Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentils stand in for ground beef in these vegan sloppy joes. Served with caramelized red onions and plenty of pickles! 

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Serves 6

Adapted from Edible Perspective. Don't even attempt to eat this with your hands. Fork and knife are required for this bad boy.


  • 1 cup uncooked lentils
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 medium-large carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons mild chili powder (I used 1 tablespoon smoked chili powder and 2 tablespoons regular)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into 1/2 inch rings
  • 6 100% whole grain hamburger buns, toasted
  • Pickles


  1. Pick over lentils for any stones or debris. Place in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Partially cover lid and simmer about 20 minutes, until al dente - tender, but with a bite. Drain.
  2. While lentils are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, a sprinkle of salt and cook until translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add carrot and cook 2-3 minutes. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. Stir and cook 1 minute until fragrant. Pour in tomatoes and tomato paste, stir to combine. Stir in apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and 3/4 cup broth. Bring to a simmer and stir in lentils. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne (if using).
  3. While cooking the lentil mixture, caramelize the onions. Heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium heat in a medium skillet. Add onions when hot. Cook 6-8 minutes until translucent, then sprinkle with salt. Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until golden brown and caramelized.
  4. Place pickles on the bottom of a hamburger bun. Top with sloppy joe mixture and caramelized onions. Serve with microwaved baked potato chips.