These Vegan Sloppy Joes are an ode to a food memory. Growing up on “Manwich” style sloppy joes, it was a weekly staple offered at our lunch cafeteria. Lunch lady, I do thank you, it was a fond memory paired with canned green beans and fries, but I think bigger and better, and quite frankly, easier than the Manwich-style sloppy joes. These McDaniel Short-Cut Recipe transforms red lentils into a hearty weeknight dish with grade A nutrition and flavor.

vegan sloppy joes on a white plate

Health Benefits of Lentils

Red lentils are not only packed with nutrient-dense calories, they’re just the perfect staple for a quick, round-up dinner. Red lentils are among the cost-effective legumes, with lower amounts of fat and sodium, higher amounts of fiber , folate, and antioxidants compared to other beans. (1). They’re an all-around perfect plant-based protein to add in your kitchen.

Why It’s a Short-Cut

Compared to other dried legumes, red lentils take the least amount of time to prepare. This Vegan Sloppy Joes comes together in  under 20 minutes. The key for this lentil-based McDaniel Short-Cut is going to be your maple syrup and mustard. Be sure to let that sit in your lentil-based meal so the flavors can immerse. The aroma of  your kitchen will have your family seated and ready for this McDaniel Short-Cut that’s prepared in no time.
Check out last week’s McDaniel Short-Cut Recipe: Peanutty Noodle Bowls

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vegan sloppy joes on a white plate

Vegan Sloppy Joes

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  • Author: Jennifer McDaniel


  • 1 c. uncooked red lentils
  • 4 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 2 T. maple syrup
  • 1 T. yellow mustard
  • 12 mini pretzel buns


  1. Rinse lentils in a colander.
  2. Put the lentils in a small sauce pot and add vegetable broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until lentils are soft.
  3. While lentils cook, in a medium sauce pan, sauté onion, pepper and garlic. Add the cooked lentils, chili powder and salt and combine.
  4. Add the tomato sauce , mustard and syrup. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Once slightly cooled, fill whole-wheat buns/pretzel buns with mixture.
  6. Additional toppings: Pickles, avocado, or slaw.


  • Serving Size: 1 Sloppy Joe
  • Calories: 190
  • Sugar: 3.4 g
  • Sodium: 654 mg
  • Fat: 1.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.3 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 37.4 g
  • Fiber: 3.5 g
  • Protein: 7.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg