Vegetarian Sloppy Joes are made in the Instant Pot with lentils and a zesty sauce and piled high onto buns for a flavorful meatless meal the whole family will love.
Instant Pot Lentil Sloppy Joes are a tasty, family-friendly sandich…and you won’t even miss the meat.
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We love meat in my house, but that doesn’t mean we need to eat meat as a main dish for every meal. I am always on the hunt for meatless meals that we can add into the mix.
If you’ve been around here before, you know that we are big fans of Sloppy Joes. They’re super flavorful, easy to make, and there are different varieties to enjoy.
Needless to say, Sloppy Joes are a regular on our menu. So I decided to use my homemade sloppy joe sauce to make a meatless version with some lentils!
Instant Pot lentil Sloppy Joes cook up quickly. I can make them along with a side dish and get dinner on the table fast. Then check out my list of what to serve with sloppy joes?
More Sloppy Joe Recipes You’ll Love
What’s To Love About Vegetarian Sloppy Joes?
First, it’s important to understand that these are vegetarian sloppy joes. They are not vegan.
My recipe calls for Worcestershire sauce which contains anchovies, so it’s not a vegan ingredient. I also like to use chicken broth or beef broth for the liquid as it adds some more flavor to the dish.
If you want to make this meal vegan, you would need to leave out the Worcestershire sauce (or use a vegan variety) and use either water or vegetable broth.
So what do we love about vegetarian Sloppy Joes?
- Quick Cooking – This recipe is done in a flash and the prep work is really easy. Just chop, dump and cook. Lentils cook quickly in the Instant Pot, making this dish easier for a busy weeknight!
- Inexpensive and Pantry Friendly – Lentils are super inexpensive and can be stored in your pantry for an extended period of time. You likely have all of the rest of the ingredients on hand as well, so this is the perfect recipe for when you need to make a grocery run and haven’t found the time.
- Hearty – Lentils are loaded with protein and fiber, so they are very hearty and filling.
- Freezer Friendly – Store cooked lentil sloppy joe filling in a freezer bag for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat and serve.
How to Make Vegetarian Sloppy Joes in the Instant Pot
It’s really easy to make Instant Pot Lentil Sloppy Joes. Here’s how to do it!
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- Olive Oil
- Bell Pepper
- Black Pepper
- Dried Lentils
- Yellow Mustard
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Chili Powder
- Red Pepper Flakes (optional, for a little heat)
- Brown Sugar
- Water or Broth
How to Make It:
(Full printable recipe is available below)
Sauté the Veggies. First, you’ll sauté the onions, carrots, and bell peppers in a bit of olive oil until the onions are just tender.
Add Lentil. Next, you’ll toss in the garlic, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Pour in the water or broth, then add the lentils. Stir to make sure the lentils are covered in liquid.
Prepare the Sauce. Next, you’ll combine the ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire, chili powder, red pepper flakes and brown sugar to make the sweet and spicy sloppy joe sauce. The brown sugar is optional–you can leave it out if you don’t want your sauce to have a hint of sweetness.
Cook the Lentils. Last, you’ll combine everything and seal the Instant Pot. Select a cook time of 10 minutes at high pressure for firmer lentils, or 15 minutes at high pressure for softer lentils.
Allow for a natural pressure release before serving on buns, or you can also spoon the filling over rice or noodles.
Notes and Adaptations:
- I used brown lentils in this recipe, but you can use green lentils if you prefer. Both green and brown lentils will hold their shape really well. I wouldn’t recommend using red lentils, as they tend to disintegrate more during cooking.
- Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onions
- 1/2 cup diced carrots
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 1 TBSP minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup dried lentils
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 1/2 TBSP yellow mustard
- 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, for a little heat)
- 2 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cup water or broth
- Add olive oil to the insert pot of the Instant Pot. Use the Saute function to heat the oil, then add onions, carrots, and bell peppers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to soften.
- Press Cancel to turn off the Saute function. Add minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.
- Add water or broth to the insert pot, followed by the lentils. Stir to ensure the lentils are covered with liquid.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, red pepper flakes (if using), and brown sugar. Whisk to combine, then pour this on top of the mixture in the insert pot. Do not stir.
- Close the lid and set the vent to the sealed position. Select a cook time of 10 minutes at high pressure for firmer lentils, or 15 minutes at high pressure for softer lentils.
- Once the cook time is complete, allow a natural release of pressure. If you're in a hurry, you can allow a 5 minute natural release followed by a quick release of remaining pressure.
- Serve on buns or rolls or over rice or noodles.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 173Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 606mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 4gSugar: 15gProtein: 5g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is not guaranteed for accuracy.
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