Lentil Sloppy Joes

There are several theories about the origin of the Sloppy Joe. I love reading about the different possibilities – was it a guy named Jose at his cafe in Cuba or was it a cook named Joe in Iowa? Either way, it’s a fun sandwich to eat. It’s sloppy but it is oh, so good! 

I use lentils as the base and season them with big flavors. Use a can of lentils (drained) or make a batch ahead of time. Be sure to get really good buns that will stand up to the sloppiness!

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Servings 4


  • 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils OR 1 15 oz. can
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce (plain)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or more, to taste
  • 4 burger buns


  1. Heat a big pan with sides over medium-low heat. Add the oil. When it is shimmering, add the onions, green peppers and jalapeños. Cook until the onions are translucent, 3 or 4 minutes.

  2. Add the garlic, chili powder, paprika and salt. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

  3. Add the tomato paste and mix the tomato paste into the onions and peppers, cooking it for 1 to 2 minutes.

  4. Add the tomato sauce, coconut sugar, maple syrup and mustard. Mix to combine. Add the lentils, bring to a high simmer and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until the sauce has thickened. Stir in lime juice.

  5. Pile the lentil mixture on the buns. Enjoy!

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