“Vegan Sloppy Joe’s Tonight! Hooray!”

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Growing up, many of us remember a specific dinner that made us so excited when our Mom announced it. We came running to the dinner table and sat with knife and fork in hand, waiting eagerly. What was this meal for you? For me, the music to my taste buds was when my mom said she was making “Sloppy Joe’s!”  Always concerned with providing good nutrition and fresh, well-balanced, thoughtfully prepared meals, my mom apparently thought Sloppy Joe’s were ok to have once in a while. She was personally repelled by any meal-type substance that came out of a can, particularly our favorite, “Spaghetti-O’s.” So, I can be pretty sure that my mom’s Sloppy Joe’s were made from scratch. They bring back wonderful memories of struggling to keep it all in the bun and enjoying it down to the last crumb.

Creating a Vegan Sloppy Joe didn’t seem like an impossible task, although getting the taste right was very important. I studied several recipes, trying out a couple of variations and came up with what evoked the closest to my sweet memory. I didn’t want to use a crumbled ground “meat” tofu product so opted for lentils instead, keeping it more unprocessed. Using very little oil keeps the fat content down, as well. The result was amazing–I know this because my family had 2 Joe’s each and they were disappointed that there weren’t any leftovers! I am definitely going to put this on my regular rotation in my kitchen of vegan favorites. Or maybe…I should elevate it to a once in a while meal so I can get that “Yay! Sloppy Joe’s tonight!” response! Either way, it’s easy, healthy and delicious!!




1 can organic cooked lentils, rinsed and drained

cooking spray

1 cup white onions, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)

1 Tbs minced garlic

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp dried mustard powder

1 can, 15 oz, crushed fire-roasted tomatoes

3 Tbs tomato paste

1 Tbs brown sugar

1 Tbs molasses

2 Tbs apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp salt (to taste)

1/4 tsp black pepper (to taste)

6 buns, vegan

1 – 3 Tbs your favorite vegan BBQ sauce


1) In large pan, spray with cooking spray. Over medium heat, add onion and pepper and cook until soft, about 6 minutes

2) Add the garlic, smoked paprika, mustard powder, and chili powder and stir in for about a minute.

3) Add the lentils, fire roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, molasses, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes. The mixture should thicken. At this point, mix in 1 – 3 Tbs of vegan BBQ sauce based on how saucy you want it.

4) Toast the buns. Divide the Sloppy Joe mixture onto the open buns.


These can be topped with a drizzle of BBQ sauce or sriracha, for more robust or spicy flavor. Chopped pickles are also a nice crunchy, sour addition to the sandwiches!

Important: LENTILS are so healthy for you!! High in soluble fiber, complex carbohydrate, great source of folate and magnesium, good protein, virtually no fat!!


xox Ellen



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