Healthy Sloppy Joes – this classic messy sandwich gets a meatless makeover and a Mexican flavored twist. Top them off with guacamole and serve with a side of chips. An easy weeknight meal the whole family will love!
It’s like my classic Vegan Sloppy Joes and my easy Vegan Burrito Bowls coming together in a saucy, sloppy sandwich. Or maybe it’s like my Sloppy Joe Casserole minus the cornbread crust and piled high on burger buns. Either way you look at it, you won’t be able to resist these delicious, flavorful, Mexican-inspired Sloppy Joe sandwiches. Grab a pitcher of margaritas and dig in!
Ingredients for healthy Sloppy Joes
Traditional homemade sloppy joe recipes are made with ground beef in a seasoned tomato sauce. This healthy sloppy joe recipe uses black beans and pinto beans for a plant based protein punch. Bell peppers, jalapeño peppers, and corn bring flavor and texture and a delicious Mexican vibe, not to mention vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Following the original recipe ingredients and instructions will give you the best results, but here are some adaptations that will work if need be.
Protein ~ Any kind of bean will work, like white beans, kidney beans, or chickpeas. If you don’t have canned, you could cook your own from dried beans. You could also use diced bake tofu or crumbled tempeh.
Veggies ~ Any color of bell pepper will work. If you don’t like peppers, diced corn or zucchini would be good options.
Corn ~ Canned, frozen, or fresh will work. If you don’t like corn or can’t have it, feel free to leave it out or add other veggies instead.
Heat ~ Jalapeño peppers bring a medium heat. If you like things spicier, feel free to use a hotter pepper, like a hot chili pepper or a habanero. You could also go milder with a poblano or a can of diced green chiles.
Mexican BBQ sauce
Store bought canned sauce is popular, but not very healthy as it contains high fructose corn syrup and other questionable ingredients that aren’t stocked in most home pantries.
Homemade is always best and it allows us to add other flavors and make the recipe our own. For this version I use jarred salsa and southwest flavors to create a Mexican BBQ sauce that pairs perfectly with the beans, peppers, and corn in this recipe.
Complete the meal
These easy Sloppy Joes are perfect with a big dollop of guacamole on top and a few extra slices of jalapeño. Tortilla chips on the side complete the meal.
If you like things cheesy, drizzle some vegan queso on top.
Be sure drain the canned beans and rinse them well.
If you’re using canned corn, be sure to drain that well, also.
Use a salsa with lots of flavor and a bit of heat. After being mixed with all the ingredients, it will mellow out a bit, so start bold.
Speaking of heat, if you’re serving this to kids, be sure to take the ribs and seeds out of the jalapeño. They probably won’t enjoy biting in to one of those.
More Mexican inspired vegan recipes
- Mexican Bean Dip
- Vegan Taco Salad
- Vegan Taco Chili
- Black Bean Enchiladas
- Tortilla Rollups
- Baked Vegan Tacos
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you tried it, please use the rating system in the recipe card and leave a comment below with your feedback.
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For even more easy family recipes, be sure to check out my cookbook, The Meatless Monday Family Cookbook!
Mexican BBQ Sauce
- 12-ounce jar salsa, (or 1 ¼ cups), your favorite
- Juice of 2 limes
- ¼ cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt/pepper to taste (I didn't use any)
Healthy Sloppy Joes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ of a red onion (diced)
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- ¼ cup water (divided, for sauteing)
- 1 red bell pepper (diced)
- 1 jalapeño pepper (ribs and seeds removed, diced)
- 1 ½ cups cooked black beans (or 1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained)
- 1 ½ cups cooked pinto beans (or 1 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)
- 1 cup corn kernels (fresh, frozen, or canned)
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro (or to taste)
- Burger buns (gluten free if desired)
- Extra jalapeño (sliced)
- Whisk all the ingredients for the Mexican BBQ Sauce in a medium bowl until well combined. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the red onion for 3 to 4 min until softened. Add the garlic and sauté another minute.
- Add the red bell pepper and jalapeño and sauté 3 to 4 minutes.
- Pour the Mexican BBQ Sauce into the pan and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the pinto beans, black beans, and corn and stir to combine. Simmer another 5 minutes to heat through.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary or add salt/pepper to your liking.
- Add the chopped cilantro and stir.
- Serve hot on burger buns with guacamole and extra jalapeño slices, if desired.
~Leave the ribs and seeds of your jalapeño in if you like the heat!
~Nutrition facts calculated without buns or toppings.
Serving Size:1 g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 196Total Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 0gSodium: 529mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 9gSugar: 13gProtein: 9g