My meat eating family loves these lentil sloppy joes! Lentils are coated in tomato sauce, brown sugar and spices and then added to hamburger buns. Lentils are much cheaper than ground beef making this budget friendly!
No Meat Lentil Sloppy Joes
This sloppy joe recipe makes saucy sloppy joes with lentils instead of the usual ground beef. Whether you’re vegetarian or just someone looking to eat less meat, it’s a recipe that will change your weekly dinner menu!
I am always looking for ways for my family to swap some of our meaty meals with veggies and legumes, and this one is such a hit. All 3 of my kids and husband gives this meal a thumbs up! We serve with roasted potatoes, french fries or potato chips.
If you have leftovers, they are delicious eaten with rice! Sometimes we even make this recipe just to serve over rice because it’s so good that way too!
Lentils vs Ground Beef Price
Lentils are a more affordable source of protein compared to ground beef. They are a staple in many cultures and are often used as a cost-effective alternative to meat.
A quick comparison at my NYC grocery store prices 1 pound of lentils at $1.99 while 1 pound of ground beef is $6.99 making these lentil sloppy joes so much more cost effective!
This recipe needs 1 cup of lentils, so you can easily get 2-3 sloppy joe meals out of 1 bag of lentils
- broth (vegetable or chicken)
- red lentils
- green bell pepper
- minced garlic
- tomato sauce
- brown sugar
- worcestershire sauce
- chili powder
- salt & pepper
How to Make Lentil Sloppy Joes
Cook lentils in broth in a small saucepan until softened, about 6-8 minutes. You want to watch them carefully as they can turn mushy very quickly. You can use either vegetable broth, chicken broth, or water – I just find that the lentils are more yummy cooked in broth!
Add green bell pepper, onions and minced garlic into a large skillet and cook until veggies are softened.
Add tomato sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, spices and lentils into the skillet, stirring so the lentils are coated in the sauce.
Cook for about 10 minutes more, or until sauce thickens and is no longer runny.
Serve on hamburger buns and enjoy these delicious lentil sloppy joes!
How to Serve
Serve lentil sloppy joes on hamburger buns. For an extra bonus toast the hamburger buns first! Here are some of our favorite toppings to add to sloppy joes:
- Cheese: Melted cheese, such as cheddar, American or Provolone. The cheese also helps it all “stick together” preventing it from being too sloppy.
- Pickles: Sliced of pickles, either dill or half sours.
- Onions: Sliced raw red or yellow onions, or crunchy fried onions.
- Tomato: Juicy Roma and Beefsteak slices
- Jalapeños: If you like some heat, candied jalapenos or pickled can add a spicy kick.
- Avocado: Sliced avocado
How to Store Leftovers
Store leftover sloppy joes in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If properly stored, they will stay good for up to 5 days.
Eat leftovers on buns, or add on top of rice. They are delicious for lunch!
Can I freeze leftover sloppy joes?
Yes you can! If you want to store Sloppy Joes for an extended period, consider freezing them. Place the cooled Sloppy Joe mixture in an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag. Make sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label the container with the date. Sloppy Joes can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen Sloppy Joes, transfer them from the freezer to the refrigerator and allow them to thaw naturally or place in the microwave to defrost.
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Lentil Sloppy Joes (No Meat)Print
For the Lentils:
- 2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
- 1 cup red lentils
For the Sloppy Joes Mix:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small green bell pepper finely chopped
- ¼ cup yellow onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 pinch paprika
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Add broth and lentils to a small saucepan, bringing to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cook until lentils are softened (but not mushy!), stirring often, about 6-8 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add bell pepper, onion and garlic, cooking until peppers are softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, ground cumin, paprika and cooked lentils to the skillet, stirring to fully coat lentils in the sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Continue cooking for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens up to sloppy joe mix, stirring often.
- Serve on hamburger buns with slices of fresh onions or pickles. Enjoy! Leftover sloppy joes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days. We love them over rice for lunch leftovers.