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Perfect Vegan Sloppy Joes

Mouthwatering, delicious vegan sloppy joes are the perfect addition to your vegan sandwich collection! Look no further to satisfy your craving for comfort food, with a healthy, vegan twist.  

Vegan Sloppy Joe on a Board

Juicy, messy, but oh so delicious, sloppy joes have been a welcome classic that has both satisfied and brought many smiles to generations of hungry crowds. 

Who can say no to the savory goodness of a warm, toasted sandwich? To update this old-fashioned dish, I gave it a makeover to make it a whole lot healthier and happier.

All without losing its yummy sloppy joe charm.   

What I love the most about this vegetarian sloppy joe recipe is that not only is it a fantastic option for a quick and healthy meal, but it is also incredibly easy to make

Another great thing about this meal is that it’s a creative way of thinking about vegan sandwiches.

Too often they can be thought of as bland or dry, but not so with these vegetarian sloppy joes! No one should have to experience a sandwich rut, so spice up your menu with the best vegan sloppy joe you’ll ever have!

If you are looking for more vegan sandwich recipes, make sure to check my Mediterranean vegan bagels, vegan BLT tempeh sandwich and vegan pulled jackfruit sandwich. that are all part of my best vegan sandwiches collection.

Vegan Sloppy Joes with a Glass of Beer in the Background

Why This Recipe Works

These vegan sloppy joes are:

  • 100% plant-based
  • quick (30 minutes from scratch!)
  • smoky
  • savory
  • rich
  • satisfying
  • filling
  • easy
  • naturally sweetened
  • nutritious
  • comforting
  • budget-friendly
  • freezable
  • meal prep friendly

What are Vegan Sloppy Joes Made Of?

By replacing the typical ground beef with my favorite tempeh vegan meat recipe, this vegan sloppy joe recipe becomes an instant success.

Tempeh makes a great ground beef substitute for vegans thanks to its texture and soaking abilities.

It absorbs flavor and has the perfect amount of crumble and chewiness that makes it is as close as you can get to the real thing.   

Crumbled Tempeh in a White Bowl

Marinara sauce, smoked paprika and a handful of other ingredients paired with the very nutritious, fiber and protein-rich tempeh create a tantalizing smoky, rich, savory flavor.

Serve this medley of goodness on your favorite toasted bun and enjoy the very best tempeh sloppy joe.

Here is the list of ingredients you’ll need for these vegan sloppy joes:

  • onion
  • bell pepper
  • jalapeño
  • garlic
  • scallions
  • tempeh
  • marinara sauce
  • apple cider vinegar
  • maple syrup mustard
  • smoked paprika
  • garlic powder
  • hamburger buns
  • lettuce

Ingredients for Vegan Sloppy Joes

How to Make Vegan Sloppy Joes

To make this vegan sloppy joe recipe you will first need this tempeh vegan meat recipe.

Start off by heating olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ½ cup of diced onion and 1 cup of diced bell pepper.

Let this mixture sautée for about one to two minutes.

Next add jalapeño, garlic and scallions and cook for another minute. 

Finally, add your crumbled tempeh, water, marinara sauce, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, smoked paprika and garlic powder.

Cook for another 10 minutes, or until the water is mostly absorbed. Stir occasionally and enjoy the fragrance.

Season to your liking with salt and pepper.

Ingredients for Vegan Sloppy Joes Next To a Pan with Tempeh and Green Peppers

Grab your favorite type of bun, toast it, and serve it with hot sloppy joe filling. Top with lettuce, sliced onions and jalapeños for an extra kick of spiciness. Enjoy!

Vegan Sloppy Joes Filling in a Pan

How to Serve Vegan Sloppy Joes

Traditional sloppy joes are served in a toasted burger bun. I recommend adding sliced onions, lettuce and jalapeños.

Other options include sliced pickles, coleslaw or a slice of vegan cheddar.

You can also serve these vegan sloppy joes open faced on a slice of bread.

What sides to serve with vegetarian sloppy joes? Here are some vegan-friendly ideas:

Hand Holding a Vegan Tempeh Sloppy Joe

Cook’s Tips

  • To make the recipe even quicker, use a grinder to grind tempeh instead of crumbling it with your fingers.
  • If there are any leftovers, they will keep well in the fridge for up to three days.
  • Freeze this vegan sloppy joe filling for up to three months in your freezer. 
  • Perfect for batch cooking. Make a larger batch and freeze what you don’t eat for an even quicker meal in the future. 
  • To reheat, microwave or warm slowly on the stove. All you need to do is add a little water to restore the consistency.
  • For more creative recipe ideas check these 20 best tempeh recipes.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of eating vegetarian sloppy joes two days in a row, throw the filling in my favorite slow cooker vegan chili recipe.
  • Cut down on jalapeño to make your sloppy joes less spicy.
  • Use whole grain, gluten-free hamburger buns, ciabatta rolls or sliced bread as an alternative to normal buns.
  • You can skip sliced raw onions if they taste too overpowering to you.

Make sure to check the recipe video and the vegan sloppy joes recipe below for instructions. If you can’t see the video, disable your AdBlock by clicking on the AdBlock button and selecting Don’t run on this page.

 

If you like this recipe, please give it a 5-star rating! That means a lot to me!

Make sure to check my ultimate guide on how to cook tempeh that I put together and discover more delicious ways to cook tempeh!

Print
4.87 from 15 votes

Perfect Vegan Sloppy Joes

Mouthwatering, delicious vegan sloppy joes are the perfect addition to your vegan sandwich collection! Look no further to satisfy your craving for comfort food, with a healthy, vegan twist.  
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword tempeh sloppy joes, vegan sandwich, vegan sloppy joes, vegetarian sloppy joes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 323kcal
$5

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • ½ jalapeño finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 sprigs scallions chopped
  • 7 oz tempeh crumbled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 ½ cup marinara sauce
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the vegan sloppy joes:

  • 4 hamburger buns toasted
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • ½ jalapeño sliced, optional
  • 8 lettuce leaves

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and bell pepper and sautée for one or two minutes, then add jalapeño, garlic and scallions. Cook for 1 more minute.
  • Add crumbled tempeh, water, marinara sauce, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, smoked paprika and garlic powder. Let cook for 10 more minutes or until water is mostly adsorbed, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve the sloppy joes filling over toasted hamburger buns with lettuce, sliced onions and jalapeño for extra spiciness.

Notes

Nutritious information is calculated for one serving (including a bun).

Cook’s Tips

  • To make the recipe even quicker, use a grinder to grind tempeh instead of crumbling it with your fingers.
  • If there are any leftovers, they will keep well in the fridge for up to three days.
  • Freeze this vegan sloppy joe filling for up to three months in your freezer. 
  • Perfect for batch cooking. Make a larger batch and freeze what you don’t eat for an even quicker meal in the future. 
  • To reheat, microwave or warm slowly on the stove. All you need to do is add a little water to restore the consistency.
  • For more creative recipe ideas check these 20 best tempeh recipes

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of eating vegetarian sloppy joes two days in a row, throw the filling in my favorite slow cooker vegan chili recipe.
  • Cut down on jalapeño to make your sloppy joes less spicy.
  • Use whole grain, gluten-free hamburger buns, ciabatta rolls or sliced bread as an alternative to normal buns.
  • You can skip sliced raw onions if they taste too overpowering to you.

Equipment

frying pan
spatula

Nutrition

Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 1317mg | Potassium: 817mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 4406IU | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 184mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Follow @happykitchen.rocks on Instagram and show me the recipes you are making from my blog using the hashtag #happykitchenrocks!

Other Vegan Tempeh Recipes You’ll Love:

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Recipe Rating




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Katrina

Sunday 17th of October 2021

These were great and filling. A great use of Tempeh. I added extra mustard to mine. I would recommend!

Elena Szeliga

Sunday 17th of October 2021

Thanks so much for your feedback, Katrina! :)

Natalie

Monday 12th of August 2019

Can't believe this sloppy joes is vegan. Looks so good. So delicious. I never tried vegan version so now I definitely must give it a go. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

Elena Szeliga

Wednesday 14th of August 2019

You'll love it, Natalie! Thanks so much!

Claire | The Simple, Sweet Life

Monday 12th of August 2019

These sloppy joes look absolutely delicious. I never would have realized they were vegan just by looking at the photos. I'll definitely have to give these a try.

Elena Szeliga

Monday 12th of August 2019

Thank you, Claire! They were so good, you won't regret it ;)

Sharon

Monday 12th of August 2019

What a wonderful recipe to have on hand for visitors who are vegan, or just watching their meat consumption.

Elena Szeliga

Monday 12th of August 2019

Thank you, Sharon!

Leanne @ Crumb Top Baking

Monday 12th of August 2019

I haven't had sloppy joes in years! These look so hearty and flavourful! I bet you can't even tell they are vegan! I have never tried tempeh but this seems like a great recipe to try it out in!

Elena Szeliga

Monday 12th of August 2019

I'm sure you'll love them! That's right, you can't tell they are vegan!

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About Elena Szeliga

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Elena Szeliga is the founder of Happy Kitchen.Rocks, where she shares delicious and healthy vegetarian and vegan food, from weeknight dinners to veganized classics and gourmet appetizers. Her recipes have been featured at Better Homes & Gardens, BuzzFeed, Country Living, The Kitchn and Reader’s Digest. Her mission is to help cook easy vegetarian and vegan meals with simple and fresh ingredients. Read more about Elena.

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