Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes

By Maria Lichty

View RecipePin Recipe4.844
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes-Easy vegan and gluten free sloppy joes that are kid friendly. Serve on a bun or in lettuce wraps for a delicious meal!

Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes Recipe

In January, I shared a recipe for Cauliflower Bolognese and you guys ATE it up. Literally. So many of you have emailed me about how amazing the recipe is. I have also enjoyed seeing your pictures on Instagram. I am so happy you and your families are loving the Cauliflower Bolognese as much as I do.

I decided to try the cauliflower lentil combo again because it worked out so well in the bolognese sauce. This time, I made Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes and it’s another winner! You guys are going to love this one too.

Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes Recipe

Traditional sloppy joes are made with ground beef, onions, tomato sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, seasonings and served on a hamburger bun. It is a loose meat sandwich and usually pretty messy. I am guessing that is why they are called sloppy joes, but I really don’t know. Makes sense to me!

For my vegan version, I used cauliflower and lentils to get the same “meaty” texture. The flavor and texture was on point! I served the sloppy joes on whole wheat hamburger buns and they were a huge dinner hit at our house. Our boys gobbled them up!

Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes Recipe

If you don’t want to go the bun route, you could serve the sloppy joe filling on lettuce wraps, over spaghetti squash, or quinoa.

Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes Recipe

The sloppy joe filling freezes well so you can always put some away for later. I have some in the freezer and I am going to pull it out for dinner tonight. It is perfect for Meatless Monday! I think I will make our favorite Baked Garlic Parmesan Potato Wedges to go with. Is it dinner time yet?

Don’t be afraid to try these Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes, I promise they are a winner! All of my boys liked them, including Josh:) And make sure you try my Cauliflower Bolognese too!

Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes Recipe

Email Yourself This Recipe
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus, you’ll get NEW recipes from us every week!

Cauliflower Lentil Sloppy Joes

Kids and adults love these easy vegan and gluten free cauliflower lentil sloppy joes! They are great for lunch or dinner.
4.80 from 5 votes


  • 1 cup red lentils rinsed and picked over
  • 2 cups water
  • small head cauliflower
  • tablespoons olive oil
  • small yellow onion chopped
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper seeds removed and chopped
  • 1 celery stick diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced 
  • 15 oz cans crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup we use Annie's
  • 2 tablespoons  worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns


  • In a medium saucepan or pot, bring lentils and water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and let lentils cook for 18-20 minutes, just until lentils are tender. Drain water and set the lentils aside.
  • While the lentils are cooking, slice the cauliflower in half, removing the thick center core. Cut into large chunks.
  • Using a food processor, break up the cauliflower into small pieces. Pulse the cauliflower until it looks crumbly. Put cauliflower in a bowl. If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely chop the cauliflower into pieces.
  • In a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper, celery, carrot and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cauliflower to the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar, sugar, chili powder, ground mustard, smoked paprika, and cumin. Stir in the cooked lentils. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Cook on low for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
  • Serve the sloppy joe mixture on buns. You can also serve the sloppy joe mixture over spaghetti squash, quinoa, or make lettuce wraps.
  • Note-for vegan and gluten free-make sure you choose a worcestershire sauce that is vegan and gluten-free! The sloppy joe mixture will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for up to 1 month. You might have to add a little liquid to the mixture when you reheat it.

Have you tried this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag @twopeasandpod and hashtag it with #twopeasandtheirpod

Get the best of the best!
4 Recipes Guaranteed to be New Favorites


I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
Read More

Vegetarian Kid Friendly Gluten-Free Main Dishes 4th of July

4.80 from 5 votes (1 rating without comment)

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating


Leave a comment

  1. I’ve been directed to this page via my Wife who quoted “You NEED to check out these burgers!” Haha! I totally agree with her, we’ll give the recipe a try tonight and let you know how we get on. Thanks very much.

  2. I’m loving those vegan recipes! This sounds like a total winner to me – even though I can totally picture it being messy 😉

  3. As a vegetarian, I’m always on the lookout for new and innovative recipes and I absolutely love the way these sloppy Joe’s sound! Cauliflower is a favorite veggie of mine, so I’m always eager to add to recipes.

  4. Such a good idea!! Wondering if I can get my husband to love these, too 🙂 I recently made Cooking Light’s “mostly meatless” sloppy joes and he loved them!

  5. These look delicious and super satisfying! (And like something I could trick my kids into eating like it’s ground beef. )

  6. I loved your Cauliflower Bolognese! This is a great take on that recipe with a few yummy flavor boosts. I still have some of the Bolognese in the freezer. Thanks for all your awesome recipes!

  7. This reminds me of a Scooby-Doo burger, it’s so tall, haha! Looks and sounds delicious, thanks for sharing x

  8. These look great! Just make sure to use vegetarian/vegan friendly worcestershire sauce (Annie’s Organic makes a good one).

  9. I only have brown lentils at home now. Is there much difference in the taste of red lentils? I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with red lentils. 

    1. Brown will work too! I just use red to blend in with the tomatoes, but brown should be just fine! Enjoy!

  10. I need to try these! As a Midwestern girl, I was raised on sloppy Joe’s! Do you know much rice cauliflower do you get from the small head? Trader Joe’s bagged cauliflower rice is one of my most favorite convenience tricks, but I’d hate to use to much or too little and throw the recipe off. 

    1. I am guessing their bags have about a head of cauliflower, that would make sense to me:) So you can probably use one bag and be fine. I will have to try it!

  11. This recipe looks amazing but I don’t have a food processor, how else can I get the small pieces of cauliflower?  Can I use riced cauliflower? Thanks!

    1. You chop the cauliflower finely or I bet riced cauliflower would work. I haven’t tried it, but I will next time.

  12. I was so excited to try this recipe and hopeful that my picky daughter would go for it but mine turned out kind of watery 🙁 My husband and I both ate it and liked the flavor but it definitely didn’t seem quite right. Any thoughts on what I could have done to mess it up?? 

    1. Did you cook it long enough? Weird, I have never had it be watery, it is always pretty thick.

  13. 5 stars
    This recipe was one of the first recipes I tried when I became vegan several months ago. I loved and still love how simple it is, and how it’s so delicious at the same time! We always have a yield that is way, way larger than the one that is stated, so it feeds us for a while. We follow the recipe exactly and have never had any reason to change it, either. Thanks for sharing!!

  14. 5 stars
    So yummy! I also tried this after falling in love with the Cauliflower Bolognese. I didn’t have any celery or red bell pepper but followed ther recipe exactly aside from that. I loved the texture from the lentils. Thanks for another great recipe!

  15. 5 stars
    Made just as the directions state, and it tastes REALLY good! After cooking, I added about 1 tablespoon more worcestershire to make it a little richer tasting and about 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle chile powder for just a slight bit of additional warmth. I let it simmer on low for a few hours. Definitely a keeper recipe! Thank you!

  16. 5 stars
    These are super yummy! I love how healthy the filling is and my kids are eating a bunch of veggies without any complaint.