Lentil Sloppy Joes in the Instant Pot
I have been trying to include more meatless options on the blog lately, and taking a classic dish that my whole family loves – Sloppy Joes – and making a vegetarian version seemed like a fun challenge! And wow, it did not disappoint. In fact, my meat and potato loving husband was standing over the pot, spooning it directly into his mouth before dinner even started.
I have a traditional sloppy joes recipe on the blog that has been popular for years, but I cannot wait to see what you think of this new vegan sloppy joes option!
Ingredients and Substitutions
This easy lentil sloppy joe recipe with the sweet and tangy sauce comes together using a lot of pantry ingredients that you likely have on hand already! You need:
- olive oil or avocado oil: I tend to grab avocado oil when sautéing veggies, but use what you have.
- one cup uncooked lentils: I use green lentils or brown lentils for this recipe. Red lentils can get a little mushy.
- carrots: I love the natural sweetness the carrots add to this sloppy joe recipe.
- yellow onion: yellow is my fave, but sub red onion if you prefer
- green bell pepper: you can use whatever bell pepper color you want, but we love green pepper best
- garlic: I use three cloves, but increase if you love it. In a pinch, you can sub garlic powder.
- tomato sauce: just a small can of tomato sauce, low sodium if you can find it.
- tomato paste: one can of tomato paste to thicken your sauce and add extra flavor.
- veggie broth: if you aren’t looking for a vegan recipe, you can swap chicken broth. In a pinch, you can sub 1 3/4 cups water, too.
- maple syrup: if you are avoiding sugar completely, you can omit this, but just a small amount goes a long way! I like adding it at the end to fully control the amount that I end up using.
- chili powder, cumin, salt, and smoked paprika: my favorite sloppy joe spice blend!
- optional – gluten free vegan Worcestershire sauce or gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos: if you have this on hand, it just adds extra flavor to the dish.
How to Make Instant Pot Lentil Sloppy Joes
I love using a pressure cooker to cook lentils ever since making my Instant Pot Lentil Soup. And just like that soup recipe, this quick meal cooks in just 12 minutes, plus the time it takes to come to pressure.
- First, set your Instant Pot or pressure cooker to saute and heat oil (do this once the display on your Instant Pot reads hot).
- Next, add in your vegetables and saute until fragrant. Add in rinsed lentils, tomato sauce, broth, and tomato paste. Stir in spices and salt.
- Place lid on Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes.
- After cook time is over, do a quick release. After all the steam is released, stir in 1-2 tbsp maple syrup. Let lentil mixture sit for a few minutes, then taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve these vegetarian sloppy joes over baked sweet potatoes (my fave!) or over gluten-free buns. If you don’t need gluten free, you can also use whole wheat buns or hamburger buns.
- Store leftover lentil sloppy joe filling in an airtight container in your fridge for 3-4 days.
- This is a great recipe to make on a busy weekend or even for meal prep for lunch! In fact, I love to make a big batch of it and freeze in my souper cubes. This sloppy joe recipe will last in the freezer for 3-4 months and can easily be reheated stovetop or in the microwave.
Can I make this Vegan Lentil Sloppy Joe recipe in a slow cooker?
Yes! Just add everything into your crock pot and cook it on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
Is this sloppy joes recipe also gluten free?
It is! Just be sure you use a gluten free Worcestershire sauce if you choose to add that.
How do I count this Vegan Sloppy Joe recipe for the 4 Week Gut Protocol? What about the 21 Day Fix?
This is the perfect 4 Week Gut Protocol Recipe because it uses protein from the RED B list- aka lentils! But this is delicious no matter what plan you are on, honestly!
For the 4 Week Gut Protocol + Vegan Plan for the 21 Day Fix, you will eat 1 1/4 cups of these lentils for 1 1/2 GREEN, 1 RED B, and 1/2 tsp
For the 21 Day Fix, you will eat 3/4 cup for 1 YELLOW, 1 GREEN, and 1/3 tsp
Instant Pot Lentil Sloppy Joes
- 2 teaspoons olive or avocado oil
- 1 cup dry lentils rinsed well
- 3 carrots chopped
- 1 yellow onion chopped
- 1 large bell pepper chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 can tomato sauce 10-14 oz
- 6 oz tomato paste 1 can
- 1 ¼ cups vegetable broth
- 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1-2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- pinch smoked paprika
- 1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce or gluten free soy sauce/coconut aminos
- 3 Baked sweet potatoes for serving optional
- Set Instant Pot to saute and add 2 tsp of of oil once the display reads HOT. Add in onion, carrots and bell peppers. Stir together until fragrant. Add in garlic and stir one more minute.
- Add lentils, tomato sauce, broth, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste. Stir well. Add in spices and salt. Place lid on the Instant Pot, be sure the knob is set to sealing and set to manual/ pressure cook on high for 12 minutes.
- After cook time, do a quick release. After all the steam is released, stir in maple syrup. Let lentil mixture sit for a few minutes, then taste and adjust seasonings.
- Serve over your favorite gluten free bread or my fave – over Baked Sweet Potatoes.
- Add everything into your crock pot and cook it on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. If you have the ability to saute the veggies first, do it, but if you can't, it's ok!