Vegan Sloppy Joe Recipe

Move over traditional Sloppy Joe; this vegan sloppy joe recipe is a fast and easy dinner! The homemade sauce has a richer flavor and will have your family reaching for seconds!

Sloppy Joe on a bun with coleslaw.

I don’t know about you, but I grew up on sloppy joes. For my mid-western mom, they were a quick and easy dinner to make that all the kids loved. Years passed, and I forgot about sloppy joes until my husband reintroduced them into our lives. One bite, and I was transported back into time.

Now, vegan sloppy joes are our household’s regular dinner table staple. I have been playing with the sauce to develop a vegan version that tasted as good as I remembered—a tangy tomato sauce but also sweet. Over the years, I have perfected this recipe. Depending on what I have on hand, I use crumbles or pinto beans as the vegan meat alternative. I think they both taste great and work well with this recipe.

What I Love About This Recipe

  • A quick meal to make on weeknights
  • This vegan recipe uses pantry staples and no unique ingredients.
  • Sloppy Joes are fun to serve with tater tots for a 70’s nostalgic feel.
Finished sloppy joe filling in the pan.

How to Make Sloppy Joes

Ingredients

Below are the ingredients used in making this recipe. See the recipe card for the ingredients and amounts.

Ingredients used in making the recipe
  • Frozen Meat Crumbles: There are several brands on the market. I usually use Morning Star. Below, I have several less-processed meat alternatives.
  • Olive Oil: Is used to saute the veggies.
  • Yellow Onion: Add flavor and texture to this recipe.
  • Red, Yellow, or Green Bell Peppers: contribute a mild sweetness and crispness that complements the other textures. The yellow pepper, in particular, adds a pop of color.
  • Fresh Garlic Cloves: Use fresh garlic cloves to add a bit of spice to your Joes!
  • Tomato Sauce: Tomato sauce is the backbone of any sloppy joe mixture. Its rich tomato flavor creates a savory base.
  • Soy Sauce or Vegan Worcestershire Sauce: Provides depth and a hint of tangy sweetness to the recipe.
  • White Granulated Sugar: Sugar balances the acidity of the tomato sauce and creates a sweetness to the sauce.
  • Dijon Mustard: Dijon mustard adds complexity. Always look for a vegan mustard. Some are not.
  • Chili Powder and Smoked Paprika: Adds smoky notes to the sauce.
  • Vegan Burger Buns: Most buns are vegan; however, a few will have milk fat added in. Always read the label when buying a bun to ensure it is vegan.

Substitutions

  • Olive oil – instead, use any neutral oil or vegetable broth.
  • Yellow onion – use a white or sweet onion instead.
  • Fresh garlic cloves – use garlic powder and reduce by 3/4 of the written amount.
  • White granulated sugar – try coconut sugar to reduce the glycemic index

Instructions

Onions and orange bell peppers diced and in a pan.

Step One –

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a deep skillet or pan until the oil shimmers, about one minute. Add the diced onion, bell pepper, and minced garlic. Sauté until the vegetables become tender and the onion transparent, about 3-4 minutes.

Textured meat crumbles added to the saute pan.

Step Two –

Add the soy crumbles to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

Sauce ingredients added to the recipe.

Step Three –

Whisk together the tomato sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, dijon mustard, chili powder, smoked paprika salt, and pepper and add to the saute pan with the meat crumbles. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Step Four –

Toast the hamburger buns. Add a scoop of sloppy joe mix and serve with your favorite side.

Optional: add coleslaw for flavor and texture.

Meat Crumbles Alternatives

Are you looking for a less processed meat alternative? Try replacing the vegan meat crumbles with one of these suggestions at a 1:1 ratio.

  • Pinto Beans
  • Shredded Jackfruit
  • Green Lentils
  • Tempeh Crumbles
Sloppy Joe on a platter with fries.

What to Serve with Vegan Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joes taste great on their own, or you can add to them. Here are a few ideas for sides

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Store Leftover Sloppy Joes?

Refrigerator instructions – Place leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to four days.

Freezer instructions – Place leftovers in a freezer-safe container and store for up to one month.

How Do I Reheat Left Overs?

Saucepan – Add the desired amount to a small saucepan and reheat over low-medium heat. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water to loosen it up.

Microwave – reduce to 80% power and reheat in 30-second intervals until it reaches the desired temperature. Stir between each interval. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water to loosen it up.

How is this sauce different than Manwich?

This sloppy joe recipe is made with all-natural ingredients. Manwhich is a processed sauce that contains high fructose corn syrup and xantham gum.

Did you make this? Leave a comment below and let me know how it turned out. Or take a picture and tag me on Facebook.

Sloppy Joe on a bun with coleslaw.

Vegan Sloppy Joe Recipe

Move over traditional Sloppy Joe; this vegan sloppy joe recipe is a fast and easy dinner! Using natural ingredients, which are so much better than anything in a can, this plant-based version will have your family reaching for seconds!
5 from 2 votes
Print Rate
Course: Dinner, Main Meal
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 Sandwiches
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 small bell pepper diced
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 1 package (16 ounces) frozen veggie meat crumbles
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 hamburger buns

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a deep skillet or pan until the oil shimmers, about one minute. Add the diced onion, bell pepper, and minced garlic. Sauté until the vegetables become tender and the onion transparent, about 3-4 minutes.
    1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 small yellow onion, 1 small bell pepper, 2 cloves fresh garlic
  • Add the vegan meat crumbles to the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
    1 package (16 ounces) frozen veggie meat crumbles
  • Whisk together the tomato sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, dijon mustard, chili powder, smoked paprika salt, and peppers and add to the saute pan with the meat crumbles. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
    1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons soy sauce or vegan Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon chile powder, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, salt and pepper to taste
  • Toast the hamburger buns. Add a scoop of sloppy joe mix and serve with your favorite side.
    4 hamburger buns

Notes

How to Store Leftovers
Refrigerator instructions – Place leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to four days.
Freezer instructions – Place leftovers in a freezer-safe container and store for up to one month.
How to Reheat Leftovers
Saucepan – Add the desired amount to a small saucepan and reheat over low-medium heat. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water to loosen it up.
Microwave – reduce to 80% power and reheat in 30-second intervals until it reaches the desired temperature. Stir between each interval. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water to loosen it up.
Quick Cole Slaw Recipe: 
If you want to top your sloppy joe to look like the picture, use this quick and easy recipe.
  • 3cups green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 /2 cup carrots, shredded or julienned
  • DRESSING
  • 1/3  cup vegan mayo
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons blue agave or pure maple syrup
Mix the dressing and toss over the vegetables. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Sloppy Joe Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
337
Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
10
g
15
%
Sodium
 
750
mg
33
%
Carbohydrates
 
37
g
12
%
Fiber
 
7
g
29
%
Sugar
 
9
g
10
%
Protein
 
25
g
50
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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