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Entrees/ Recipes/ Sides/ Vegan Recipes/ Vegetarian Recipes

Sloppy Lentils

Sloppy Lentil Sandwich Recipe

Sloppy Lentil Sandwiches
This morning I woke up in a complain-y mood. That happens when you get older. You get crotchety. You’re all, “Why do people post pictures of themselves in the car all the time? Why do people use hashtags in inappropriate ways? Why won’t these kids get off my lawn?” And then you go outside with a broom to chase those kids away. I didn’t know what to write about Sloppy Lentils, so I told Chris I was going to write a post to complain about things, to which he replied:

“Oh, yeah, that’s a great idea. People will love that.”

And then he called me Andy Rooney under his breath. But I think we all know that I have several years to go before my eyebrows reach that kind of plush luxuriousness.

Sloppy Lentils
Soooo, hey! Lentils! Lentils are something I have absolutely no complaints about. If I were Herbert Hoover, I would make sure there was a bag of lentils in every pot in this fine country. (Look at me, using my degree in history!) When I was a new and new-ish vegetarian, I was all about meat substitutes, but as I’ve gotten more comfortable with this whole vegetarian cooking thing, I’ve almost entirely ditched them in favor of whole foods like lentils. Lentils are cheap and easy (in a good way!), they’re tasty, and they are quick to make! Not as quick as popping some faux-nuggets or faux-wings in the microwave, but quicker than beans, which require advance soaking. Lentils don’t need soaking! Just throw them in a pot with some water or broth and about 20 minutes later, they’re done.

I posted a Veggie & Tempeh Sloppy Joes recipe last year, but I know not everyone is on board the tempeh train, so I wanted to make a lentil version. The sauce has molasses in it, which makes it kind of a cross between sloppy joes and baked beans. We had this in sandwiches one night and then we had the leftovers as a side dish. You can eat them either way! #delicious

Sloppy Lentil Sandwich Recipe

Sloppy Lentils

These Sloppy Lentils make a tasty vegetarian sandwich, but they're great as a side dish too!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 -6 servings


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils rinsed and picked over
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4-6 hamburger rolls optional


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and just beginning to brown, 5-7 minutes. Add the lentils and broth; bring to a boil, then partially cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the lentils are tender enough to eat, but still firm enough to hold their shape (not mushy!).
  • Stir in the tomato sauce, brown sugar, molasses, vinegar, tamari, tomato paste, garlic powder, mustard powder, and cayenne. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Continue to cook the lentils until the sauce has thickened, 10-15 minutes more, stirring frequently. Serve the lentils on the rolls if you're making sandwiches.
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  • Reply
    August 24, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    I’ve made these a few times and my husband and I LOVE them! They’re definitely on the regular dinner rotation. I love that they make me feel like a kid again.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      August 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      I’m happy to hear they’re a hit! 🙂

    • Reply
      September 30, 2014 at 10:41 pm

      Just curious…how long did you have to cook the lentils? I’m going on 1 hour and they are STILL not soft…..GRRRRRR….!!!

      • Reply
        January 23, 2015 at 7:19 pm

        I do the 20 minutes like the recipe says. They’re still firm but soft enough to chew (not crunchy).

      • Reply
        October 5, 2015 at 6:16 pm

        Marcia, were the lentils old? Or do you live at high altitude? Both of those things can make them take longer.

  • Reply
    November 13, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I’m making this tonight for the second time, as my girlfriend felt in love with that recipe the first time. I’m making a double-batch to be sure it last us longer this time.

    Super easy to make, dosen’t take much time, perfect for a weeknight dinner. 🙂

  • Reply
    May 25, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    We’re trying to add more meatless meals to our dinner table and this was a real winner. My kids love it straight up or over rice. Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl
    June 2, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    I made these with a pinch of chili powder and substituted the onion with a green pepper. They were delicious served with homemade potato wedges! Even my meat loving husband said they were great. :D)

  • Reply
    August 6, 2015 at 11:15 pm

    This was the first recipe I’ve made from this site and it was so good! The sauce was just spot on. I will definitely be trying other recipes from here. Thanks!

  • Reply
    September 28, 2015 at 10:41 am

    We added salt and cayenne to get these to our liking. Next time, I’ll try cutting the brown sugar. This will become our quick dinner fix. Thanks for sharing. Your philosophy and journey into ” real ” vegan foods is similar to ours.

  • Reply
    January 13, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Ive never cooked with lentils before. Do you think I could make this and freeze it?? This would be perfect for a quick freezer meal for my vegetarian sister when she has her baby!

  • Reply
    March 8, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    could I use water instead of veggie broth?

    • Reply
      March 17, 2016 at 8:22 am

      You can use it, but veggie broth will make the dish more flavorful.

  • Reply
    Maritza Mattar
    May 14, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Hi! I just wanted to check, can this last 5 days in the refriegerator? Thanks!

    • Reply
      May 26, 2016 at 9:05 am

      I think it should last that long, but I wouldn’t try to keep it beyond 5 days.

  • Reply
    July 27, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Hi I just made this today and so far it seems to be a hit. Thank you so much! My family is transitioning well to vegetarian life.

  • Reply
    November 20, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    I pinned this recipe years ago when you first published it, and finally got around to making it this week. Oh my gosh!! If I knew it was going to be this delicious I would’ve bumped other dishes out of the way! I love how simple it is to throw together too. Definitely going to be on repeat! Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    lyndsea skojec
    January 10, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Do you have a calorie count per serving for this meal?

    • Reply
      January 10, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      We don’t calculate the nutritional info for our recipes, but this is a handy tool if you’d like to take a crack at it yourself. 🙂

  • Reply
    January 20, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Would this work in the slow cooker?

    • Reply
      January 21, 2017 at 10:15 am

      We haven’t tried these in the slow cooker, but I think so! You might need to keep an eye on in the first time around just to figure out the timing and if any of the ingredients need adjusted.

  • Reply
    July 31, 2017 at 2:35 am

    Oh man. I love how decadent yet simple these are!

  • Reply
    February 6, 2019 at 10:47 am

    5 stars
    This is a staple in our house. Has anyone done this is a crock pot? I have seen other sloppy lentil recipes for the crock pot but this ones has the best flavours. Would love to have this made ahead of dinner time rush! Kids and meat eaters all like this recipe! Winning!

  • Reply
    AJ Ford
    June 25, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    5 stars
    Great recipe! Easy, delicious and quick. I’m allergic to most spicy things so I cut the pepper and added another half tablespoon of brown sugar. Really nice and creative. Thank you!

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