The other day I read a post from a blogger with a list of reasons why they didn’t like the Instant Pot. Chief among them was the fact that something billed as a 15 minute recipe actually takes much longer than that, because you have to allow for the pressure to build, and in many cases, to release naturally, which also takes time. In the end this person decided to pass their IP on to someone else, which of course was their prerogative (cue Bobby Brown song).
So, I’m going to be up-front about something right here, right now. This recipe for Instant Pot Vegan Sloppy Joes (that’s a mouthful) has a cooking time of 13 minutes, but it will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure, and about 25 minutes for the pressure to release naturally when the cooking time is up. So, it’s about an hour-long recipe when it’s all said and done. But, friends, the majority of that hour requires NO ATTENTION FROM YOU. Zero. No monitoring the stove, no staying in the kitchen at all, for that matter. Go for a walk. Read a book. Do some dishes (that is SO not what I would do, but I should). Anyway…I’m sure the pros and cons of the Instant Pot could be debated all the live long day, but for me, the pros highly outweigh the cons. Here we go!
Ok, here’s a weird question. Do you like the ingredient photos in my posts? I love doing them, but they’re more for looks than anything else, since no one besides me would artfully lay out their lentils just so in order to show that they are part of a recipe. And I’ll probably keep doing them no matter what, but I was just curious if anyone else actually likes them. I have issues.
Getting these Sloppy Joes ready to cook is a snap – quickly chop some onions and bell peppers, and measure out the lentils and seasonings. The recipe calls for things that will most likely already be in your pantry, because I want to make your life easier. You’re welcome. Then you just saute onions and peppers in the Instant Pot, stir in the lentils, seasonings and liquid, lock the lid, set the timer, and wait.
If you are super prepared and already have some Vegan Ground Beef on hand, stir it in after you unlock the lid and let it simmer for for couple of minutes before serving. It’ll add that ground beefy texture and some extra nutrition and no one will be the wiser. This is a perfect thing to serve to carnivores, because they won’t believe you when you tell them there is no meat. If you’re not super prepared (like me) you can make it while the Sloppy Joes are cooking and freeze the extra to use later (there will be lots). Whether you add it or not, these are super tasty and filling.
For fun, I plated these with red bell pepper “fries”, because I think we can all agree that Sloppy Joes are of the brown and ugly food variety. But it also made me feel healthier too, so there’s that. 🙂 My other favorite thing to do is top them with Vegan Southwestern Coleslaw, because HELLO, creamycrunchspicy deliciousness. Or serve some Vegan Southwestern Potato Salad on the side. I totally want it to be summer already. Watermelon…fresh tomatoes from the garden…GAH. I can’t think about it anymore.
So, friends, pull out your Instant Pot or other pressure cooker and whip up these tasty plant-based Sloppy Joes! They are worth the effort, in my oh so humble opinion. Oh and it freezes well too, in case you have extra. And when you make em’, leave me a comment here a or tag @eatwithinyourmeans/#eatwithinyourmeans on Instagram. Sharing is caring, dontcha know. 😉
Instant Pot Vegan Sloppy Joes
- 1 cup green/brown lentils
- 1 cup red lentils
- 3 cups water
- 28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes (I love the Muir Glen Fire Roasted variety)
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons Vegan Worcestershire sauce (I love The Wizard’s brand or Annie’s Naturals)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 1 sweet bell pepper or poblano pepper (chopped)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil or grapeseed oil (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
- 1 cup Vegan Ground Beef (optional)
- Sauté onion, salt, and bell pepper for 3 minutes.
- Add cumin and oregano and cook for 1 minute.
- Add tomato paste and stir to coat and cook for another minute or two.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir throughly, making sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot.
- Bring to high pressure and cook for 13 minutes.
- Allow for a natural release, stir, and serve over toasted hamburger buns.
- Optional: Stir in 1 cup of vegan ground beef after pressure is released and simmer on sauté function before serving.
Heads up, these nutrition facts don’t include the bun or any additional toppings. They are based on 1/8 of the recipe, about 1 cup.
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I appreciate you giving actual cooking time rather than the “it only takes 13 minutes!” version. That was one of the most disappointing things when I first started using my IP. I definitely had to readjust my expectations. But the completely-unattended aspect is great because you can go have a life and not worry about being back at the right time.
We’re more of a “stuff on rice” household because my partner really doesn’t like messy food. But this sounds like it would be awesome on rice too.
Hi Beth. I am one of the ‘in the shadow ‘ followers but I do want to comment today. Thank you for the great ideas, recipes, humor (adds a realness to your posts) and for sure the photos. I sincerely appreciate all your efforts to keep this blog going. So, k ow there are many like me – quiet in the background but enjoying everything thoroughly!!
I definitely like the ingredients pictures! When they look pretty, it motivates me to cook with pretty ingredients!
Em Shaw says
Is there any reason you can’t add mushrooms?
I just tried this tonight and it was perfect! Most Sloppy Joe recipes are too sweet for me, but I loved this one. Love the combination of lentils. I’m an instant pot newbie and it was nice to find such a successful recipe. Thanks!
Forgot to mention, I loved your picture of ingredients!
Em Shaw says
Just want to let you know I tried the recipe tonight. It was absolutely delicious. I did leave out the maple syrup even though I love it and used sprouted lentils. I added mushrooms. I was amazed how much it tasted like regular Sloppy Joes. Everyone enjoyed them so much especially the vegan at the table. When I asked her if she wanted to take home the leftovers, she said “Yes, please!” I will certainly make them again. Thank you. Em
I’m very excited to make these! I was wondering if you’ve ever tried to make lentils that are seasoned like spicy italian sausage for use as a sausage substitute for pizza topping, lasagna, sausage balls, etc. I searched, but didn’t find anything.
Definitely want to try this, but I’m not one of the lucky ones with an IP. I presume all the same things will work stove top wise, and just cook until delicious?
Best vegan sloppy Joe recipe out there. Major points for being able to make it in the IP too! It made a ton – even for my fam of 5 – I might cut in half next time.
SO happy to have this recipe – thx for sharing it!
I hope you are doing well. I Love your website, and also am a email subscriber. I have made quite a few of your recipes and am going to make this Vegan Sloppy Joes, with the Vegan SW Slaw & Vegsn Sw Pot Salad.
Oh yeah & Cashew Cream all the way. Drooling just thinking about this meal??
I don’t have an IP so I will use my crock pot….
Do you have any suggestions for this method?
I’m so excited that you’re going to make all of these recipes, wow! Can you come to my house? 🙂 As for the crockpot, I’d recommend sautéing the onions, garlic, and peppers first, then add them to the crockpot with the rest of the ingredients. I’d try cooking on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 hours. Make sure to give yourself some extra time just in case – those times are guidelines. Can’t wait to hear how it turns out! 🙂
Allison Bognar says
I just found your site yesterday and I am so thrilled with what I see! I have already made the pumpkin muffins which are fabulous!
To answer your question, YES PLEASE KEEP THE INGREDIENT PHOTOS! I love them so much because I a visual person. I can tell at a glance how complicated the recipe is and if I have all of the needed ingredients.
Thank you for sharing your lovely recipes. I appreciate you!
I made this tonight for dinner. Wow they were good! Even 16yr old devoured every last morsel of it. Haven’t seen him polish off a vegan meal I’ve made in ages. Non-vegan husband also raved on about how flavorful this was. Thank you so much for an excellent meal!!
Trish, this is why I do what I do. Comments like these!!! Thank you so much for telling me about this. I’m lucky that my husband is the one who started us on the plant-based path, so our whole family eats this way. But I can only imagine how challenging it is to try to please all types of eaters in one household, so getting this feedback makes me feel like I’m doing something that is truly helpful, and that is the best possible outcome. Feeling all the feels over here. 🙂
My instant pot hasn’t naturally released the pressure after 29 minutes, is that normal? 3rd time using this appliance so I’m not quite sure. 🙂
I just made this last night and it was great! I didn’t have tomato paste so I made it without it. I didn’t include the maple syrup either as I was sharing it with a diabetic family member. He’s not vegetarian and he enjoyed it too.
I’d keep the ingredient pictures. I’m new to your blog and I liked that the picture let me know right away that there were veggies in the recipe.
Donna Wyse says
Made it for vegan friends visiting and we all loved it, even my meat eaters! It was simple to make but I didn’t add the maple syrup as it really is not necessary. Very flavourful and not too strong of a cumin taste. Will make again for sure!
Hi Donna! So glad that you all loved this! Makes me extra happy when the meat eaters approve as well, that’s my goal. I agree with you on the maple syrup, it’s a personal choice and can be needed depending on the acidity of the tomatoes, so it should be listed as optional (I’ll fix that). Glad it’s a make-again recipe for you!
Julia Allen says
Please leave the ingredients photos in! I’m from Australia and some ingredients that we use have different names eg sweet bell peppers = capsicum, cilantro = fresh coriander, fava beans = broad beans.
Many thanks x
I followed this recipie exactly and my instant pot read “burnt” after the preheating process. I let it cool, stirred it, and tried again. It read “burnt” again the second time around too. It does seem to be sticking to the bottom. Thoughts? Although not cooked, it tastes good, I’ll have to transfer the cooking to stove top.
Same here! I even tried adding an extra cup of water and it still reads burn. Very first IP recipe…I’m not quite sure if it’s me or the recipe.
Valerie Klassen says
It may be the tomatos you are using…if you stir tomatos into a recipe and then seal it often has a burn notification. If you are using diced or any other type of tomato that holds shape, don’t stir it in but rather dump it on top at the end.
Same here. I actually added 3 extra cups of water. And every time the “burn” Indicator came on. I really didn’t want to have lentil and tomato soup.
Lynne Tham says
Me too, I just used my instant pot tonight for the first time and it was a bit confusing. I pressed the “pressure cook” setting and “normal” for the cooking heat, and then pressed the + button for 13 minutes. Also said burn, so after the vent came up and steam released, opened up and burned on the bottom and I’ve now moved it to the stove top. Any advice would be awesome as I’m new to using IP. Thanks so much!
These are incredibly delicious. I made for 12 and everyone (meat eaters too) raved. Thanks 🙂
I love your ingredients pics, Thanks for taking the extra time to make them beautiful!l I haven’t made the recipe yet but my mouth is watering.
Super yummy! I did include the syrup (we have a sweet tooth here).
The inside seal on my InstaPot wasn’t set right and the thing never got pressurized, so I transferred the lentils to a stew pot and finished it stove top (had to add a bunch of vege stock). User error on the InstaPot, but I’m losing interest in it.
Served with the recommended slaw (which is kick ass).
Half a head of each type of cabbage resulted in a TON of slaw… could have used a quarter head each.
Thanks for the recipe
Hi, I made the sloppy joe recipe tonight, along with the veggie meat substitute yesterday. One thing I had an issue with is line #4 saying add all remaining ingredients, then a few steps later it has you add another ingredient. We added them all in before cooking. : )
I loved the veggie substitute mixed in with some salt into macaroni and cheese last night. One thing that has bothered me about my vegetarian diet for the last ten years was a reliance on store bought meet substitutes… this was pretty good
Jan Oestereich says
Hi Beth. I watched your segment on AM Northwest yesterday. I searched you out because you knocked it out of the park. Sloppy Joes, Sloppy, Sloppy Joes!!! You make vegan cooking a blast. I have a few things I make over and over, but I need to switch it up from time to time. Would you speak at Veg Fest? Or do a demo? You are so much fun.
Lynne Howard says
Excellent texture and flavor. It definitely tastes like traditional sloppy joes. Very satisfying! Thank you!
My instant pot read “burn” in the initial heating process. I turned it off and switched to drive top. Yup, mixture was burned solid to the bottom of the instant pot. Not sure where I went wrong. Finished up on the stove – very hearty and filling!
Hey Torrey, so sorry about the burn notice. I’ve had this happen occasionally whenever using a lot of tomato products in the IP. Because the heating element is on the bottom and there’s no stirring involved during cooking, the burning can happen if there is anything stuck to the bottom of the pot before the liquid gets added. I have only had the burn notice happen for me once, when I was trying to double the recipe. But I have had feedback from others that they get the burn notice too. I’m going to re-test the recipe and try adding the tomato products last and not stir them in before cooking, because I’m betting that will solve the problem. I’m so glad that you were able to finish it on the stove! <3
Tried these for dinner tonight and all I can say is YUM! I went the extra step of making the meat substitute which I think really give it body. The only problem I have is that we’re only two people and I made enough for a small army. Have you ever frozen the remainder? It would be nice to pull it out of the freezer to whip up a quick meal on a busy week night. Thanks so much for the great addition to my plant-based staple recipes!
Jan Oestereich says
I love your sloppy joe recipe. I also love it when I catch you on AM Northwest. Can you give us a heads up when you are scheduled?
Just came across your site today but wanted to say the ingredient photos are awesome. I loved the vegan sloppy joe recipe ingredients on the black background and the way you arranged everything. I always seem to get unwanted reflections when I try to photograph food on my black granite countertop. Thanks for all the work you do coming up with recipes and sharing them with the pictures.
Leah Kedra says
Question – did you soak the lentils at all?
Hi Leah! Nope, I don’t typically soak lentils, as they cook so quickly without soaking and the red lentils are already going to break down (they are supposed to). Hope that helps! 🙂
Made without the cumin and browned some soyrizo with the veggies. Rest of recipe as listed (minus the meat). It was AMAZING. The soyrizo gave it a nice kick
I love ingredients pictures! 🙂 I am going to make these sloppy joes now! I wish I had pre-read the post so I could have made the coleslaw, but I’ll make it another time for sure!
This recipe was crazy easy and DELICIOUS! Thanks so much for sharing! I can’t wait to try it again with the coleslaw!
I am so glad I stumbled upon this blog on Pinterest today!! I cannot wait to try this recipe tonight.
I love finding a vegan take on traditional American foods! I grew up eating meaty sloppy joes and am so excited to have found a vegan version of a childhood favorite. Thank you!
You’re so welcome, Laura! Can’t wait to hear what you think! <3
I made the recipe and because I am new to using my insta pot I didn’t understand the venting process and because after 10 mins it seemed like nothing was happening on natural vent I changed it to the other option and it let all the steam out and now my lentils are still crunchy. Any suggestions? It’s user error not recipe error just don’t want to waste all the yumminess. Thanks alissa
Hi Alissa! I’d probably seal the IP and set the cook time for 3 minutes and then let the pressure release naturally for at least 20 minutes after the cook time is up. I would also recommend adding a half cup of water and giving everything a good stir so nothing sticks/burns to the bottom of the pot. I hope that helps!
Thanks so much! It worked and tasted amazing!!! Thank you
Oh yay!!! I’m so glad. 🙂 Thanks for the update!
Since I saw you’d asked, just want to say, I absolutely love that you have pictures of the ingredients!!! Love, love, love!
Thanks for letting me know! I’m glad to know that you love the ingredient pics, I’ll keep doing them! <3
Canned lentils or dry?
Made this several times with ground turkey.. so delicious every time with or without buns! Thanks!!
I’m allergic to lentils, peas, and chickpeas.
What can I use as a substitute?
I made this last night & it smelled amazing when it was done. I brought it in to work today to share with my coworkers and we ALL enjoyed it very much (they are all meat eaters too)! It was so tasty! I did add a little chili powder to it and a large garlic clove. I also used only half a large onion and opted for mushrooms instead of vegan meat. Perfect!!
Delicious, satisfying, and super easy to make. I mistakenly dumped in the crumbles to cook with the lentils but it turned out just fine. Otherwise, I followed the recipe religiously (except halving the maple syrup and added a bit more spice). The liquid-to-lentils proportions worked perfectly.
this recipe is freaking fantastic! sloppy joes are not my ‘thing’, but these were absolutely delicious!!! my kids and husband loved them and asked me to make them regularly. i had no green lentils so had to use all red, but was perfect. i also served with your southwest coleslaw. what a perfect summer dinner to eat on the patio! thank you!
Do you add the lentils dry or already cooked?
Holly Richard says
How much garlic is in the recipe?
I made this, and I loved the flavor. It was great, so I’ve got this recipe bookmarked. However, for me personally, the lentils texture wasn’t quite what I wanted for sloppy joes, but the bites with the crumbles had exactly the texture I wanted. So I was curious of how much water you would take out the recipe if you were to make this with all crumbles instead of lentils. I’m mainly looking to experiment with texture, but don’t want to ruin things right off the bat by removing too much water.
Home Decor says
OMG.. some people are so strange! Of course it takes time for anything to heat up whether it be an oven or a hot pot. I don’t quite understand why everyone is in such a hurry any more. They need to slow down and enjoy!
I am never concerned with the heat up or cool down time.. so long as it does NOT require me being in the kitchen. I absolutely HATE to cook.. so the less time I have to spend in the kitchen the better. I love anything that can be thrown together in a pot and cook itself without my having to be present for searing, sauteing, supervising, etc.
This one sounds fairly easy.. and the results look delicious so I am going to give it my best shot.
Delicious and SUPER easy! My husband ate 3 bowls and even my picky 16 year old liked it! I love Ipot recipes… as Chef AJ says “set it and forget it”. People can’t possibly be concerned about the time it takes to come up to pressure and to cool down from pressure? You get all the benefits of flavors melding in a short period of time and you do absolutely nothing! I’ve had my Ipot at least 7 years and it’s just one of those things I could not possibly be without. Thank you for a new family fave!