Lentil Sloppy Joes Meatless Main Dishes

Lentil Sloppy Joes are a rich, filling, and inexpensive meal.

Tender lentils are simmered in a zesty homemade sloppy joe sauce and piled high on hamburger roll! They’re easy to make and use mainly pantry ingredients that you likely have on hand!

Lentil Sloppy Joes on sesame seed bun

Pantry Ingredients

No Require to make a special trip to the grocery store, you likely have most of the ingredients for this recipe on hand!

This meatless main has all of the flavors found in a traditional sloppy joe recipe but replaces the ground beef with lentils. This dish happens to be vegetarian (with a couple simple swaps) but meat lovers rave over it just the same.

The sauce is zesty and delicious while the lentils make this hearty and filling and the whole thing comes together in no time at all!

Lentil Sloppy Joes ingredients


LENTILS This recipe calls for dried brown lentils but you can easily sub in whatever lentils you have on hand. While the texture may differ slightly they’ll all work just fine.

If using canned lentils, be sure to skip the boiling (and the broth) and to drain them well.

Canned vs Dry When replacing dried lentils with canned lentils, Look back on that 1 cup of dried lentils equals approximately 2 cups of canned or cooked lentils.

SAUCE This tangy sauce combines a handful of condiments you are likely to have in your fridge already.

Variations: If you’re running low on prepared mustard, try swapping in dijon or brown mustard. Out of ketchup? Tomato sauce makes a great replacement!

BUNS Serve on hamburger buns, dinner rolls, or even slices of bread if that is what you have on hand. It’s also great over cooked brown rice or pasta!

Lentil Sloppy Joes in a pan

How to Cook Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentils cook faster than dried beans because they are smaller and softer. Always rinse and pick out any small stones or debris that might be in the bag with them.

  1. Saute onions and peppers until softened (per recipe below)
  2. Add lentils and broth and simmer until tender.
  3. Stir in sauce ingredients and cook a few minutes until thickened.

Scoop onto hamburger buns, top with sliced onions, tomatoes, or a dollop of sour cream and serve immediately!

Easy Variations

  • Add Meat: Add 1/2 pound of cooked ground beef and Cut broth and lentils by half.
  • Slow Cooker:  Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker (no Need to precook lentils), increasing broth to 2 cups. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8-10 hours. To thicken, allow to cook on high 30 minutes with lid removed if needed.
  • Seasonings:  Add taco seasoning or extra chili powder into the lentil mixture.

Serve With…

  • Spoon over baked sweet potato fries or baked potatoes and top with cheese
  • Serve or rice or pasta
  • Serve in buns, rolls or serve over bread

Add in a fresh side salad, classic coleslaw or creamy carrot salad!

Easy Lentil Recipes

  • Instant Pot Lentil Soup – easy healthy soup
  • Easy Lentil Shepherd’s Pie – twist on a classic
  • Homemade Lentil Soup – hearty & budget-friendly
  • Easy Lentil Soup – just 5 ingredients
  • Homemade Lentil Chili – ready in under an hour!

Have you tried these Lentil Sloppy Joes?  Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

Lentil Sloppy Joes on a plate

4.95 from 18 votes

Review Recipe

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 39 minutes
Total Time 54 minutes
Servings 8 sloppy joe
Author Holly Nilsson
This meatless meal is easy to make and easy on the budget.
Print Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper finely chopped
  • 1 small onion finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 cups water
  • 1 cup broth beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (use vegetarian Worcestershire sauce if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 8 hamburger buns


  • Cook green pepper and onion in olive oil until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, water, broth and lentils.
  • Bring to a boil and Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook 25 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients (except buns) and simmer an additional 10-15 minutes or until thickened.
  • Spoon lentil mixture over hamburger buns and serve.

Recipe Notes

Slow Cooker Version: Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker increasing broth to 2 cups. Cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 8-10 hours.  To thicken, cook on high uncovered an additional 30 minutes if needed.

Canned Lentils: To replace dry lentils, drain canned lentils well and skip the boiling (and the broth). You will need 2 cups of canned lentils (or pre-cooked lentils).

In this space, I am always sharing flavorful, fresh, (mostly) healthy recipes that I love to make and eat in my real, actual, every day life. If I wouldn’t eat it in real life, I won’t put in on the blog. You’re cooking for yourself, your family, your roommates, or your friends. I want you to be so excited about these recipes that you eagerly await 5pm when you can go home from work and start cooking.

Variations: Add 1/2 lb. of ground beef and half the lentils along with half the liquid. 

For extra flavor, spread garlic butter over the hamburger buns and lightly toast under the broiler.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1sloppy joe, Calories: 266, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 632mg, Potassium: 531mg, Fiber: 10g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 464IU, Vitamin C: 19mg, Calcium: 103mg, Iron: 4mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Lentil Sloppy Joes Meatless Main Dishes

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