Sloppy Lentil Joes

Growing up I usually brought my lunch to school, but occasionally I would buy lunch in the cafeteria.   On most days the school meal just didn’t look very appealing to me, but I do remember liking the Sloppy Joes.   Trying to get all of that oozy sweet and tangy sauce into your mouth without making a huge mess made eating those sandwiches extra fun.

A vegetarian version of Sloppy Joes is not the easiest thing to find, so I was thrilled when we attended a friend’s wedding a few years ago and they served vegetarian Sloppy Joes!  Given my excitement over their entrée choice, I’m surprised I hadn’t made my own version of Sloppy Joes until just recently.

This time, my recipe inspiration came from Jaime Oliver, who is on a mission to improve school lunch in the US and make things on the lunch line, like Sloppy Joes, a lot healthier.   Jamie’s Sloppy Joes are made with ground beef, veggies, and kidney beans, but I figured the Sloppy Joe sauce would be just as good over some French lentils.  Graham and I were both quite pleased with the results and the sandwiches made us feel a little nostalgic for our school days!

Sloppy Lentil Joes

Adopted from

  • 1 cup French lentils
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 1-2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • ¾ cup tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1½ tablespoons light brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon spicy chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Whole wheat tortillas/wraps
  • Lettuce or baby spinach for garnish

Place lentils into a medium-sized pot.  Fill pot with water and stir in a good pinch of salt.  Cook the lentils for about 15-20 minutes or until they are cooked through.  Drain remaining water from the pot and set aside.

Heat oil in a medium-sized skillet.  Add onions and cook until they just turn translucent.  Add carrots cook until they are tender crisp. Add the cooked lentils to the skillet and then stir in the tomato puree, vinegar, brown sugar, honey, mustard, chili powder, and smoked paprika.  Add salt and pepper to taste and cook until the sauce has thickened up a bit.

Tasty Easy Healthy Green Recipe Ratings:

Recipe Report Card Notes About Recipe Ratings

Tasty Rating


Four Chefs (Delicious!)

Much better than the Sloppy Joes we ate in elementary school!

Easy Rating


Four Easy Chairs (“ABC, Easy as 123…”)

This recipe came together very quickly and was definitely easy enough to be a weeknight dinner.

Healthy Rating


Four Apples (Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise)

Low in fat and high in fiber, I’d be happy to see these on school menus across the country.

Green Rating


Four Leaves (Mother Earth Approved)

The majority of the ingredients in these Sloppy Joes were organic.
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