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Slow Cooker Vegan Sloppy Joes

These vegan sloppy joes are a fun, plant-based take on a popular sandwich. They’re hearty, spicy, and super healthy! 

Sloppy joes are a really fun sandwich. They’re rich, spicy, salty, and packed full of flavor. Unfortunately, they’re also usually packed full of meat. So I came up with this vegan sloppy joes recipe to try and make a meat-free version that was just as good as traditional sloppy joes.

These vegan sloppy joes are just as hearty as the meaty ones, thanks to lentils and quinoa. And they’re full of fun, strong flavors like mustard, maple syrup, and hot sauce, which make the dish mouth-watering. And best of all, the recipe is made in a slow cooker, which means it requires basically no work at all! Just throw the ingredients in the slow cooker, turn it on, and a few hours later you’ll have vegan sloppy joes that even a meat lover would be obsessed with. 

What You’ll Need

Here are all the ingredients that you need to make these spicy lentil sloppy joes. Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the article to see the exact amounts of each ingredient. 

  • Carrots
  • Mushrooms – Any kind of mushroom will work.
  • Onions – You can use any type of onion for this recipe.
  • Garlic
  • Brown lentils – Other types of lentils will work fine for this dish, but brown lentils have a nice flavor, and best replicate the look of sloppy joes.
  • Quinoa
  • Tomato sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Maple syrup – Make sure to use pure maple syrup.
  • Hot sauce 
  • Mustard
  • Chili powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegetable broth  
Overhead view of a lentil sloppy joes sandwich on a plate, with the top bun to the side, slaw on the sandwich, and tortilla chips on the plate

How to Make Slow Cooker Vegan Sloppy Joes

Here’s how you can easily make these hearty vegetarian sloppy joes.

  • Combine the ingredients. Add all of the ingredients into a slow cooker, and stir to combine. 
  • Cook. Cook the sloppy joes on high heat for 2-3 hours, or on low heat for 5-6 hours. 
  • Serve. Sloppy joes are traditionally served on a bun, but they’re also great on a biscuit or inside spaghetti squash
Three pictures: a slow cooker filled with mushrooms, broth, and the rest of the ingredients for lentil sloppy joes, uncooked, with a wooden spoon in it; a slow cooker full of cooked lentil sloppy joes with a wooden spoon in it; and two lentil sloppy joes sandwiches with slaw on a piece of sandwich paper

Tips for Success

Here are some tricks and tips for making the best lentil sloppy joes.

  • Make your own broth. One of my tips for taking recipes to the next level is to use homemade stock. You get so much more flavor when you make your own broth. I recommend using Instant Pot mushroom vegan bone broth when making this recipe.
  • Adjust the heat. I like my sloppy joes on the spicy side, but everyone has different heat preferences. This recipe has hot sauce and chili powder in it, so there are multiple ways to adjust the heat. Add more or less of either ingredient depending on your taste, or choose a hot sauce that is super spicy or pretty mild.
  • Adjust the liquid. This recipe calls for 3-4 cups of broth. Start with just 3 cups, and once the sloppy joes have been cooking for a few hours, check them and adjust as necessary. You want the mixture to be thick, but still gloppy. 
A plate with a lentil sloppy joes sandwich with the bun to the side, slaw on the sloppy joes, and tortilla chips on the plate

What to Serve With Vegan Sloppy Joes

You can serve lentil sloppy joes with whatever foods you would normally eat with a sandwich. Here are a few recipes that I love to make when I’m cooking vegan sloppy joes. 

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

These vegan sloppy joes will last for 4 days in the fridge if stored in an airtight container. Reheat over medium heat on the stove for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, or in 30-second increments in a microwave set to 80% power. 

Can This Recipe Be Frozen?

It definitely can! Store the vegan sloppy joes in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge or defrost before reheating. 

Overhead view of two plates with lentil sloppy joe sandwiches with the top bun to the side, slaw on the sandwiches, and tortilla chips on the side, next to a bowl of sloppy joes mixture, a bowl of slaw, and a plate of cilantro

More Vegan Slow Cooker Recipes

I'm a big fan of my slow cooker. It's a great way to deep flavors with minimal work! Here are a few other great vegan slow cooker recipes to make.

Slow Cooker Vegan Sloppy Joes

3.9 from 325 votes
These vegan sloppy joes are rich, hearty, spicy, and comforting. They have just as much flavor as traditional sloppy joes, but they're entirely plant-based!
author: Alyssa
yield: 6
Vegan lentil sloppy joe sandwich on a hamburger bun with tortilla chips and vegetable slaw on a white plate with a stripped dishcloth
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 5 minutes



  • 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!



Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, or in a microwave on 80% power in 30-second increments. 


Serving: 1serving (no bun) | Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 573mg | Potassium: 931mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 4422IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 5mg
cuisine: American
course: Dinner

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