Vegan sloppy Joes

This simple plant-based recipe is a healthier way to fulfill that comfort-food craving.

Contributed by Michele Gilson, RD

Vegan sloppy Joes

Anytime the weather is cool and you’re looking for a healthy, hearty meal is the perfect time for this recipe, adapted from the Minimalist Baker and PETA. A vegetarian spin on a traditional family night meal, this simple plant-based recipe tastes like comfort food with none of the guilt.

Servings: 4


  • 2 tablespoons olive or grape seed oil
  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, minced (plus more for sauce and serving)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 cloves yield about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup lentils cooked with water or vegetable broth (alternative: 1 cup soy crumbles)

For sauce:

  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

For serving:

  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns
  • Finely chopped onion (optional)


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add oil, onion, garlic, bell pepper and carrots. Season with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  2. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the peppers and onions are tender and slightly browned. Stir in lentils or soy crumbles.
  3. Add the tomato paste, onion, sweet chili sauce, mustard, chili powder, salt, dark brown sugar, ketchup, tomatoes and apple cider vinegar. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Continue cooking the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  5. To serve, spoon 1/4 of the sloppy joe mixture onto the bottom half of each hamburger bun. Sprinkle with chopped onions, if desired. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information (per serving)

  • Calories: 298
  • Total fat: 8 g
  • Saturated fat: 1 g
  • Sodium: 614 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 45 g
  • Dietary fiber: 17 g
  • Total sugars: 14 g (added sugars: 3 g)
  • Protein: 14 g