A hearty, meatless dinner that your whole family will love. A quick, easy and healthy twist on classic Sloppy Joes.

Recipe created by Christine Pittman in partnership with Produce for Kids.

Quick and Healthy Vegetarian Sloppy Joes the Whole Family Will Love

Even if you love meat, I’m betting you will enjoy these vegetarian sloppy joes. My favorite thing about them is that they are both delicious and nutritious. Even my picky eaters love this recipe. Let’s dive in and discover how you can whip up this hearty, meatless meal in no time!

Why You’ve Got to Make These Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Health Benefits

Making this recipe allows you to enjoy a healthier version of the classic Sloppy Joes. By using lentils as the protein source instead of ground meat, you reduce saturated fat and cholesterol intake while increasing fiber and plant-based protein. Incorporating vegetables and pumpkin puree further boosts the nutritional value, providing essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Vegetarian/Vegan Option

If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, this recipe is a fantastic alternative to traditional meat-based Sloppy Joes. It offers a satisfying and flavorful option that aligns with your dietary preferences.

Family-Friendly Meal

The Vegetarian Sloppy Joes are designed to be enjoyed by the whole family. It’s an opportunity to introduce your loved ones to plant-based meals and show them that vegetarian dishes can be delicious, filling, and enjoyable. It’s a great way to encourage kids to eat more vegetables and expand their palate.

Quick and Easy

This recipe is perfect for busy moms or anyone looking for a quick and straightforward meal option. The preparation time is minimal, and the ingredients are easily accessible. You can have a nutritious dinner on the table in no time, making it ideal for hectic weeknights.


Lentils are an affordable source of protein compared to meat, making this recipe budget-friendly. It allows you to create a wholesome and satisfying meal without breaking the bank.


The Vegetarian Sloppy Joes can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Feel free to add extra vegetables, herbs, or spices to enhance the flavor profile. You can also serve it with various side dishes or toppings to create a personalized and exciting meal experience.

By making Vegetarian Sloppy Joes, you not only prioritize your family’s health but also embrace variety in your diet, promote sustainability, and enjoy the creativity of plant-based cooking.

Related: Check out even more vegetarian meal options here.

A Peek Inside the Healthy Ingredients

Here are the beneficial details on each of the ingredients used in Vegetarian Sloppy Joes:

1. Lentils: Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse. They are high in protein, making them an excellent plant-based protein source for vegetarians and vegans. Lentils are also rich in dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, helps maintain steady blood sugar levels, and promotes satiety. Additionally, lentils are packed with essential minerals like iron, folate, and magnesium, and they provide a good amount of B vitamins.

2. Mushrooms: Mushrooms are a low-calorie ingredient that adds a savory and meaty flavor to dishes. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins (such as riboflavin and niacin), selenium, and potassium. Mushrooms are also known for their immune-boosting properties and their potential to support heart health.

3. Red Bell Pepper: Red bell peppers are not only vibrant and delicious but also highly nutritious. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, providing more than 100% of the recommended daily intake per serving. Red bell peppers also contain vitamin A, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, and antioxidants that contribute to overall health and wellbeing.

4. Green Bell Pepper: Green bell peppers are similar to red bell peppers in terms of nutritional content but have a slightly different taste and texture. They are lower in calories and carbohydrates compared to the red variety. Green bell peppers are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and various antioxidants.

5. Garlic: Garlic is known for its distinct flavor and potential health benefits. It contains compounds like allicin, which have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Garlic is believed to have immune-boosting effects, promote heart health, and have anti-inflammatory properties.

6. Chili Powder: Chili powder is a blend of spices commonly used in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines. It typically includes ground chili peppers, cumin, garlic powder, and other spices. Chili powder adds a warm and slightly spicy flavor to dishes and may offer antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits due to the presence of certain compounds in chili peppers.

7. Dry Mustard: Dry mustard, also known as ground mustard, is made from grinding mustard seeds. It adds a tangy and slightly spicy flavor to recipes. Mustard seeds contain a compound called glucosinolate, which has been associated with potential anticancer properties. Dry mustard is also a source of antioxidants and can aid in digestion.

8. Worcestershire Sauce: Worcestershire sauce is a flavor enhancer that adds a savory, umami taste to dishes. While the exact ingredients may vary, it commonly includes vinegar, molasses, soy sauce, tamarind, and various spices. It provides depth of flavor and a hint of tanginess to the Vegetarian Sloppy Joes.

9. No-Salt-Added Ketchup: Ketchup is made from tomatoes and typically contains vinegar, sweeteners, and spices. Opting for no-salt-added ketchup allows you to control the sodium content in your dish. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant known for its potential to support heart health.

10. Pumpkin Puree: Pumpkin puree is made from cooked and blended pumpkin flesh. It is low in calories and fat but rich in fiber, vitamin A, and other beneficial nutrients. Vitamin A supports healthy vision, while fiber promotes digestion and helps maintain a feeling of fullness.

11. Whole Wheat Pitas: Whole wheat pitas are a healthier alternative to white refined bread. They are made from whole grain flour, which provides more fiber, vitamins, and minerals compared to refined grains. Whole wheat pitas contribute to sustained energy levels, and aid in digestion.

Related: Need some side dish ideas to pair with this recipe? Check these out.

Let’s make these Vegetarian Sloppy Joes!

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Amber Gray
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dairy Free
Servings 4


  • 3/4 cups uncooked lentils
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces mushrooms chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup no-salt-added ketchup
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 whole wheat pitas


  • Combine lentils and 5 cups of water into large pot, bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until 10-15 minutes, or until tender. Drain.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and peppers and cook stirring occasionally 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, chilli powder, mustard, Worcestershire, ketchup, pumpkin, salt, pepper and lentils. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Microwave pitas on HIGH for 20 seconds. Place filling on one half of each pita and fold in half.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!