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Vegan Sloppy Joes

Sharon Palmer

This healthier, plant-based (vegan) version of Sloppy Joes is something you and your whole family can feel good about eating any night of the week. In this recipe, I use black beans as my protein of choice to replace ground beef or turkey in traditional Sloppy Joes. Black beans are packed with not only 10% of your daily protein needs per serving, they contain other beneficial nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and phytochemicals, namely anthocyanins—the same health-protective compounds found in blueberries. And the tomatoes in this recipe gives you a lycopene antioxidant boost. To top it all off, these Sloppy Joes contain little of the “bad stuff” you’d find in other traditional versions of the recipe, like saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol.

Beyond nutrition, I love this classic Vegan Sloppy Joes recipe, because it is bursting with flavor, compliments of this rich sauce, filled with tomatoes, spices, onions, bell pepper, vinegar, molasses, and—of course, the black beans. I like to serve it on toasted whole grain buns, but it’s also good on rustic whole grain toast or simmered whole grains, such as quinoa, brown rice, or sorghum. You can also swap out black beans for a different type of pulse in this recipe, such as lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, or pinto beans.

Just combine this dish with a side salad, and you have a balanced meal. It’s great warmed up the next day, too. In fact, you can get dinner on the table in 20 minutes, thanks to this recipe. It will soon be one of your favorite classic meals in your household. Best of all, this is a super budget-friendly meal, and you can prepare it primarily with pantry staples, such as canned tomatoes and beans, dried spices, and onions.

Watch Sharon make this recipe in her Instagram Live Plant-Based Cooking Show here.

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Vegan Sloppy Joes

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(5 votes, average: 4.60 out of 5)

  • Author: The Plant-Powered Dietitian
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings  1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This classic, easy, economical recipe for Vegan Sloppy Joes relies on lentils, canned tomatoes, vegetables, and spices.



Sloppy Joes Filling:

Buns, Toppings:

  • 6 small whole wheat hamburger buns, toasted
  • Toppings of your choice (optional): i.e., cilantro, parsley, pickles, green onions, sauerkraut, avocado, plant-based cheese, plant-based sour cream, plant-based ranch dressing


  1. To Make Sloppy Joes Filling: Heat olive oil in a skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion, bell pepper,and garlic for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin, and red chili flakes and sauté for another minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, molasses (or maple syrup), and vinegar to the mixture.
  4. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the mixture is thickened.
  5. While the Sloppy Joes filling is cooking, toast the whole wheat buns until golden brown. Prepare toppings, as desired.
  6. To assemble, pour about 2/3 cup sloppy joe mixture over each bun. Garnish with toppings as desired.
  7. Makes about 4 cups Sloppy Joe Filling.


May substitute another type of pulse for black beans, such as kidney, pinto, lentils, or chickpeas. May serve over cooked whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, farro, or sorghum instead of the bun.

To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free buns.

  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 301
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Sodium: 263 mg
  • Fat: 4.5 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 54 g
  • Fiber: 10 g
  • Protein: 13 g

Keywords: sloppy joes, dinner, easy dinner, family meal

To look for other easy, plant-based sandwich recipes, check out some of my favorites:

Chipotle Black Bean Quinoa Veggie Burgers
Vegan BLTA Sandwich
Greek Chickpea and Vegetable Filled Pitas

Learn about the health benefits of black beans at The Plant-Powered Dietitian.

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