Smoky Vegan Sloppy Joes with Cajun Spices. Easy Red Lentil Carrot Zucchini Sloppy mix. Serve between soft buns, dinner rolls, pita pockets or tacos. Vegan Nut-free Recipe. Soy free option. Easily Gluten-free.
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These sloppy joes are 1 Pot, easy and amazingly delicious. I use Red lentils in this recipe as they are less earthy than whole brown lentils and also cook faster. If you cook them in parallel the meal is ready within 30 minutes!
The sloppy lentils are also very versatile. Use them to make taquitos, tacos, wraps, fill up pita pockets, grilled quesadillas or sandwiches, or fill up baked potatoes for a taco baked potato and dress with salsa and vegan sour cream. Many options!
For texture I use shredded zucchini and carrots that add volume and texture to the mix. You can also use some shredded sweet potato or other vegetables. Shredded veggies make a great filling for tacos or wraps, exhibit 1 (pulled Butternut tacos, I had forgotten how these were), shredded sweet potato or carrot bbq sandwiches.
Flavors from paprika, loads of it, herbs and spices, tomato paste and sauces make this a deeply flavorful meal! The sandwiches get pretty sloppy, so I often serve these as wraps with fresh salsa or shredded cabbage or greens. The mix is great both warm and cold. The mix can also be served as a stew. Add some more water of broth and simmer. For a heartier meal, add in some crumbled tempeh with the lentils.
More Lentil Recipes used in ways other than dal.
- Red Lentil Tortilla Soup
- Lentils and Veggies in Peanut Sauce.
- Turkish lentil soup,
- Chipotle Lentil Tomato Sauce with Ziti
- African Inspired Peanut Lentil Soup
- Moroccan lentil soup
I use the spices from my Cajun spice blend with the lentils. You can sub the spices with a tbsp or more of premade blends like cajun blend, chili powder blend, taco seasoning, jamaican jerk seasoning or garam masala. Lots of flavor variations! You will want to make a double, triple batch and freeze it.
Smoked paprika can vary in heat, so use to preference or use in combination with sweet paprika if unsure about the heat. If you make these messy tasty sloppy joes, do let me know in the comments how they turned out, and please rate the recipe!
Cook the lentils to al dente.
Shred the carrots and zucchini.
Cook the onion and garlic. Then cook carrots and zucchini for a few minutes, fold in the spices, sauces and mix in. Add in the lentils.
Simmer until not too wet.
Add generous helping to toasted buns, wraps or a bowl. Serve with pico de gallo or onion, slaw or greens, cilantro and a dash of lemon and black pepper.
- 3/4 cup red lentils quick cooking re/orange/pink lentils, masoor dal
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 1 small green bell pepper chopped
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 medium zucchini shredded
- 2 tsp smoked paprika or use half sweet and half smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp or more cayenne I use about 1/2 tsp
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 to 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp chipotle pepper or cumin for smokier flavor optional and a good pinch of allspice (optional)
- 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce or use 2 tsp soy sauce (coconut aminos for soyfree, 1 tsp apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tsp tamarind paste, 1 tsp molasses and sugar to taste)
- 3 oz tomato paste
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 3/4 tsp salt
- sugar or maple if needed
- a dash of lemon
- Other flavor additions: 1 to 2 tsp soy sauce or bbq sauce, or hot sauce
- Soft Dinner Rolls or Burger Buns or use gluten-free tortillas
- lettuce or greens
- sliced onions or coleslaw
In a saucepan, combine washed and drained red lentils, water and a good pinch of salt and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until golden. I usually use a processor to process the onion and bell pepper then transfer to a bowl and process carrots and zucchini and keep ready.
Add the onion and bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the shredded carrots, zucchini, the spices and a good dash of salt and black pepper. Cook for 3 to 6 minutes, depending on moisture content of the veggies.
Add the lentils, spices+herbs, Worcestershire, tomato paste, ketchup, salt and mix in well. Cook for a minute. Taste and adjust salt, heat and flavor. Add maple for sweetness, lemon for tang. cover and let cook for another minute or longer until the mixture is not too wet. Take off heat and let sit for another few minutes before serving.
Prep the buns or tortillas by toasting, layer some greens, the sloppy mix, onions or other crunchy veggies and serve! I love those with fresh pico de gallo and crunchy lettuce or cabbage.
Use 1 tbsp or more cajun spice blend or chili powder blend instead of the spices and herbs. taste and adjust.
Tip: Some paprika can be overly earthy in flavor. use 1 to 1.5 tsp to begin with and omit the cumin. I use a combination of sweet and smoked paprika to balance the flavor.
Nutrition Values are 1 of 4 serves of the Lentil Veggie Sloppy Mix. Does not include buns/tortillas.