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Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Vegetarian (and Vegan!) Sloppy Joes made with lentils, mushrooms, carrots, celery, and green bell pepper are so hearty and filling you’ll forget you’re not eating meat.

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

This is a recipe my 14-year-old daughter cooked all by herself. She has been a vegetarian for over a year with no sign of turning back. She has started doing almost all of her cooking and I must say she is quite good at it.

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

This is a recipe from one of my very favorite new cookbooks- The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table by the authors of The Chubby Vegetarian blog. It is filled with the most amazing and creative recipes , all of them with a distinctly southern character. There’s Vegetarian Roasted Red Pepper and Olive Muffaletta, Vegetarian Frogmore Stew, “Chicken” and Waffles, Chicken-fried Portobellos with Mushroom and Shallot Gravy. The list of recipes I want to try goes on and on.

Next I really want my daughter to cook the Chubby Vegetarian Gumbo. It should be an easy sell.

Southern food always gets a bad rap for being laden with butter and fat and heavy on the fried foods and meat. But southerners truly love their vegetables. In many ways vegetables are the heart and soul of southern cooking. So it is no wonder The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook is such a fantastic  cookbook.

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

I thought it was strange that Madison picked Sloppy Joes as her first recipe to try from the book. I’ve never been able to get either one of my kids to eat Sloppy Joes.

But she really loved this vegetarian version and I must say I think I liked it more than a traditional meat Sloppy Joe. The lentils really make it.

Vegetarain Sloppy Joes

She changed the recipe some, cutting it in half from 8 servings to 4 and subbing Vegetable oil for Olive oil. She also left out the 1/4 cup of white wine and the vegetable bouillon cube it called for. I would have probably used the vegetable bouillon (1/2 cube for 4 servings), but even without it, there was plenty of flavor.

BTW, Madison is insistent that I have a vegetarian section of Spicy Southern Kitchen. Look for her to be making frequent contributions. 🙂

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Lentils and mushrooms make these vegan sloppy joes super hearty. You won't miss the meat at all.
PREP: 5 minutes
COOK: 15 minutes
TOTAL: 20 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable oil, divided
  • 8 to 10 ounces mushrooms (white or cremini), diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup cooked lentils
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 4 whole wheat buns


  • In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Saute the mushrooms until they are browned. Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and sauté the onion until translucent. Add carrots, celery, and bell pepper and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Place the mushrooms back in the pan and add lentils, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard. Turn heat to low and stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve sloppy joe mixture between buns.


For more flavor, add 1/2 a vegetable bouillon cube to the pan with the onions.
Recipe adapted from The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook


Calories: 297kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American

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24 thoughts on “Vegetarian Sloppy Joes”

  1. Please tell Madison I am enjoying these veggie recipes SO much!!! My husband recently had a stroke, so we have had to change our entire lifestyle if we want to keep him around! (He is only 58!!!) His neurologist suggested I read a book called The China Study and then for us to go vegetarian. Once I read the book, I was hooked on becoming vegetarian. We are fortunate that my husband is recovering at an astounding rate, but getting him to go veggie has been a trial. When I started sneaking these recipes into his diet, he was astounded that just veggies can be so darned good! With your help and Madison’s help, I am getting him converted to the veggie life sooner than I thought! Keep the great recipes coming please!

  2. Aretha Burns

    I just made these and a side of coke slaw. I used pretzel buns oh my goodness! They are delish.

  3. Dianne Havird

    These look so good! Rachel Ray’s recipe for Tango Joe’s is delicious but we need to eat more veggies & this looks like one to try! Thanks!

  4. I’ve made lentil sloppy joes before but these look even better – so many more veggies on top of the lentils! Looks so good! Hope you’re having a great long weekend!!

  5. Cailee @ hellohealthyeating.com

    Congrats to your daughter!! She really is a little chef in training!! This recipe looks delicious 🙂

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      Thank you Cailee. It’s so wonderful to be able to pass on a love of cooking. 🙂

  6. Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking

    What an interesting vegetarian take on sloppy joes! I think I’ll need to add the wine back in 😉 I can’t wait to see what else your daughter has in store for us! I love to mix in some vegetarian meals several times a week – especially when Hubs is out of town!

  7. Ruby @ The Ruby Red Apron

    These sloppy joes look nicer than the meat kind! Yum! Love the colors and everything.

  8. Jessica @ www.caretakerskitchen.com

    I like the ideas of lentils in a sloppy joe. Might try this and split it 50/50 with ground beef (easier sell to the husband that way).

  9. This is one mouthwatering burger! I love veggie burgers, but this sloppy joe version with lentils takes it to a new level! I need make a batch of these. While I’m not vegetarian, I love looking for new ways to eat lots of veggies and grains, and this is perfect. 🙂

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      Thank you Marcie! I love the way the lentils taste in it. They are definitely a food I want to start eating more of. 🙂

  10. Oh my goodness, these look amazing Christin! I am usually not a fan of sloppy joes either but I can definitely get behind these with all the veggies and lentils in here. Your daughter did an awesome job and can’t wait to see what else she whips up 🙂

  11. How to Philosophize with Cake

    Mmm, those look delicious! Your daughter must be quite the cook–and I’d say that’s a great skill for a person of any age to have! 🙂

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      She is! And I am so glad she has taken an interest in cooking because I totally don’t get people who don’t like to cook 😉

  12. Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor

    Look at all of those lentils and veggies. Veggie sloppy joes are the best! Your daughter takes after you because I’m drooling over theses pictures. Great job!

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