Healthy Sloppy Joes with Lentils


This version of Sloppy Joes ups the nutrition ante by swapping the meat for lentils, and adding in extra veggies. Adjust this recipe to how you prefer your Sloppy Joes--make them sweeter with additional molasses, spicier with additional chili powder, or tangier with additional mustard. Serve warm, with your favorite rolls or buns, and top with sliced red onion and fresh spinach or lettuce, if desired.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
40 mins
Additional Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 5 mins
6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped

  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained

  • 2 tablespoons molasses, or more to taste

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

  • 6 medium hamburger buns, split


  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened, 7 to 9 minutes. Season with chili powder, cumin, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper. Cook and stir for 30 seconds. Mix in tomato paste, and cook another 60 seconds, stirring constantly.

  2. Add water, diced tomatoes, and lentils, stirring to combine. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until lentils are tender, but not falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Mix in molasses, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, vinegar, and salt. Cook, uncovered, an additional 10 minutes, or until mixture has thickened slightly. Taste, and adjust seasonings as needed. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving on buns with desired toppings.

Cook's Note:

For additional flavor, the water may be substituted with low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

629 Calories
11g Fat
110g Carbs
23g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 629
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 2g 11%
Sodium 1236mg 54%
Total Carbohydrate 110g 40%
Dietary Fiber 11g 40%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 23g
Vitamin C 29mg 146%
Calcium 288mg 22%
Iron 9mg 48%
Potassium 1000mg 21%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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