December 8, 2022

Easy Vegan Recipes

Eat Vegan – Eat Well

Vegan Sloppy Joes

4 min read

Grab a couple cans of whatever beans you’ve got in the pantry, and whip up these easy and seriously tasty vegan sloppy Joes!

Close Up of a Vegan Sloppy Joe Sandwich

Some recipes are really tough to veganize. With others it can be done countless ways, and they all taste good.

Case in point: vegan sloppy Joes. You can use so many different ingredients to replace the meat! The sauce is the important part, and aside from that, all you need is some sloppy vegan food thing to put into your sauce.

For these sloppy Joes, you can use just about any can of beans you’ve got hanging around as your main ingredient. And since this is a two-can recipe, you can mix and match. Why not, it’s more fun that way?

So, lets talk about how these are made!

What You’ll Need

Vegan Sloppy Joe Sandwich with Onions and a Red Pot in the Background

  • Olive oil. Feel free to substitute another high-heat oil.
  • Onion.
  • Bell pepper. You only need one, and any color works! I usually go for red.
  • Carrot.
  • Garlic.
  • Beans. Black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, pintos, and/or brown lentils would all be awesome choices.
  • Water.
  • Tomato paste.
  • Red wine vinegar. Apple cider vinegar works as well!
  • Vegan Worcestershire sauce. Annie’s, Edward & Sons, and Whole Foods Brands are all vegan.
  • Soy sauce. Substitute gluten-free tamari for gluten-free sloppy Joes!
  • Brown sugar. Use organic to keep the recipe vegan.
  • Liquid smoke. You can leave this out if you’re not a fan.
  • Chili powder.
  • Salt & pepper.
  • Burger buns. Dave’s Killer Bread burger buns are my favorite!

How to Make Vegan Sloppy Joes

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll down if you’d like to skip right to the recipe!

Collage Showing Steps for Making Vegan Sloppy Joe

  1. Heat up some oil in a large pot, then add diced onion, pepper, carrot and garlic. Sweat the veggies for a few minutes until they begin to soften up.
  2. Now you can add almost everything else! A couple cans of beans (drained and rinsed), water, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, liquid smoke and chili powder. Stir everything together.
  3. Let the mixture simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, giving it a stir every so often. You can add a bit more water if it thickens up too much.
  4. The mixture is finished cooking when the sauce is thick and the veggies are soft.

Pot Filled with Vegan Sloppy Joe Filling with a Wooden Spoon

Stuff your vegan sloppy Joe filling into buns and pile on your choice of toppings. I like to use pickle slices and fried onions.

Vegan Sloppy Joe Sandwich with The Top Bun Partially Removed to Show Pickle Slices and Fried Onions

Vegan Sloppy Joe Tips & FAQ

  • Can this recipe be made gluten-free? Yup! Just substitute gluten-free tamari for soy sauce and use your favorite vegan and gluten-free burger buns.
  • The filling for these keeps well and can be made up to two days in advance. Store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
  • Adjust the seasonings to your taste! Not a fan of smoky flavor? Leave the liquid smoke out. Like a little heat? Add some cayenne pepper or hot sauce.
  • You can make this recipe with leftover beans if you’ve got some pre-cooked. I often make it with leftover lentils I’ve got hanging around. Whatever you use, just be sure to go with two 14 or 15 ounce cans, or about 3 and 3/4 cups.
  • Don’t feel like regular old sloppy Joe sandwiches? Switch things up and stuff the filling into a sweet potato or use it to top some fries or a vegan hot dog — store bought or homemade, like my carrot dogs, portobello dogs or marinated tofu franks.


Check out my video for extra guidance on how to make these vegan sloppy Joes!

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Close Up of a Vegan Sloppy Joe Sandwich

Vegan Sloppy Joes

Grab a couple cans of whatever beans you’ve got in the pantry, and whip up these easy and seriously tasty vegan sloppy Joes!

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 35 minutes

Servings 5

Calories 384 kcal

Author Alissa


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (14 ounce or 400 gram) cans beans, drained and rinsed, OR 3 3/4 cups precooked beans, whatever variety you’ve got (see note!)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar or turbinado or coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Serving

  • 5 burger buns, toasted
  • Onion slices, optional (I sautéed mine)
  • Dill pickle slices, optional


  1. Coat the bottom of a medium saucepan with oil and place it over medium heat. 

  2. Add the onion, pepper, carrot and garlic. Sweat the veggies for about 5 minutes, until the carrots and peppers begin to soften and the onions are very tender and translucent.

  3. Stir in the beans, 3/4 cup water, tomato paste, vinegar, Worchestersire sauce, soy sauce, sugar, liquid smoke and chili powder. 

  4. Raise the heat and bring the liquid to a boil. 

  5. Lower the heat and allow the mixture to simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is very thick and the veggies are tender, 15 to 20 minutes, adding a bit more water if needed during cooking. 

  6. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

  7. Stuff buns with bean mixture. Top with dill pickle slices and onion slices. Serve.

Recipe Notes

For the beans, use what you’ve got. Black beans, kindey beans, chickpeas, cannellini beans, great northern beans, pinto beans, navy beans, black-eyed peas and brown lentils are all great choices. Use two of the same thing, or mix it up!

Nutrition Facts

Vegan Sloppy Joes

Amount Per Serving

Calories 384 Calories from Fat 55

% Daily Value*

Fat 6.1g9%

Saturated Fat 1.1g6%

Sodium 954mg40%

Potassium 760mg22%

Carbohydrates 67.8g23%

Fiber 12.1g48%

Sugar 13.6g15%

Protein 16g32%

Calcium 100mg10%

Iron 5.8mg32%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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