The Sloppiest Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentil Sloppy Joe

There are so many recipes out there for lentil sloppy joes. All of the ones that I’ve tried are neither savory nor sloppy enough so I decided to take matters into my own hand. I adapted this vegan take on the traditional beef dish from a recipe published in 2005 in my hometown newspaper, The Hartford Courant. This is the best lentil sloppy joes that I’ve ever tasted. The traditional recipe calls for cabbage, which I do love, but I once found myself mid-recipe without cabbage so I substituted bok choi and it was incredible. The bok choi melts into the dish and really gives a smooth and almost creamy taste. I buy baby bok choi in packages of four, which yields about three cups finely shredded. This meal is packed with umami. It’s sweet, it’s sour, and it’s really sloppy.


  • 1 cup dried green or brown lentils. Do not use red lentils.
  • 2 cups of water or vegetable broth
  • 3 cups of finely shredded bok choi
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 celery rib, diced
  • 1/2 – 1 red pepper depending on size, diced
  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • Few dashes of freshly ground pepper


  1. Prepare your lentils: Rinse lentils very well. Place in small saucepan with vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until all of the liquid is gone.
  2. In large skillet, cook onion, bok choi, celery, and red pepper over medium heat until soft, translucent and most of the liquid is gone. Stir in lentils.
  3. Stir in ketchup and the last seven ingredients. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Spoon onto rolls, or on top of salad or rice. Serve hot!

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