Lentil Sloppy Joes

My grandmother always called Sloppy Joes “Manwich” because she used the Hunts brand sloppy joe sauce by that name. Growing up, though, I didn’t know that, and I always thought she was saying “Mamwich,” naming the meal after herself since nearly all of us grandkids called her “Mamaw.” Maybe she was saying mamwich…

Sloppy joes are one of those messy comfort foods that you just can’t give up. I’ve made homemade sloppy joes a few times with beef, but more and more I like trying various bean versions of sloppy joes. I dig these lentil sloppy joes because the texture is on point, and lentils are small so you don’t need to mash them.



Lentil Sloppy Joes

serves 6-8


  • 2 tablespoons, olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-4 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup, red (or green) lentils
  • 1, 28oz can tomato sauce (plain)
  • 4 tablespoons, tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1, 7oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (look in the Latino foods aisle)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey/agave)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • salt + pepper
  • 6-8 hamburger buns or deli rolls
  • toppings of your choice


1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Prep the chipotle peppers by removing 2-3 from the can and slicing them open to remove the seeds. Discard the seeds and dice the chipotle peppers.


2. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook for 5-6 minutes, until soft. Add the cumin and a little salt and pepper.

3. Add the diced chipotle peppers in adobo, lentils, tomato sauce, and tomato paste. Rinse the tomato sauce can, filling about 3/4 the way up and add that water to the pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more pepper and salt to taste. For a spicier sloppy joe, you could add in another chipotle pepper (I added a couple of extra to mine, but I like things REALLY spicy). Reserve the remaining chipotle peppers in adobo and freeze for a later use.

4. When the lentils are tender, add the maple syrup and vinegar. Adjust seasoning if necessary. The lentils should be thick, not watery. If they’re watery, cook a little longer to reduce the liquid.

5. Toast the buns and then serve, topping however you wish. I like avocado and pickled pepper rings.



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