Slow Cooker Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Vegetarian Sloppy Joe recipe with lentils & brown rice

This is a fairly easy super healthy vegetarian sloppy joe recipe for the slow cooker. Just throw all the ingredients into the large crock pot and it’ll feed a small army! Sloppy joes are kind of a family favorite. Who doesn’t like them? What I wanted to go for is a healthier vegetarian version. Easy to make. Filling. The only thing about this version is it is a slow cooker recipe so it can all be done in a crock pot but it does take time. You have to be a bit flexible when you make this and be willing to adjust this as you go. The main variables are adjusting the water as you go, so you end up with a very thick consistency. Also, feel free to season this using my recipe as the base, but slowly add a bit here and there to get it perfect for your tastes.


1 1/2 cups lentils
2 cups short grain brown rice
1 1/2 cups TVP (optional but good)
8-10 cups water
1/3 cup dried onion pieces
2 packs sloppy joe seasoning mix
2 tsp garlic powder
1 can tomato paste
6 tbls ketchup barbecue sauce to taste
sea salt to taste
whole wheat hamburger buns

1. SLOW COOKER: In a large slow cooker, add water, lentils, brown rice, tvp and dry seasonings and allow to cook on high for a few hours till the lentils and rice are very soft and the mixture thickens up. The water may need to be adjusted as the cooking progresses to ensure you have enough moisture to cook thoroughly.

2. SEASON: When all dry ingredients are soft and thickened to a consistency of sloppy joe mix, add bbq sauce, tomato paste and ketchup to taste. This is where you need to be creative and add slowly the bbq sauce to your tastes. Mix in thoroughly and serve on whole wheat hamburger buns.

Note: As in many of my recipes, I recommend being flexible with the amounts for this recipe. This makes a nice batch. As the ingredients cook in the slow crock pot cooker, keep stirring occasionally and check for needed water if the lentils and rice aren’t soft enough. This usually gets better if it cooks for several hours with the seasonings and the sauces. 

15 Responses to Slow Cooker Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

  1. six sisters says:

    These look mighty tasty!! We are so glad that you linked up to our “Strut Your Stuff Saturday”. Thanks for coming and we hope you’ll come back next week! -The Sisters

  2. Aleen says:

    This looks great! What is TVP?

    • admin says:

      TVP is a short name for Textured Vegetable Protein. You can buy it in many health food stores. It is a dried product made from soy beans. It is dried and looks like little pieces of dried flavored chunks… kind of like giant grape nuts or something. Kind of hard to explain unless you see it! What I like about it is that when you add it to meals, it becomes chewy and literally gives one the feeling that they are eating meat. Since it comes in small chunks, it works best in things like soups, stews, lasagna, things where one might use ground beaf or small chunks of chicken. You can actually buy it in either chicken or beef flavored. It stores well and is super easy to use. Just take desired amount and soak it in some water for about 15 minutes, then drain off excess water and add it to your recipe! It is pretty affordable… so you may want to give it a try! I don’t like to make whole dishes out of it, but rather add it to recipes along with brown rice, beans, etc… as more of an accent. But it really adds a lot of chewiness and such to recipes. I hope this helps.


  3. Meredith says:

    I just made the vegetarian sloppy joes and they were AWESOME. They really tasted just like regular sloppy joes. I cooked the beans and rice for about four hours until it was really thick, and it even had the same texture as regular sloppy joes. Thanks for the great recipe. This one’s a keeper!

  4. Mary says:

    My family tried these last night (without the TVP) and felt they were ok… Maybe it was because of the BBQ sauce we used. I like the vegetarian taco recipe more than this one, which is similar to this one.

    • admin says:

      You may want to try it with TVP, and experiment with BBQ sauces. The sauce makes all the difference. And TVP gives it a real chewy texture which has gone over very well. I encourage you to keep experimenting with your recipe, as it has been a real hit when I have made it for family and friends. Thanks for your input though! ~Curt

  5. Stephanie says:

    Great recipe but how much water do you need to add ?its not listed , thanks

  6. Molly says:

    Very yummy! Will this freeze well?

    • Curt says:

      Molly, that is a great question. I have never frozen it, but I do think it should work ok. My sense is that it would work. Great suggestion. If you try it, would you let us know? This recipe is ideal for making large batches, and if it worked well as a frozen meal then that would even make this a better recipe! We look forward to hearing back from you!

  7. ALTA says:

    How many does this serve. I want to try this for a group of 100 kids at a scout retreat.

  8. jill says:

    What do I use for ketchup BBQ sauce, is that ketchup and BBQ sauce? I’m having a BBQ and want to try these but I’m very unskilled

    • admin says:

      Yes, it is actually ketchup and BBQ sauce. Don’t stress about all of this, my suggestion is to season as you go. Have fun with it. You can always go a little lighter on the seasonings in the beginning and after it cooks a while and you can add toward the end as you taste it. One of the great lessons in cooking is to realize you can add a “pinch of this here and a dash of that there”. Peoples tastes differ – some like things spicier, some less spicy. It is better to ADD seasonings slowly and taste it – then if needed add a tad more than to dump too much of a seasoning in all at once. If you add too much you can’t take it out! 🙂 Have fun, experiment and enjoy the process. – Curt

  9. Amy says:

    Recently made this and my family loved it!! Even my teenage boys gave it rave reviews!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.