Slow Cooker Lentil Sloppy Joes

By Alexandra Caspero on March 4, 2019
Slow Cooker Lentil Sloppy Joes! These vegan lentil sloppy joes are perfect for busy weeknights. Place everything in the slow cooker and dinner is ready when you are.

How amazing do these sandwiches look? Lentil sloppy joes, made in the slow cooker. That means for evenings when it’s snowing (again) and you’re tired of cooking (again) you’ve got something that is healthy, hearty and perfect for the entire family.

You’d likely be surprised to know that I don’t love cooking all the time. I feel like that’s something that I’m not supposed to admit in public, but it’s true. I’m just as over being in the kitchen as you are most nights, which means my slow cooker is one of my favorite appliances. Especially this time of year.

All of the uncooked ingredients in a slow cooker

So, I’ve taken my favorite sloppy joe sandwich and turned it into a slow cooker version. This one is perfect for weeknights, but also for times when you have company over and you’re looking for a grazing meal.

Grazing meal = having food ready to go, so that people can grab a sandwich whenever they please.

Cooked sloppy joes made with lentils in a bowl

To take these above and beyond, I’m adding in a creamy slaw crunch on top. It’s the perfect mix of texture and flavor, a must for sloppy sandwiches. I find that I really need some kind of crunch and bright flavor whenever I eat food like this. Otherwise, it can get a bit mushy and bland.

Fellow crunch/texture obsessives, you’ll likely want to do what I do: pile on crispy pickles on top of the coleslaw for another layer of deliciousness.

Either way, these slow cooker sloppy joes are a must make for busy weeknights. Enjoy!

Fresh coleslaw made from scratch for the sloppy joes
Sloppy joes served with fresh coleslaw
Closeup of the sloppy lentil joes with coleslaw

If you make these slow cooker lentil sloppy joes, make sure to come back to leave a rating and a comment. Your feedback helps other readers and seeing you make my recipes makes my day!

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slow cooker sloppy joes

Slow Cooker Lentil Sloppy Joes

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 210 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: american, dinner, main, vegan
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Slow Cooker Lentil Sloppy Joes! These vegan lentil sloppy joes are perfect for busy weeknights. Place everything in the slow cooker and dinner is ready when you are.


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 210 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: american, dinner, main, vegan
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 210 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: american, dinner, main, vegan
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American
Scale

Ingredients

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes: 

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 1 (15 ounces) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Coleslaw ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt (or 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon celery seeds)
  • Fresh hamburger buns to assemble

Instructions

  1. Add all of the lentil sloppy joe ingredients (no coleslaw ingredients yet) into the slow cooker. Mix everything together until well combined.
  2. Cover and cook for 3 1/2 hours on high in your slow cooker (or Instant Pot set to Slow Cook.)
  3. Check the lentil sloppy joes every hour or so, adding more water if necessary.
  4. Once the lentil sloppy joes have started cooking, you can make the coleslaw by simply combining all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate. You can also make this just before the lentil sloppy joes are done but leaving it to set for a while makes the flavors come together wonderfully.
  5. Once the lentil sloppy joes are finished cooking, serve them on fresh hamburger buns, topped with coleslaw.

Notes

Storage: The lentil sloppy joes will keep well in the refrigerator for 4 – 5 days.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Katelyn
      December 7, 2020 AT 4:51 pm

      After absolutely adoring your recipe for slow cooker tikka masala, my husband and I were excited to try this. While the flavors were great, I don’t think this recipe had the consistency we wanted. The liquid never really cooked down (too watery) and the lentils were a little too al dente. I am continuing to cook it for another hour in the slow cooker before cooling it and putting it in the fridge and hoping it comes together for leftovers tomorrow.

      Will try another of your recipes!

      1. Alex
        December 9, 2020 AT 8:29 am

        Oh no! I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you– sometimes that happens with dried beans that are older (they never get soft enough) but I’m not sure if the same is true with lentils. I’ll restest this one and see if I need to adjust the portions.

    2. Ricka
      February 10, 2020 AT 6:00 pm

      Could you cook this on low for a longer period of time? I would love to start it before I go off to work.

      1. Alex
        February 11, 2020 AT 8:07 am

        Yes- that should work!

    3. mary
      January 31, 2020 AT 9:45 am

      Can green lentils be used?

      1. Alex
        January 31, 2020 AT 9:48 am

        Yes! French green lentils work great here.

    4. Kelly Hofferth
      October 1, 2019 AT 6:45 am

      So good and so easy! It’s pretty and you can serve large crowds easy with this one:) Thanks!

      1. Miles
        May 15, 2021 AT 5:58 pm

        How were you able to serve a large crowd? Did you triple up on all the ingredients? Quadruple? Really wondering. Was hoping to make this for a group. Thanks!

        1. Alex
          May 17, 2021 AT 11:34 am

          Hi Miles, I would assume it would work by doubling/tripling the ingredients. You may need to taste and adjust seasonings as needed– sometimes I find that flavors fall flat when you double/triple recipes.

      2. Alex
        October 1, 2019 AT 8:28 am

        So glad you liked it, thanks Kelly!

    5. Gina
      September 12, 2019 AT 11:49 am

      I made this yesterday for the family. I don’t eat sugar so I didn’t add it to the joes or the slaw. Really good. Next time I may double the spice. Maybe kick it up with some red pepper flakes. I’ll make it again. Family ate it all.

    6. Rosey
      March 16, 2019 AT 5:03 am

      We loved them! The slaw was a wonderful addition to the sloppy joe! Really great flavor combo! I’m all about the slow cooker these days!

    7. Rosey
      March 9, 2019 AT 1:03 pm

      HI! Would you recommend cooking these on high or low for 3.5 hours? Just wanted to clarify as on my slow cooker I have to choose one or the other. I assume “high”…

      1. Alex
        March 15, 2019 AT 8:20 am

        High! Thanks Rosey- let me know how they turned out for you.