Beef and Lentil Sloppy Joes

Beef and Lentil Sloppy Joes Recipe! A way to incorporate more lentils into your diet, without really tasting them or noticing - these sloppy joes are delicious and so kid friendly!

Years ago, I dabbled in lentils. Indian spiced lentils, lentil burgers, lentil chili…all lentils all the time. One of my favorite recipes at the time was for “Snobby Joes,” or, sloppy joes made with lentils in place of ground beef. They were–they are–fantastic. Smoky and sweet and comforting while also remaining healthy and vegetarian.

If you like lentils, by all means–go ahead and make this recipe for lentil sloppy joes. Truth is, they sop up all the flavor of the spiced tomato sauce, so you’ll be left with very little earthy, lentil flavor. But if you’re not one hundred percent digging the idea of making a lentil-only dish, or if you’re just getting your family into the world of vegetarian options, this is a recipe to help you take a step in that direction.

*Similarly, if the very thought of lentils disgusts you, feel free to use all beef in this recipe. 

Using half beef, half lentils means fewer calories, less fat, and lots more fiber. And, you’ll keep that lovable  beefy flavor intact.


Beef and Lentil Sloppy Joes

Makes: 6 Servings

Calories per serving: 214

Fat per serving: 4g


  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • ½ pound extra lean (90%) ground beef
  • ½ cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon salt


  1. In a small saucepan, combine the lentils and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until lentils are soft. Drain and set aside.
  2. About 10 minutes before the lentils are done, start the beef: Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and onion and cook, crumbling the beef as it browns, until the beef is no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano, brown sugar, mustard, and salt. Bring the mixture up to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve on hamburger buns or rolls of your choice.

Nutrition Information & Notes:

Nutrition Information (does not include bun): Calories 214, Fat 4g, Carb 33g, Fiber 7g, Sugars 14g, Protein 16g



25 thoughts on “Beef and Lentil Sloppy Joes

  1. SarahRolls

    I like this idea a lot. My boyfriend has said I can start trying to sneak more veggie and low fat foods into his diet only on the condition that he doesn’t notice I’m doing it. If he does, the experiment stops and we go back to roast dinners four times a week, cause that’s all he cooks(eeek).

  2. [email protected](Me)

    I did a vegetarian sloppy joe recipe from Chef Connie about a month ago… sooooo good! I’m sold on the veggie joe option. I’m going to try this with lentils (the recipe I posted called for chick peas/black beans)! I DID manage to fool my kids with the other recipe. This is goooorgeous.

  3. Bonnie

    I love your site, Andie, and this looks like another great dinner option. I notice that for some of the entries you list nutritional breakdowns and others you don’t. I’m working on real life while still losing weight and love the info that the nutritional breakdown gives. You may have said somewhere whether not giving a breakdown means the recipe has lots more calories, but I can’t tell. How does this recipe stack up?

  4. kendrrat

    I think I’d do the half lentil option but maybe I’d try ground turkey or pork instead of beef? Hmm sounds like its worth a try! My boyfriend is solidly a protien-every-meal man, so this could be a good compromise, since I’m starting to dabble in vegetable-based/vegetarian meals.

  5. Deborah


    Just wondering how you are doing with counting your calories weekly? I am still counting them at every meal and try to stay within range of my budget. When I do not count I get in trouble so I wanted to see if you had any good advice.

  6. Gloria

    I made these for dinners on Tuesday, the day after I read this post and I absolutely loved them! I did the half lentil half beef version. They were sweet, spicy, and left me satisfied but not overly stuffed like a normal sloppy joe does.

    Thanks so much Andie!

  7. Jillian

    I made this for my boyfriend tonight and we loved it! We substituted venison for ground beef which was delicious! This recipe is being added to the permanent rotation list :)

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  9. Acr8tz

    I made these for dinner tonight and they are AWESOME! I made a few modifications, most significant is that I used sun-dried tomato pesto instead of tomato paste (I was out). They came OUT awesome! A definite “must try”.

  10. Donna

    I have the worlds pickiest eater that I am trying to feed….he is 11, and I am starting to lose hope This is on the cook top now so I have my fingers crossed he will like it. Keep up the great work :)

  11. Melanie

    This recipe was my first time cooking with lentils and my husband and my first time eating them. Loved this recipe! Will definitely be using again :)

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  13. Cynthia

    What kind of lentils do you use? I know there are several kinds/colors of lentils and just want to know what would be best for this recipe. Thanks!


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