great recipe is versatile and goes well with rice, pasta, or even a filling for tacos.
  • Make-Ahead: This recipe can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to 3 days, enhancing the flavors.

vegan sloppy joe recipe

Nutrition Table

vegan sloppy joe recipe Nutrition Table

Vegan Sloppy Joes Recipe

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Is A Vegan Sloppy Joe Recipe?

A Vegan Sloppy Joe recipe is a plant-based twist on the classic Sloppy Joe sandwich. Instead of using ground meat, it typically features a hearty mixture of cooked lentils, mushrooms, or textured vegetable protein (TVP) seasoned with savory spices and a tomato-based sauce.

The filling is usually served on a bun or bread, making it a comforting and satisfying meal option for vegans and non-vegans alike.

How Do I Make Vegan Sloppy Joe Sauce?

To make Vegan Sloppy Joe sauce, start by sautéing onions and garlic until soft and translucent. Then, add tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, along with tomato paste, vegetable broth, and seasonings such as chili powder, paprika, cumin, and a touch of sweetness like maple syrup or brown sugar.

Simmer the sauce until it thickens and the flavors meld together, adjusting the seasonings to taste as needed. The result should be a rich, flavorful sauce that pairs perfectly with the lentil or mushroom filling.

Can I Use Other Ingredients Besides Lentils In The Vegan Sloppy Joe Filling?

Yes, you can customize the Vegan Sloppy Joe filling to suit your preferences or dietary restrictions. Besides lentils, you can use cooked beans like black beans or kidney beans, cooked quinoa, chopped mushrooms, or TVP (textured vegetable protein).

Each option offers its own unique texture and flavor profile, so feel free to experiment and find the combination that you enjoe the most.

How Do I Serve Vegan Sloppy Joe Sandwiches?

Serve Vegan Sloppy Joe vegetarian sandwiches on toasted buns or bread of your choice. Spoon the lentil or mushroom filling generously onto the bottom half of each bun, then top with your favorite toppings such as sliced tomatoes, lettuce, avocado, pickles, or vegan cheese.

Cover with the top half of the bun and serve immediately. For added flavor, you can also serve them with a side of coleslaw, potato chips, or a simple green salad.

Can I Make Vegan Sloppy Joe Filling Ahead Of Time?

Yes, you can prepare the Vegan Sloppy Joe filling ahead of time and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Simply reheat the filling on the stove or in the microwave until heated through before assembling the sandwiches.

This makes Vegan Sloppy joe a convenient option for meal prep or easy weeknight dinners, allowing you to enjoe a delicious and satisfying meal with minimal effort.

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Greetings from the heart of Vie De La Vegan, where each dish we share is a chapter in a larger story of discovery, wellness, and the transformative power of a plant-based diet. My name is Julia, and I am thrilled to be your guide on this delightful culinary adventure.

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