This plant-based version of the all-American classic, these lentil sloppy joes have all the same flavor without any of the meat. And they're a cinch to whip up. Just toss everything in your slow cooker and let it do the work for you!
I got the idea for this recipe from my brother. He made my quinoa sloppy joes recently and was raving about them, and sent my sloppy joe craving into overdrive. But since I'm no longer eating meat, I had to come up with an alternative.
I've often used quinoa in things like vegetarian chilis and soups to lend somewhat of a meat texture, but I knew this recipe couldn't be 100% quinoa. Beans are the logical next step, but anything like chickpea or white bean would just throw the texture off. The best solution: lentils.
Lentils have a surprisingly meaty feel to them when they're cooked. They have this interesting quality about them, where they kind of break down as they cook, but also keep their shape at the same time. And they ended up being the perfect plant-based solution for these sloppy joes.
To add a bit more depth to the dish, I also added some finely chopped carrots, onions and mushrooms, all of which help give these sloppy joes more flavor, but also a more complexity in terms of texture.
I wanted to make sure the recipe was as simple to make as possible, so I threw everything in the slow cooker and let it do its thing.
I kept the recipe pretty much the same as my other quinoa sloppy joes, except that I obviously swapped the meat for lentils and ended up having to use a bit more liquid. I also decided to use vegetable broth instead of water to give them more flavor.
And friends, these are seriously THE BEST.
I've now served them on three occasions and each time people can't believe they don't contain meat. They have that wonderful tomato-barbecue flavor, are perfectly sloppy and make the greatest sandwiches!
For my guests, I served them on ciabatta rolls, but you could also use your favorite gluten-free biscuit (my Quinoa Biscuits are great!), or you can do what I did and toss everything into a spaghetti squash boat.
Can't wait to hear what you think of the recipe. I have a feeling it's going to become a staple 🙂
What's your favorite slow cooker recipe? I'd love to get some ideas as we move into the wintertime! I definitely didn't use my slow cooker much last winter, so I want to this season. And don't forget…if you end up making this recipe, or any others from the site, tag @simplyquinoa or use #simplyquinoa so I can find your pictures and give you some love in return!
More Easy Dinner Ideas to try:
- Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili
- Vegan Red Lentil Dal
- Chili Roasted Sweet Potato + Black Bean Quinoa Salad
- One-Pot Root Vegetable + Lentil Quinoa Stew
- Vegan Quinoa & Lentil Taco Meat
Slow Cooker Lentil Sloppy Joes
- 1 cup finely chopped carrots
- 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
- 1 cup finely chopped onions
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 1/2 cups brown lentils
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 8oz can tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup organic ketchup I used agave sweetened
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons mustard
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Pinch of salt & pepper
- 3 - 4 cups vegetable broth
- Add everything into the slow cooker, starting with 3 cups of broth. Stir to combine, cover and set to high. Cook on high for 2 - 3 hours (or low for 4 - 6). Check and add more liquid as needed.
- Serve warm with a bun, biscuit or in a spaghetti squash!
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