These Indian-Spiced Sloppy Joes made with lentils are a flavorful vegetarian twist on a classic comfort meal.
Indian-Spiced Sloppy Joes are a quick-cook vegan comfort food, with curried lentils and vegetables. It’s hearty and filling, won’t heat up the kitchen in the summer, yet is warming enough for cool fall and winter nights.
What Ingredients Are In These Vegan Sloppy Joes?
Loosely based on Bombay Sloppy Joes, my vegan version uses lentils, potatoes, and cauliflower to create a complete, plant-based protein.
I’ve also taken some shortcuts to make it more family-friendly. Like skipping the raisins, which can be a polarizing ingredient for kids and adults, and using sweet and tangy mango chutney in its place. I’ve also kept the spiciness mild, with the option to add cayenne pepper for those who enjoy spicy curries.
How To Make Indian Spiced Sloppy Joes
To make the Sloppy Joe filling, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan until shimmering. Add the onion and salt and cook until onion is translucent, frequently stirring to prevent the onion from browning. Stir in the garlic, ginger, lentils, and curry powder, but don’t leave it unattended. The delicate ginger and garlic can easily burn, so you’ll want to stir them just until fragrant, which will be about 15 seconds.
Immediately add the vegetable stock, tomatoes, and potatoes, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce it to a simmer. Cover the pot, with the lid slightly ajar, for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
At this point, the potatoes and lentils are soft, so I like to lightly smash them with a potato masher or back of a large spoon. This releases more of the starch into the sauce, helping it to thicken, and also helps with the consistency of the Sloppy Joes, making them easier to eat. Don’t go crazy though. Just a few mashes will do the trick so that there is a good ratio of lightly mashed vegetables and whole vegetables in the pan.
Add the cauliflower (which would be overcooked if we added it earlier), stir that in, then cover and simmer for another five minutes. Remove the pan from heat and let that stand for about 10 minutes. This allows the lentils to absorb more liquid.
The recipe can be easily doubled, but you’ll need a Dutch oven or large pot to hold double the amount of lentils.
How To Serve
There’s plenty to go around for four people. I let everyone spoon as much of the Sloppy Joe mixture onto their bottom bun. The top bun gets a slathering of the mango chutney, which is an important, tangy component that helps balance out the curry. Squeeze a wedge of lime over the Sloppy Joe mixture and then add any toppings. I like mine with fresh cilantro, sliced tomato, and sliced red onion. Place the top bun on top of the Sloppy Joe mixture, and take a giant bite!
The Sloppy Joe filling can also be served over rice, couscous, and even zucchini noodles. Plus. it tastes even better the second day. If there are any leftovers, that is.
Want more great vegetarian and vegan recipes made with lentils? Check out TheCookful’s lentil series!Print
These Indian Spiced Sloppy Joes made with lentils are a flavorful vegetarian twist on a classic comfort meal.
Serve with additional toppings, like cilantro, red onion, and sliced tomatoes.
Listen to me explain briefly about how to make this Sloppy Joe, with some great tips along the way, by clicking the play button below:
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 and ¼ tsp. salt
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled, minced
- 2 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger
- ½ cup dried lentils, rinsed
- 2 tsp. curry powder*
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 and 1/4 cup crushed tomatoes with juice
- 1 large potato, peeled, diced ¼-inch
- ½ head cauliflower, florets separated into ¼-inch pieces
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- ½ cup mango chutney, divided
- 4 large hamburger-style buns (like potato or Kaiser)
- In a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent. Stir in garlic, ginger, lentils, and curry powder.
- Add vegetable stock, tomatoes, and potatoes; stir to combine. Bring to boiling, reduce to a simmer. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Lightly smash potatoes with a potato masher or back of large spoon.
- Add cauliflower. Cover and simmer 5 minutes more.
- Remove pan from heat. Let stand 10 minutes.
- To serve, spoon desired amount of Sloppy Joe mixture onto cut side of 1 bottom bun; squeeze lime wedge over the Sloppy Joe Mix. Slather 2 tablespoons of chutney on the cut side of 1 top bun. Place top bun on top of sloppy Joe mixture. Repeat with remaining buns.
*If you enjoy spicy foods, add ¼ tsp. of cayenne pepper with the curry powder.