Recipe: Sloppy Lentil Joes

I loved sloppy joe’s as a kid. They were deliciously tomato-y and sweet, and they had the word “sloppy” in their name. What wasn’t there to love! As a grown-up I also have a new appreciation for the ease with which my childhood sloppy joe’s were made: a packet of spices, some ketchup and filling and you were good to go. While the recipe for this family-favorite here is my own, I’ve added some steel-cut oats to the lentils thanks to inspiration from Dreena Burton’s “Shipshape Joe’s” recipe in her fantastic book Plant Powered Families.

Sloppy Lentil Joe's

  • Servings: 5-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 carrot, finely choppedP1060426
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup ketchup (my kids are ketchup fiends!)
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 cup of brown lentils (or 1/2 cup brown lentils and 1/2 red lentils if you like it a bit mushier)
  • 3 1/4 cups of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Burger buns (this recipe serves 5-6 people)


  1. Heat a medium saucepan to medium heat and add the oil. Saute the onions, carrots and garlic until the onion is translucent (about 5-7 minutes)
  2. Add the oats, ketchup, tomato paste, chili powder, liquid smoke, and some salt and pepper. Stir for a minute or two until the spices are evenly distributed. Add the lentils and water and bring to a boil.
  3. One the mixture is boiling, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring once or twice. Check the lentils occasionally and add a tablespoon or two of water if they seem to be drying out. The final mixture should be moist but you should still be able to eat it with a fork.
  4. Toast burger buns and load them up with sloppy joes. We like these “open face” style in our house!

51amAVx-GcL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Sloppy Joe Lentil’s are a great make-ahead meal! Check out my book “Homemade Goodness Every Day of the Week” for more great make-ahead meals that make life easier!


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