Blog Post

Lentil Sloppy Joe Recipe

So, a few weeks ago we went camping (bear with me, my lentil sloppy joe recipe is relevant here). I had many camping trips during my years in the UK, most of them ending soggy and muddy. I thought I was done with camping, but moving to Canada has caused me to revaluate. Not least because the summer weather is more predictable and the whole trailer/campervan culture promises the utopia of camping upright, as opposed to endless hours being hunched over in a tent (on your bed!) to get anything done. Since I am an obsessive tidier (I wouldn’t recommend it), this is a deal-breaker for me.

Now, the experience is always awesome and when you are there you are filled with such a sense of enjoyment and calm. I can’t put my finger on precisely why this is, but I know that being surrounded by nature, away from technology, separated from to-do lists and sitting around a fire talking, with nowhere to go and nothing to do but be present in the now, are all individually so beneficial to our psyche. The power of them all together well, wow! The organizational madness and stress on either side of a camping trip is another matter, but funnily enough, it always seems to have been worth it when you return home.

Lentil Sloppy Joe

“Why Julia,” I hear you asking, “are you rambling on about camping when I landed here for your delicious lentil sloppy joe recipe?”. Well, for this trip (and definitely for future trips) I decided to prepare the first night’s meal ahead of time. I wanted something I could freeze and then just pop onto the fire when we got there, something that we could all assemble around the camp table because I feel food assembly (think s’mores!) is also part of the camping experience. Enter, lentil sloppy joes.

This lentil sloppy joe recipe is all about the lentils. Lentils are such a staple in my house – they are extremely adaptable, so quick and easy to prepare.

A great source of protein and they absorb flavour well too. Lentil dishes are also brilliant to make ahead, as they keep. In fact, I prefer to make this a few days before and give the flavours more time to really develop. Having said that, this dish also comes together in a flash, so for that mid-week, last minute, store cupboard supper it’s a winner.


Brioche? Traditional burger? Sliders? Wholemeal? Honestly, I would say use whichever you prefer. Now, I know that I should be recommending wholemeal and if this is how you usually enjoy your sloppy joes then go for it, but for me, it’s white all the way when it comes to this dish. For us, I use fresh Kaiser buns baked by a German bakery down the road from me.

Make sure that you do check the ingredients when you buy buns. Bread is generally made with flour, water, yeast, and salt, but commercially produced bread products can contain all sorts of toxic ingredients and preservatives. It’s always best to source a local baker or (a-hem!) bake your own. I would love to say that I bake the buns fresh myself, but bread is not my forte’. I have friends who regularly rustle up burger buns weekly and although it’s a skill I’d love to add to my cooking repertoire, it’ll have to wait. Watch this space though.


I love to enrich my sloppy joe meal with extras. This not only broadens my nutrient intake, but also adds further flavour dimensions and textures to the meal. My regular extras include:

  • Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Chilli flakes (I don’t make my dish too spicy because my daughter struggles with this, so the chilli is for the boys to hot it up)
  • My broccoli slaw (coleslaw is the ultimate accompaniment to this – flavour and texture-wise)
  • Pickled zucchini or onions
  • Soured cream (if I have made it spicy)
  • Corn-on-the-cob

I would love to hear what you enjoy with sloppy joes and if you try this sloppy joe recipe, please pop a comment below and let me know what you thought.

If you enjoy lentils, try my simple lentil curry recipe.


Lentil Sloppy Joe Recipe

This is lentil sloppy joe recipe is so quick and simple to throw together. Smokey, hearty and with a hint of spice, this is sure to become a family favourite.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Category: Dinner


  •  2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • ½1 teaspoon chilli powder (add more if you like your chilli hot)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
  • 1 teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree’
  • 1 cup green lentils, rinsed in a sieve
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (use beef or chicken, if you prefer)
  • 398ml can tomato sauce (or passata)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire Sauce (or 1 teaspoon soy and 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce as a vegan option OR just plain Worcestershire Sauce if you’re not vegetarian)
  • Sea salt and black pepper


  1. In a 5- or 6-quart pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until it begins to soften.
  2. Add the garlic and red pepper, give it a swirl and saute’ for a further minute.
  3. Add the chilli powder, paprika and cumin and fry over low heat for 2 minutes. Add the tomato puree and mix well.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  5. Bring to a rapid simmer and then lower the heat to a steady simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, until the lentils are tender.*
  6. Remove from the hob and allow to sit for 10 – 15 minutes, before serving.
  7. Serve with fresh buns, broccoli slaw, shredded cheddar and other extras mentioned in the blog


  • *Check on the liquid levels after 25-30 minutes, as sometimes lentils can absorb water more or less rapidly. Give a light stir and if it’s looking a bit dry, add more liquid. If it’s looking very watery then continue to cook, with the lid off.
  • This is a great recipe to make ahead, freeze in the pot and then just pop out to defrost and heat up when ready (perfect for the first night of camping meal – make sure you use a Dutch oven or other flameproof pot)
  • Can keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Did you enjoy this recipe?

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