Vegetarian Lentil Sloppy Joes with Avocado
This is a no judgement zone. But can we talk about something really important for just a minute? Yeah? You’re cool with that? Ok, here we go…
You NEED to stop eating that sloppy joe mix that they serve in a can. Seriously. Stop it. Stop it right now. These vegetarian lentil sloppy joes are fricking fantastic. I’m telling you, stop using the canned stuff and get creative in your kitchen. Your friends and family will thank you for it! Sloppy Joes are amazing and super easy to turn meatless.
Isn’t the base of a sloppy joe meat? I mean, generally yes...but this is a vegetarian food blog and these vegetarian lentil sloppy joes taste sooo much better than the traditional version. This crowd pleaser is nutrient dense and bursting with flavors. Loaded with lentils, black beans, and a boatload of veggies, this is a sandwich that you can feel good about eating - and serving to everyone at the next football get together.
These sloppy joes are hearty, filling, and so savory that even the most stubborn meat eater will fall in love and ask you for the recipe. I adapted this recipe from a really funny cookbook I received as a gift: Thug Kitchen Party Grub. If this cookbook isn’t already a part of your library, I would highly recommend picking it up. It’s full of badass, vegan options. The recipes are amazing and the whole book is hysterical and filled with adult language. Not at all the style of cookbooks most of us are used to and I LOVE IT!
Dice 1 cup of crimini mushrooms, 1 carrot, 2 jalapenos, and 1 bell pepper. Mince up half an onion or 1 shallot and 2 cloves of garlic. If you would like a spicier sloppy joe mix, be sure to leave the seeds and ribs in the jalapeno. That’s where the heat lives! If you aren’t a huge fan of spice, include the jalapenos anyway and simply remove the seeds and the ribs. You will get the floral flavor of the jalapeno without the heat.
You’ll need 1 ½ cups of black beans for this recipe - for those keeping score at home, that’s one 15 ounce can, drained. You’ll also want to pull out 1 ½ cups of cooked lentils. If you’re not sure how to prepare lentils, check out this lentil taco meat recipe where I explain three different ways to prepare lentils.
Once the vegetables are prepped, heat a pan over medium heat and add olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the onions, garlic, bell peppers, and carrots to the pot. Then, cook everything for about 4 minutes until the mixture begins to soften.
After they’ve softened, add the mushrooms and jalapenos. Then add in 2 teaspoons of paprika, 2 teaspoons of garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon each of chili powder, cumin, and mustard seed powder. Cook this mixture until the mushrooms have started to soften, about another 4 minutes.
Toss in the beans, the lentils, 1 ½ cups of prepared tomato sauce, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Let this glorious mixture simmer together for 15 minutes. The longer that it sits together, the deeper the flavors will develop. The ingredients need time to get to know one another, to mingle, to fall in love.
While the mixture is simmering, toast up the whole wheat buns and slice up an avocado. Warning: do not skip the avocado. It adds a creamy element that will help to bring the entire sandwich together. I mean if it really isn’t your thing I’ll forgive you, but I can’t guarantee that everyone else will. I like to top the sloppy mixture with pepper jack cheese and serve alongside roasted vegetables, like red skin potatoes
This dish is perfect when you are feeding a crowd, but don’t fret if you are craving this and you aren’t planning a big group together anytime soon The sloppy joe filling will store in the refrigerator all week long and chose different toppings each time you eat it.
Regardless of how you eat this, make sure that you grab the napkins. It’s delicious but damn messy, just like any good comfort food!
Loaded Lentil Sloppy Joes
Inspired by Thug Kitchen
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ½ cups cooked lentils
1 15 oz can of black beans
1 cup crimini mushrooms, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 jalapenos, minced
1 optional shallot minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 ½ cups tomato sauce
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon mustard seed powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
whole wheat buns
1 - 2 avocados, sliced
slices of your favorite cheese
Begin by preparing the vegetables, lentils and black beans. Then, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Drizzle in the olive oil, shallot, garlic, bell peppers, and carrots. Cook for 4 minutes. Add in the mushrooms and jalapenos before sprinkling in the seasoning mix and cooking for another 4 minutes.
Add in the beans, lentils, tomato sauce, soy sauce, and a big squeeze of fresh lemon. Allow this mixture to simmer together so that the flavors can combine. As the sloppy joes cook, toast the whole wheat buns and slice the avocado.
Serve on the toasted buns with the avocado and a slice of cheese, with a side of roasted vegetables or potatoes and enjoy!
Recipe makes 10 servings. Each Sloppy Joe served with avocado on a whole wheat bun is one serving.
Hi! I'm Lacie, an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach turned Food Blogger. Welcome to The Vegetarian LunchBox where I celebrate my passion for vegetarian cooking.