Slow Cooker Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

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(a) Vegetarian Sloppy Joes from Zagleft - 2

I decided over the weekend that over the next few days, I’m going to create a section on this blog strictly for vegetarian recipes.   I cook vegetarian meals several times a week and think it would be helpful to have a section dedicated to meatless meals.  So if you’re interested, look for that section coming soon.  Meanwhile, the latest vegetarian meal in my recipe arsenal are these deliciously sloppy and savory Vegetarian Sloppy Joes.

I know when you think of sloppy joes, you think of a sweet ground beef mixture smothered in a red, ketchup type sauce.  These sloppy joes are far from that.  I use lentils as the base and from there add red beans and garbanzo beans, diced sweet red peppers, lots of onions and garlic all mixed together and cooked in my crock pot.   No need to cook the lentils ahead of time, just let them slow cook all day and mingle with all the other flavors.  Talk about good!  One of the best things about this recipe is that you can substitute any kind of beans you like, mix it up or use what you have on hand.  No rules…I love that!

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes from Zagleft - 1

When my seventeen year old son announced to me last year that he was only going to eat vegetarian, I told him that I would completely support him, but in my mind, I didn’t really believe he’d stay that way.  I certainly didn’t tell him that, I just thought I’d watch and wait.  Almost a year has passed and I’m happy to report that Patrick is still eating vegetarian.  This boy who was a solidly built football player now tells me he has more energy during the day, he sleeps better at night and has even lost thirty pounds.  I’m proud of him.  His health is important to him and what he eats matters to him…a lot.

What I’ve found is that by eating more vegetarian and plant based foods, we are never sacrificing any flavor or substance.  These vegetarian sloppy joes are loaded with flavor and are extremely high in nutritional value.

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes from Zagleft - 4

Place a hefty scoop of the lentil and bean combination on a toasted whole wheat bun and you’ve got a fabulous meal.  Since I don’t eat bread, I ate mine without the bun.  You can even top it with a little shredded cheese, if you’d like.  We didn’t want to waste a bit so later we scooped some of the sloppy joe mixture onto tortilla chips and it made a great salsa-type dip.

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes
Serves: 8-10 servings
Prep time:
Total time:
  • 1½ cups green lentils
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1½ cups tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon mustard powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • whole wheat buns
  1. Rinse and sort the lentils. Place them into the crockpot.
  2. Add to the crockpot all the remaining ingredients except for the buns.
  3. Stir well. Place the top on the crockpot and cook for 3.5-4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low.
  4. After the amount of time, test to make sure the lentils are cooked through. They should have a slight al dente bite to them. If not, cover the pot again and cook for 30 minute increments and check for doneness.
  5. Serve on toasted buns.


  1. […] year-round staple at our house.  In the winter, I toss them into hearty soups or in our favorite Vegetarian Sloppy Joes.  In the summer, I love to serve them cold in dishes such as this Quinoa, Lentil and Black Bean […]


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