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Vegan Sloppy Joes on a bun with pickles.
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5 from 8 votes

Vegan Sloppy Joes

These smoky, sweet, tangy, sloppy sandwiches will remind you of your childhood. A delicious retro meal made modern with a meatless twist and done in about 30 minutes! Grab some napkins and dig in to these Vegan Sloppy Joes!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Entrées
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan
Servings: 6
Calories: 184kcal


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or ¼ cup vegetable broth or water, plus more as needed to prevent sticking
  • ¼ of a red onion peeled and diced
  • 1 green pepper seeded and diced
  • 2 small carrots diced small or shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup organic brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce The Wizard's and Annie's brands are both vegan (or use 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon molasses)
  • 1-2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper or to taste
  • 2 ½ cups cooked brown or green lentils
  • 6 burger buns gluten free, if desired

Toppings of choice, optional

  • pickles
  • tomato slices
  • avocado
  • red onion slices


  • Heat the oil (or broth or water) over medium heat in a large deep skillet. Sauté the onion, green pepper, carrots, and garlic for 5 to 6 minutes until soft.
  • Add the tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, vegan Worcestershire sauce (or balsamic and molasses), liquid smoke, mustard and oregano. Bring to a low boil, decrease heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Taste and add salt/pepper (or more Worcestershire sauce or liquid smoke) if necessary.
  • Add in the cooked lentils and stir until evenly coated. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  • Serve on buns with your favorite toppings.



~ If you don't have pre-cooked or leftover lentils on hand, you can easily make them from scratch. See this post All About Lentils for cooking methods and times.
~ Pure maple syrup or coconut sugar can be used instead of the organic brown sugar.
~ If you don't have or can't find vegan Worcestershire sauce, use an equal amount of balsamic vinegar and molasses (regular, not blackstrap) for a similar flavor profile.
~ To make this recipe oil-free, use broth or water to sauté.
~ To make this recipe gluten-free, be sure to use gluten free vegan Worcestershire sauce (The Wizard's and Annies brands are both vegan and gluten free), gluten free liquid smoke (Colgin brand is gluten free) and gluten free buns.
~ You may choose to toast the buns before adding the Sloppy Joes mixture. This will help prevent the buns from getting mushy from the saucy filling.
~ Storage: Store any leftover lentil mixture in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
You can also freeze it in a freezer-safe bag for about 6 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and then pop it in the microwave for a minute or two or heat gently in a pot on the stove.
~ Nutrition facts calculated without buns.


Serving: 6Servings | Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 9g | Sodium: 666mg | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 18g