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Barbeque Lentil Sloppy Joes


Makes 6-8 servings

As I sit here writing this, I am 8 months pregnant with my second child. T-shirts hang off my belly like bed-skirts, I speak in primal grunts with a two-year-old all day, regularly find food stains on my midsection, and to top off this poised aesthetic, I'm eating sloppy joes now.

Lunch lady vibes, through and through.

But if sweet, tangy, smoky sandwiches are wrong - than honey, I don't want to be right.

This comforting recipe is plant-based, packed with beneficial spices and 100% carnivore-approved. It's also loaded with vegan protein, has 10g of fiber per serving and is easy to modify for gluten-free folks as needed.

Not only are lentils rich in protein, folate, fiber, iron, potassium and manganese, but they're also low in sodium and saturated fat, jam-packed with antioxidants, and an excellent source of blood-sugar balancing resistant starch too. Research such as this article from Harvard also touts these tiny seed-like pulses for their ability to prevent digestive disease, lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and even protect against diabetes and breast cancer as well.

Perfect for kids, adults, summer cook-outs or chilly winter nights. I hope you find these savory sammies as delicious and worth the mess as I do.

Prep time: 20 miN

cook time: 25 min

Total time: 45 MIN 


For the Lentils

  • 3/4 cup dry green or small brown lentils, rinsed well

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 cups vegetable broth

  • 3 Tbsp tomato sauce

For the Spice Blend

  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp sweet paprika

  • 1.5 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1/4 tsp cumin

  • 2 tsp chili powder

  • 1/2 tsp dried ground mustard powder

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

For the Sloppy Joes

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small

  • 1 green bell pepper, diced small

  • 1 celery rib, diced small

  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic

  • 1 cup tomato sauce

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)

  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

  • 3 Tbsp + 1 tsp organic maple syrup

  • 1 Tbsp molasses

  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional, for a smokier flavor)

  • Whole grain hamburger buns, for serving (or gluten-free as needed)

  • Maple Tahini Coleslaw, for serving



Combine the water, vegetable broth, tomato sauce and dry lentils together and cook as directed on the stovetop or in an instant pot until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.

In the meantime, combine the dry spices in a small bowl and set aside.

In a stock pot, large skillet or Dutch oven, combine the diced onion, green bell pepper, celery and garlic and sauté over medium heat in a drizzle of olive or avocado oil (a splash of water works too). Once the veggies have softened, add in the prepared spice blend and sauté for another minute or so.

Next, add in the tomato sauce, water, tamari, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and molasses (as well as the liquid smoke, if using). Drain the cooked lentils and add them into the stock pot, letting the entire mixture simmer for 15 minutes or so until warm and thick.

Prepare the Maple Tahini Coleslaw. Start by combining the shredded cabbage, carrots, and cilantro in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. Next combine the remaining ingredients for the dressing, and whisk well in a small bowl before drizzling over the coleslaw veggies. Alternatively, you can toss together a your favorite store-bought coleslaw mix here. I just love this homemade eggless recipe!

Once all the dish elements are prepared and seasoned to your liking, serve immediately by toasting your hamburger buns, piling on your sloppy joe mixture and garnishing with your delicious coleslaw salad.

Dig in & ENJOY!


I hope you find this recipe as comforting and nostalgic as my family does!

These sloppy joe leftovers save beautifully in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days and reheat to perfection on the stovetop or in the microwave. This mixture is also delicious served over a barbeque chopped salad, or as part of a southern platter with mac and cheese, cornbread and garlicky greens to compliment.

For more personalized care or further information on plant-based proteins, dairy, meat or egg alternatives when it comes to Southern-style cooking, feel free to visit my services page or shoot me an email to chat further. I LOVE sharing what I've learned over the years in the healthy recipe department with you all and spreading the wealth there.

Thanks for dropping in today!

Until next time -




For more disease-fighting & drool-worthy 

meal ideas, check out my other plant-powered recipes here:  

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