Sargent Choice Test Kitchen: Plant-Based Sloppy Joes

Sargent Choice Plant-Based Sloppy Joes

January 24, 2023

Tessa Paget-Brown, Dietetic Intern

Why We Chose This Recipe

  • This recipe is a fun, plant-based take on an American classic! It is a quick and delicious way to incorporate protein and fiber into a meal. You can make this recipe to enjoy with others, or make a batch to reheat for meals throughout the week!

Recipe adapted from The Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 large yellow onion
  • ¼ cup cooking oil (olive, avocado, canola)
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • ½ cup tomato paste or ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 whole-grain burger buns


  1. Coarsely chop 1 large yellow onion into small, bite-size pieces.
  2. In a large pan, heat oil over medium. Season the onion with salt and add to cook (stir infrequently), 5 to 7 minutes. Add chili powder and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon soy sauce and stir, scraping up browned bits, until nearly evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add 4 cups water, red lentils, tomato paste/ketchup, Dijon mustard, dark brown sugar, low-sodium soy sauce, and ground black pepper. Season with a pinch of salt.
  4. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring to unstick any lentils, until the lentils are tender and start to fall apart, 20 to 25 minutes. Simmer longer to thicken, add water if lentils are undercooked or dry.
  5. Once the lentils are cooked, add in the cooked onion and sir until well mixed.
  6. Serve on toasted burger buns or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

What We Liked

  • We topped the Sloppy Joes with sliced pickled pepperoncini to add an extra kick.
  • The onions can be kept separate from the lentils and used as an optional topping.
  • Even people who don’t normally like plant based dishes enjoyed these tasty lentils!


    • To complete the meal, serve with a simple side salad of dressed greens or other favorite vegetable. Add cheese if desired.

    Nutritional Value

    • Lentils are a great source of protein, which can help us feel full and satisfied for longer periods of time.
    • Lentils are also a great source of fiber! Fiber supports digestion and supports heart health because having a diet high in fiber-rich foods it may help to lower cholesterol.