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Vegan Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Green Lentil Sloppy Joes

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My vegan black bean, sweet potato and green lentil sloppy Joes are a fun, tasty, nutritious family meal. A batch can be ready to enjoy in less than an hour.

Use the sloppy joe mix in place of a veggie or bean burger, and serve scooped onto a bread bun, with potato wedges and a side salad.

Sloppy joes are a perfect lazy, summer meal especially when you fancy a homemade burger but don’t have the time or energy to prepare them.

sloppy joe in bread bun, mixed salad, fork to side, red check background.

Many people in the UK may not have encountered a sloppy Joe before and may think of a sloppy joe as a type of jumper/sweater! I only discovered sloppy joes a few years and glad I did.

What is a Sloppy Joe?

Sloppy Joes are claimed to be invented during the 1930s, in Iowa, where a chef in Sioux City called Joe created a sandwich that had a filling of ”loose meat”.

During the 1940s sloppy Joes made appearances in many public eating places and soon became very popular. The term sloppy Joe also used to refer to fast food joints or ‘greasy spoons’.

In 1969 cans of sloppy Joe sauce named ‘Manwich’ were being produced and sold in the US.

Sloppy Joes are essentially ground beef cooked in a tomato based sauce. Often the sauce is BBQ flavour.

A family member described it as a ”collapsed burger” and I think that sums it up nicely!

close up of a bite of sloppy joe on a fork.

Vegan Sloppy Joes

Vegan sloppy Joes can be made with a variety of substitutions for the ground beef.

I have used the trio of black beans, sweet potatoes and green lentils as they are one of my favourite combinations and they just taste so good together. The green lentils and black beans can be substituted for vegan mince, tempeh or tofu pieces.

Vegan sloppy joes are a great source of plant-based nutrition especially iron.

Often people new to plant-based diets worry about how to get enough iron.

Plant-based meals that contain beans and lentils are fantastic sources of iron. A serving of my vegan sloppy joes packs in 3mg of iron which is a fair whack of your daily requirements!

The NHS recommend that per day males over the age of 18 need 8.7mg of iron, woman 18-50 years 14.8 mg, and woman over 50 years 8.7mg.

The Mayo clinic has a useful table which states the iron requirements for children aged between 7 months-18 years.

close up of sloppy joe on bread bun, with mustard streaks and vegan cheese.

Vitamin C and Iron the perfect plant-powered couple

Research has shown that consuming vitamin C rich food with iron rich food can help the bioavailability of the iron. Our body finds it easier to access the iron and absorb it when consumed with vitamin C rich foods.

It can be as easy as enjoying some fruit after an iron rich meal or serving vitamin C rich veggies alongside your meal. Homemade potato chips/wedges/fries have a good amount of vitamin C. So that’s a good excuse to eat chips.

As are broccoli, kale and Brussel sprouts great sources of vitamin C and delicious accompaniments to sloppy joes.

sloppy joe on metal tray with salad around and fork and knife.

Vegan Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Green Lentil Sloppy Joes

Print Recipe
Black beans, green lentils and sweet potato sloppy joes is a tasty, easy and quick meal that is perfect for a fun, summer family meal.
Each bite has big flavours of smoky and sweetness which tastes amazing with crispy lettuce and a soft bun/bread roll.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, British
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Servings 6
Calories 328
Author Jacq


  • Sauté pan/skillet


  • 200 g onion 1 large
  • 4 garlic cloves or 2-3 tsp garlic powder
  • 440 g sweet potatoes 2-3 small-medium sized. Chopped into bitesize chunks/diced.
  • 115 g celery 2-3 sticks
  • 1 can green lentils 400g/14oz can
  • 1 can black beans drained
  • 250 g passata
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp tamari or any soya sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce use a vegan brand. Alternatively use an extra tbsp of soya sauce.
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika or just paprika
  • 1 tsp dried cumin
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or soft brown sugar/your usual sweetener
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 500 ml vegetable stock extra if necessary.
  • 5 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes optional
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke optional

To serve:

  • 6 bread buns or roll.


  • Add all the ingredients to your pan, excluding the optional nutritional yeast and liquid smoke.
    Bring to the boil and lower the heat.
  • Simmer for 30-40 minutes until the mix is thick and veggies soft.
    Stir every now and again.
    If necessary add a little splash of extra veggie stock to prevent sticking to pan.
  • Give everything a wee mash with a potato masher.
    Keep some texture so don't mush it all up.
  • If using add the nutritional yeast flakes and liquid smoke.
    Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve heaped into bread rolls/buns.


  •  Nutritional data is for guidance only and is not a strict calculation as ingredients vary. Data is calculated using computerized nutrition apps.
  • To lower the sodium content of this recipe use reduced sodium veggie stock.
  • Leftover sloppy joes can be kept in the fridge, in a covered container, for 3 days.
  • Or in the freezer for 4-6 months. 
  • To reheat place in a pan, with a small amount of veggie stock or water just enough to loosen up, bring to a simmer, and heat for 2-3 minutes or until piping hot throughout. Or enjoy chilled straight from the fridge.


Calories: 328kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 818mg | Potassium: 947mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 11232IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 5mg

Sloppy joes recipe notes

  • Serve your sloppy Joes with your favourite sides. What would you normally have with a veggie burger? Some lettuce, cucumber, tomato slices, pickles are a nice addition to your roll/bun.
  • Vegan sloppy Joes will keep fresh in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze portions for a future speedy meal for those busy days.
  • Reheat until piping hot. Add a splash of water if the sloppy Joes have gotten too thick but not too much liquid!
  • Got leftovers? Try a sloppy Joe toastie. Add some plant-based cheese and toast until golden and melted. This is one of my sons favourite lunches.
  • Top leftovers with mashed potatoes and stick in the oven until piping hot and potatoes have browned. Some nutritional yeast sprinkled over the potatoes is extra tasty.
  • Use leftover sloppy Joes to top a carrot hotdog. Get my extra-tasty carrot hotdog recipe here. If you have never tried a carrot hotdog then suspend your scepticism and try them. They will surprise you.

Looking for more plant-based vegan meals?

For extra busy days stick yumminess in the form of cauliflower Tikka Masala into your slow cooker for a taste sensation.

For a quick but nutritious and super tasty lunch try my Vegan Chicken Noodle soup.

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