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Slow Cooker Lentil Sloppy Joes

Author - Alyssa Rimmer

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 a chickpea or white bean would just throw the texture off. The best solution: lentils.

LENTIL SLOPPY JOES made in the slow cooker! So easy and the perfect vegan alternative to this all-American classic!

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.

LENTIL SLOPPY JOES made in the slow cooker! So easy and the perfect vegan alternative to this all-American classic!

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.

Hands down THE BEST vegan sloppy joes ever! Made with lentils, quinoa and mushrooms they're incredibly flavorful and super easy to make!

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.

Hands down THE BEST vegan sloppy joes ever! Made with lentils, quinoa and mushrooms they're incredibly flavorful and super easy to make!

Can't wait to hear what you think of the recipe. I have a feeling it's going to become a staple 🙂

Your turn…

What's your favorite slow cooker recipe? I'd love to get some ideas as we move into the winter time! 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!

xo Alyssa

Hands down THE BEST vegan sloppy joes ever! Made with lentils, quinoa and mushrooms they're incredibly flavorful and super easy to make!

Hands down THE BEST vegan sloppy joes ever! Made with lentils, quinoa and mushrooms they're incredibly flavorful and super easy to make!
3.88 from 139 votes

Slow Cooker Lentil Sloppy Joes

This plant-based version of the all-American classic, these lentil sloppy joes have all the same flavor without any of the meat!

Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword healthy sloppy joes, sloppy joe, slow cooker, vegan sloppy joes, vegan soup, vegan stew
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 294 kcal



  1. 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.
  2. Serve warm with a bun, biscuit or in a spaghetti squash!
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Lentil Sloppy Joes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 294 Calories from Fat 19
% Daily Value*
Fat 2.1g3%
Carbohydrates 57.1g19%
Sugar 12.6g14%
Protein 15.5g31%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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Lentil Sloppy Joes....made in the SLOW COOKER! Even my meat-loving family adores this recipe!

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  1. Have you tried this recipe quick cooked in a pot instead of a slow cooker? Just wondering if it works at all. Either way, looking forward to trying the recipe! Thanks!

  2. I found this recipe a few months ago and my vegan family loves it! It’s now become an added staple to the vegan lifestyle. We don’t care much for spicy so I eliminated the hot sauce and it’s perfect. Thanks!

  3. Hi Alyssa, I made this last night and I didn’t have any hot sauce so I used a table spoon of Jerk seasoning from the jar. It tastes really good, nice and spicy. I was wondering how much is in a serving?
    Thanks a lot for all your great recipes.

  4. I really wanted to love this, but I found the flavor insipid and overly sweet. I think part of the problem is the lack of fat in the recipe. I’m going to try sautéing the onions, garlic & spices in a glut of olive oil before adding to the slow cooker. Otherwise I don’t think there’s enough savory to stand up to the sweetness of carrot + tomato sauce+ ketchup + maple syrup, etc.

  5. Just found this recipe & made it today. I used sriracha instead of hot sauce & it was amazing! Love this recipe!

  6. I just came across this recipe and have everything to make it except the brown lentils. I have green and red, I read your comment about the red ones being too mushy. Would green be okay ?

  7. This recipe is delicious! Made it tonight with a few modifications, the major one being that I replaced the mushrooms (just don’t like ’em!) with jackfruit. Jackfruit is very nutritious and has wonderful meaty texture but very little flavor, so it worked really well. Also, I made it stovetop. Started by sauteeing the carrots, onions and garlic, then added the jackfruit, then the seasonings, then everything else. Since I didn’t use a crock pot, the broth was not needed. I did NOT let it simmer a few hours — rather, I served it when the vegetables were soft and everything was heated. Simmering might add extra flavor, but it was perfectly delicious without it.

    I was concerned that 2 TBSP of hot sauce would be too much, so I used about 1.25 and that was plenty for my palate. Might go down to 1 next time. Also replaced the maple syrup (didn’t have any) with agave syrup and used only 1 TBSP.

    My husband (a carnivore) and I (98% vegetarian) both loved it. I didn’t even use a bun — just ate it out of a bowl like chili, topped with some grated monterey jack cheese. The recipe makes a lot so we froze some of the leftovers.

    This one is a keeper!

  8. This looks delicious! Do you think it’s possible to double this recipe within a standard crock pot, or will the crockpot be too small? Also, wouldni need to adjust the cooking time and amount of broth? Thanks so much!

      • I made it stovetop. First, make the quinoa while chopping the veggies. Then, in a large pan (I suppose a large pot would also work), saute the veggies until the carrot is soft, then add everything else and mix well. It’s ready to eat when the food is hot!

  9. This sounds great! Just a quick question for you though – i noticed you have the nutrition facts posted but there is is no serving size listed. Do you know what the serving size is for these nutrition facts? Thanks!!

  10. I made this tonight in my Instant Pot on manual high for 25 minutes and then did the quick release. It was perfect!!

    I did omit the hot sauce because my hubby doesn’t tolerate hot spicy foods. However, it was still awesome!!

  11. […] Lentil Sloppy Joes from Simply Quinoa – Sneaky way to create a plant based meal with tons of protein and flavor – Feels lighter than a bowl of chili – Great for topping a salad if you don’t want the bunQuinoa Energy Bars from Food Faith Fitness – Eliminating the too busy excuse the morning by cooking the night before – Easy to add more protein if desired – Sweet enough to please picky morning eaters who just want cereal […]

  12. Hello I would like to make this but I’m not a fan of mushrooms, would it be OK to leave them out or do you have a recommendation of something that I should substitute?

  13. These are so good! Made them twice so far and am making them for a party next week! Thanks for posting this recipe!

  14. This was absolutely delicious! Even my meat loving fiance raved about it and made sure there wasn’t any wasted (he cleaned both our plates lol). Thanks so much for the recipe!

  15. subbed sweet potato for the mushrooms. Instant Pot on the chili / bean mode for 15 minutes, turned out perfectly. thank you 🙂

  16. Hi,
    I’ve just discovered your website after looking to head to the plant based route from now on.
    Can i used red lentils or do you recommend only black ones?

    • You can yes, but the cooking time and texture will be totally off. Red lentils cook in about 10 minutes, whereas this one cooks all day long, so it might take some experimentation on your part if you go that route 🙂 Keep me posted!

  17. Trying this for the first time today. As I’m a confirmed carnivore I’m a bit sceptical but prepared to try anything once. Since spending a month in India with work last year, and really enjoying the non-meat diet over there, I am trying to add more vegetarian meals to my diet. After finding quinoa is more expensive than gold in the UK (never needed to look before) I have substituted bulgur wheat (after searching online for a substitute). Looks great in the slow cooker as I put the lid on…….off out for the day now but hoping for a great dinner in about 7 hours.

  18. It would be great to have Instant Pot conversion for this recipe. I think I can figure one out. I will try it.

  19. This is my second time making it in the instant pot! I love making your recipes and post them on insta when I do. If you ever need a recipe tester/instant pot converter I would love to help:)

  20. I had eaten something similar to this recipe at a vegan restaurant here in my city and LOVED it! I was so EXCITED to find your recipe here! I am not very fond of spicy hot food or the flavor of hot sauce so I am going to substitute Worcestershire sauce for its flavor and perhaps add some sweet red bell pepper and possibly some tomato as well! I can’t wait to see how it turns out in my own slow cooker! Thanks, Alyssa, for all your healthy, hard work in bringing us GREAT new ways to use quinoa in our meal plans!

  21. This is fabulous. About to make another batch. I gave some to my meat eating son and he loved it also. Going to keep this in my freezer. So easy and delicious. Thanks for the great recipes. Going to try the meatloaf for tonight’s supper. I have a feeling it will be just as good.

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