Meatless Monday // Meat-Free Sloppy Joe’s

This post has been written by guest blogger Niamh from Cooking Veggie. She designed this Meatless Sloppy Joe recipe for me to make and feature as part of my Meatless Monday and my 23 Before 24 goals!

There were a few different options when it came to how to approach this recipe. Sloppy joes are essentially just 90% beef along with some green pepper, ketchup and seasonings. So the beef substitution had to be outstanding. I don’t like cooking tofu for meat eaters too much, as a lot of people find it quite scary. Also, to get tofu tasting delicious is can require a lot of effort; marinating, frying and simmering. I wanted this recipe to be accessible for everyone. Beans would have made things far too sloppy, so I went with lentils.

There is one ingredient that I would say above all else, cannot be omitted. It’s the secret ingredient I use in all my recipes that are trying to mimic meat and its the smoked chipotle pepper tabasco sauce.This stuff is amazing! Don’t be surprised if you end up using the half of the bottle while making these sloppy Joe’s. The key is to put a decent tablespoon of the bottle into the sloppy joe mixture while its cooking. Then, while everyone’s dishing up their Joe’s, have the bottle there for an extra lashing on top of the cheese. The cheese is optional but… come on. If you did want to go without the cheese though this would be completely vegan.

Also optional, but not really optional because it tastes SO GOOD is buttering on toasting your buns. Butter them and then throw them on a hot frying pan for a few minutes to get nice and toasty

This recipe is also great because it absolutely PACKED with veggies. The eggplant adds a richness to the sauce, where as the celery gives such a nice sweetness that I didn’t include the brown sugar that usually goes in to joes. Eggplant tends to soak up a lot of oil when you fry/bake it, so to keep this recipe healthy I steamed it instead. You don’t need any fancy equipment to do this. I just put a colander over a pot of boiling water with a lid on it and it worked perfectly!

Recipe after the jump!


  • 1 Medium sized eggplant
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Onions
  • 2 Carrots
  • 4 Stalks of celery
  • 1 Green bell pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Mustard
  • 1 Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 Bottle Chipotle Tabasco
  • 250g Green lentils
  • 200ml Red wine
  • 500ml Vegetable stock
  • 1 400g Can of chopped tomatoes
  • Buns
  • Cheese
  • Butter

The Process

Slice the eggplant in half, lengthways. Cut the flesh of the eggplant in a criss cross motion to allow steam in and sprinkle generously with salt. Allow sit for about 15 minutes while you finely chop the other vegetables.

Place the eggplant in a colander, cut side up over a pot of boiling water and steam by keeping the water simmering with a lid on. Steam for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, Heat the oil in a large pot and add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the carrots and celery. Cook for a further 5 minutes and add the bell pepper.

Slice the skin off the steamed eggplant, roughly chop the flesh and add the vegetables, along with the paprika, tabasco, salt and pepper.

And the lentils and wine. Boil hard until wine reduces.

Add the stock and chopped tomatoes, bring to boil and then simmer for 45 minutes.

Butter the buns and place on a hot frying pan and serve with lots of napkins and cheese, adding more tabasco as desired.

I was super excited to try my hand at this recipe! I was super surprised by how big of a batch this made… easily you could feed 6-8 people! My husband ended up having 3 Sloppy Joe’s just because he loved the amount of veggies in them!

I could honestly barely tell there was no meat… the eggplant had a savory enough texture that it was the perfect substitute and it soaked up ALL of that flavor from the wine and Tabasco! Thanks again to Niamh for designing this recipe for me!

What recipes would you like to see a meatless option to? Let me know below!

8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Yay! I love meatless recipes. I’m not vegetarian, but I don’t like to eat tons of meat, so recipes like this are great! Thanks for sharing. I can’t wait to get hold of that tabasco sauce!

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