Vegan Sloppy Joes

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How have I never shared my recipe for vegan sloppy joes? My family hails from right down the road from the birthplace of these messy sandwiches, Sioux City, Iowa, so this is a food I grew up eating in massive quantities. Although sloppy joes are pretty ubiquitous and everyone does them a little differently, this recipe yields sandwiches that taste just like those I ate as a kid.

I know there are a lot of recipes for lentil-based sloppy joes out there, but for me, TVP more closely approximates the taste and texture of the sandwiches I ate growing up. I really love lentils, but I would seriously never try feeding anything short of TVP to an omnivore.*

If you aren’t already familiar, sloppy joes are usually made with copious amounts of ketchup and seasoned with bottled mustard. This fact kind of grosses out a lot of people I might otherwise feed these sandwiches to, and y’know, sometimes you just don’t have a half bottle of ketchup to spare, so — if you aren’t feeling up to the challenge of being a true American — you’re welcome to replace the ketchup with tomato sauce and add at least 2 Tbsp tomato paste, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, a teaspoon of vinegar, and half a teaspoon of salt.

On that note, please feel free to adjust the seasonings to your liking! Some people like their sloppy joes hot and spicy, or extra sweet. This is weird, messy food, so don’t take it too seriously, and do make it your own.

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Vegan Sloppy Joes

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Entree
Cuisine American
Servings 4 to 6 peoples


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • TVP
  • c water
  • ¾ c ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • soft sandwich buns


  • In a medium saucepan, saute pepper and onion in oil until onion is translucent.
  • Stir in chili powder, garlic and mustard.
  • Add TVP, water, ketchup, and soy sauce; stir well.
  • Cover and bring mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, simmering for ~20 minutes covered.
  • Remove lid and simmer for 5 minutes more, stirring frequently until most of liquid has evaporated.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve hot on toasted sandwich buns, with onion slices and nutritional yeast if desired.

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