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Super Healthy Lentil Sloppy Joes

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Lentil Sloppy Joes!

Seeing as I’ve posted recipes for both Healthy Oreos and Healthy Butterfingers this week, I figured a non-dessert post was in order. After all, a person can’t live on chocolate, cookies, and candy, alone. We can come close…

Anywhoos, so last night I made these:

Meatless Sloppy Joes

Thinking of sloppy joes brings me back to high school.

My mom always placed high importance on family dinner nights, and she’d somehow manage to make a big meal even on days we were super busy. (We were always super busy!)

My sister and I played on the school’s varsity tennis team, with long practices each day, and Friday nights were particularly animated: we’d board a bus in the afternoon, then play intense matches until well after dark. Intense might not be a strong enough word… we sometimes played against China’s future Olympic team!

Ever the supportive parent, my mom attended almost every match. Yet, when we’d finally drag our tired (and hungry) bodies off the courts, there it would magically sit, waiting for us:

A home-cooked meal.

Healthy Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joes became one of our favorite Friday-night dinners, and one of our mom’s favorites as well, because she could make them in the morning in the crock pot. Her recipe is actually meatless (I’ve been a vegetarian since high school), but it calls for a few ingredients one can’t buy in the US. So last night I changed it up, and I incorporated lentils into my new creation.

Although I didn’t use a crock pot for this recipe, I imagine you could. The recipe comes together very quickly, and there’s even a microwave option!

Vegan Sloppy Joes

Lentil Sloppy Joes

(Sloppy Loes)

  • 2 15-oz cans lentils, drained and rinsed (about 3 cups cooked lentils)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 stevia packets, or 3-5 tsp sugar or sweetener of choice, or to taste
  • 14 oz tomato sauce (I used no-salt-added)
  • up to 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (or soy-free alternative)
  • optional: 1/2 an onion (diced) and 2 tsp oil

Lentil sloppy joes: If making these on the stovetop: sauté the onion and garlic in the oil until onion is translucent. Add lentils and spices, stir, then add all other ingredients and cook uncovered (stirring occasionally) until thick like sloppy joe filling. If making this in the microwave: add all ingredients to a large microwave-safe dish (minus the onion and oil, which you won’t use with this method). Microwave until it boils, stir, then repeat the process until it is thick like sloppy joe filling. Makes about 5 cups.

View Sloppy Joes Nutrition Facts

SUPER healthy lentil sloppy joes!

Did you sit down to family meals when you were growing up?

Or do you try to have family meals with your own kids? My family tried to all eat together whenever we could. Sometimes after-school activities got in the way; and sometimes we were forced to eat in the car, en route to soccer practice or art class. But when we got the opportunity to sit down as a family, we took advantage. I don’t remember ever eating dinner in front of the television, unless it was a special “movie night.”


banana pancakes
…..Healthy Banana Pancakes

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. Sloppy Joes is one of my favorite home cooked meals. It’s so fast and easy! Unfortunately (well, to me it’s unfortunate since I’m not vegan or vegetarian), due to health problems, my body doesn’t digest red meat very well. 🙁 This lentil joes look like the perfect alternative!

    My family almost always sits down together to have home cooked meals. The only time we don’t is when my sister has a late karate practice or people are just to hungry to wait for me to come home from play practice at school. Our biggest weakness is eating in front of the TV. I hate doing it, but somehow my younger sister always ends up talking my parents into it. >:(

    1. alysa says:

      also unfortunately, it makes ruffly 6.5 servings and i’m only cooking for one.

      1. connie says:

        freeze the leftovers! saves cooking a few nights 🙂

    2. Heather says:

      Hi Olivia! If you would like to have meat, then look into taking coenzyme Q10 supplement WITH your meal when it includes meat to help break it down better AND make sure to spend extra time to thoroughly chew the meat to break it down better.

    3. Mary says:

      Yeah look into taking an enzyme to help you digest meat, because, seriously if you think eating meatless will help you with health problems you are so wrong, girl! If you want to get on top of things healthwise, get back to eating meat and seriously cut your grain and legume consumption.

  2. I LOVED sloppy Joes when I was a meat eater still and can’t believe I haven’t tried a way to make them vegetarian yet. Love the idea of using the 100 calorie buns to put them on as well. Genius!

    1. Lol that’s actually an English muffin 😉

  3. Liz says:

    These look SO GOOD! I happen to have all the ingredients, and now I know what dinner will be. 🙂 I will report back later with results.

  4. Hey, just to let you know that this post isn’t showing up on the homepage… at least it isn’t for me!

    Sloppy Joes were always a quick and go food for my family too. This looks great!

    1. Really? That’s weird! It shows up for me… What browser are you using? Did you try refreshing the screen?

      My blog has done some really weird things lately (like not letting people comment from some browsers) so I wouldn’t be surprised if it were yet another lovely technological glitch.

      1. Ya, I always have to read your blog in Internet Explorer because it gets really funky in Mozilla Firefox. It won’t let me comment or see this post in Mozilla. But Explorer works. Weird.

        1. Ugh… that really IS weird! I just checked Firefox and it works there for me as well. But there have been times in the past where I can see posts and others can’t, so I am frustrated to hear that it’s still going on. But THANK YOU for letting me know! People sometimes say they don’t want to bother me by telling me about a problem, but I could not be more appreciative when someone speaks up. Otherwise I’d have no idea something was wrong and would never know I needed to try and fix it!

        2. It’s now working in Mozilla.

          1. That was the thing with the comments, too… I only can’t post comments (in Safari) for about an hour after the post goes live.

            There is a reason companies like The Geek Squad exist. I need a Geek Squad for my blog! 😉

  5. Ciara says:

    That sounds fantastic do u reckon u could use dried instead of tin lentils I can find tinned anywhere 🙁

    1. Yes- about 3 cups when cooked.

      1. Ciara says:

        Yay thanks Katie looking forward to my first proper vegan Dinner 🙂

    2. Melanie Hancock says:

      I couldn’t find canned either but I do have dried. Thanks! 🙂

  6. Leslie says:

    We almost always ate together as a family growing up and I have instilled that with my husband and stepson. There are a few exceptions but most nights you will find us eating together. I think it is important in this busy busy world we live in!

    1. Anonymous says:

      I quite agree

  7. Andrea says:

    Hmm. I have all but the apple cider vinegar, so I might try subbing red wine vinegar. I think this will be dinner tonight. 🙂

    1. Andrea says:

      Also, a couple of girls I work with mentioned your blog in conversation yesterday. I got really excited! Everyone agrees you’re amazing! 🙂

      1. Aw that makes me so happy!

        I think another vinegar would work… might have a different flavor, but would still probably be good!

  8. Justin says:

    Those sloppy joes look really good. But I have to tell you, those banana pancakes look incredible. You oughta be on the Food Network or have a product line or something! 😉

    1. Haha thank you! Maybe I could have a product line of chocolates. Or chocolate-covered everything. Enough Food Network stars already have pots and pan product lines!

      1. alysa says:

        yes you should definitely have a cooking show. you could be the next Rachel Ray. or barefoot contessa. except vegan. you cant have to many vegans.

  9. Karissa says:

    My husband and I have recently decided to practice a vegan diet (about two months), and it’s still a work in progress. Your blog has been a life saver! I love your recipes and I think you are so talented and creative. I want to make every recipe! I have already made your deep dish chocolate cookie, pop tarts, donuts, and cornbread. I will make this for tonight with your surprise ingredient chocolate cake. I’ve been telling all by friends about your blog too. So I just wanted you to know you have a new big fan.

    1. Thank you so much! And to answer your other Q, it depends on the recipe. In this one, if you use coconut oil there is no need to melt it first, as it will melt in the pan anyway.

  10. Great idea! I am totally making these this weekend. I love when I see a recipe I like and it contains ingredients I already have on hand.

  11. I never actually had sloppy joe’s growing up, except a couple times at summer camp. These look great!

  12. Karissa says:

    One question about coconut oil. Since it’s solid at room temperature, do you heat it up first before you mix it in with baking ingredients?

  13. Jenica says:

    These look amazing! I love the idea of using lentils instead! i must give this a try.

  14. Melissa says:

    So, I’m in love with your site.
    Really. I live on it now.
    But my question: are the nutrition facts you have posted for the stevia or the sugar? Or is it the same and I’m being silly?

    1. I calculated it with stevia, but 2 tsp of sugar divided by so many servings probably will only be a few calories and sugar gram difference, so it shouldn’t matter much.
      Not a silly question at all!

  15. Lauren says:

    I love lentils, so this looks great! My family always sat down to dinner when I was growing up. We’d often be turned towards the TV, but at least we were all watching together… 🙂

  16. Stephanie says:

    I make something very similar, but with red lentils, and my whole family LOVES this dish (my ten year old son even asks for me to make it- I let him pick out dinner last week and he chose the red lentil sloppy joes. I was proud!). I usually toast the buns before serving dinner. YUM!!!!

    We sit down to dinner at the table together every night. I feel like it’s important to create and maintain that ritual. It gives us time to relax, to catch up on everyone’s day, and to bond as a family. I look forward to it. 🙂

  17. Janie Kaiser says:

    Yummy! What kind of lentil did you use? (pink, green, etc.) I have so many lentils in my apartment but I always forget that they are a great easy protein source. I’m working on expanding my repertoire of vegan meals!

  18. Amy says:

    This looks like a great vegan recipe, butI am I allergic to lentils. What would be a good sub?

    In our house we make dinner together a priority on Friday , Saturday and Sunday. The rest of the nights of the week, my daughter and I are at our karate class and my husband gets home before us and he HAS to have dinner right when he gets home. I usually make dinner ahead on those nights for him and my daughter and I eat when we get home.Its not ideal, but it works for us!

    1. I listed a few ideas in the “nutritional info” link, but I can’t say a sub that I am 100% sure will work, since I’ve only tried the recipe with lentils.

    2. Crys says:

      Amy I only had one can of lentils and I subbed black eyed peas for the other part. It was delicious.

  19. Dawn says:

    Ok, I’ve been following you for awhile now on pinterest, and it’s time to say it: I love your blog! I rarely leave comments for anyone or anything, but it must be said. I am a pastry chef by trade, and a vegetarian by choice (since I was 8) and I can’t help but look at everything you make.
    Thank you for showing me how to enjoy treats and eats in a healthier manner.

  20. Sophie says:

    This looks delicious (like everything else)! I’ll definitely have o make it for my dad because he loves sloppy joe! Also, last weekend I went up to Stratford in canada (for a field trip) and there was a fancy chocolate store that had chocolate covered cheesecake slices on a stick! They were huge! I decided to indulge since I didn’t know if I’d ever come across this delicious invention again (unless I went back to Stratford, which I don’t plan on doing anytime soon). My question: Katie, could you please make a healthier version of this recipe?

    1. Haha I can add it to my list of things to try :).

    2. Haha. I saw those chocolate-covered cheesecake slices in Stratford too! I went there last month to see the Shakespeare festival. My friend was “this close” to buying one, but I think they were worried that they wouldn’t be able to finish it… They were huge!

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