Bread covered with Sloppy Joe and avocado on a white plate
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What is the perfect comfort food on a cold, blustery winter night? Sloppy Joes! It is what my mother used to make to fill our bellies after a day of playing in the snow.

This vegan option is just as filling and comforting as the original beef version. Lentils are inexpensive, nutritious and the easiest dried beans to cook. It only takes about 20 minutes to hydrate and serve. Lentils come in a variety of sizes and colors: tan, green, black or orange, which make plant based meals fun for kids and kids-at-heart.

Pot filled with rice, lentils, green peppers and a red sauce.

The ingredients for the barbecue sauce are most often found in your pantry or refrigerator! Therefore, you can quickly pull together this recipe without preplanning.

Serve Sloppy Joes on toasted bread or rolls, as a sandwich or open-faced sandwich. I generally serve it on sautéed potatoes, rather than bread, mainly because vegan and gluten free bread is expensive, processed and challenging to find in my local food store.

lentil sloppy joes

Lentil Sloppy Joes

A healthy, vegetarian version of the classic "messy burger".
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 433 kcal


  • 1 cup Dried lentils
  • 2 cups Brown rice cooked
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 large Sweet onion diced (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 large Green bell pepper diced (about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1-2 large Jalapeno peppers diced (about 4-8 tbsps)
  • 1 cup Tomato sauce organic
  • ½ cup Ketsup organic
  • 1 tbsp Brown mustard organic
  • 2 teas Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce organic, vegan
  • 1 tbsp Maple syrup 100% natural
  • 1 teas Smoked paprika
  • 1 teas Celery seed
  • 1 teas Black pepper
  • 1 teas Sea salt
  • ½ – 1 teas (Optional) chili powder or taco seasoning
  • 1 (Optional) Avocado thinly sliced
  • 1-2 (Optional) Vegan bread toasted


  • Rinse the lentils to remove any debris and place into a 4 cup saucepan.
  • Add 3 cups of water to the lentils and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to simmer for 20 minutes, until the lentils are soft, but slightly firm. Add more water as needed to keep the lentils covered.
  • Drain the lentils and set aside.
  • While the lentils are cooking, make the brown rice and prep the peppers and onion. See the notes below for instructions on how to cook in an Instant Pot.
  • In an 8 cup pot, add the olive oil and cook the peppers and onion until soft.
  • To make the barbecue sauce, combine the following in a bowl and mix well: tomato sauce, ketsup, mustard, vinegar, Worcestershire, syrup, paprika, celery seed, pepper and salt.
  • Add the lentils and rice into the pot holding the peppers and onions and stir.
  • Pour the barbecue sauce into the pot, stir well and heat until the Sloppy Joe mixture is hot.
  • Serve as a sandwhich or open-faced on toasted vegan bread. Or ladle on top of sauteed sliced potatoes.
  • Option: top with sliced avocado.



Each serving is 245 calories and does not include the calories of the bread, potatoes or avocado. 


Non-vegan options:  1 teas honey for the maple syrup
Gluten Free options:  Use Gluten Free Vegan Worcestershire

Why use organic products?

Choose organic canned and jarred products when possible, as they (generally) do not include preservatives, food coloring or fillers.  

Spice up this recipe

Add the optional chili powder or taco seasoning to give it a big kick.  

Brown Rice Instant Pot Instructions

Add 1 cup brown rice and 2 1/2 cups water into the Instant Pot.  Place lid onto the pot, making sure the vent is closed.  Schedule manual high pressure for 22 minutes.  The pot will take between 5-10 minutes to build pressure, plus the 22 minutes of cook time.  When cooking is complete, manually open the vent to release pressure.  Fluff with a fork.  
Recipe courtesy of:


Serving: 1cupCalories: 433kcalCarbohydrates: 84gProtein: 15gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 810mgPotassium: 823mgFiber: 14gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 587IUVitamin C: 33mgCalcium: 78mgIron: 5mg
Keyword brown rice, gluten free, lentils, sloppy joe, vegan, vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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God-loving, healthy lifestyle enthusiast, mother, grandmother, animal obsessed and married to my best friend. Life is good!

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