Sloppy Lennys

Sloppy Joes go vegan with Ali Slagle’s pantry-friendly version, featuring lentils, pickled peppers, chile powder and ketchup on toasted burger buns.

Sloppy Lennys

Mark Weinberg

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
4 servings

Cookbook author Ali Slagle hit up her pantry to make these Sloppy Lennys, which are her vegan take on classic Sloppy Joes, featured in her cookbook I Dream of Dinner. She simmers red lentils with pickled peppers, chili powder, ketchup, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, and a little brine from the jar of pickled peppers for an additional sweet-spicy kick. A handful of crushed Fritos, tortilla chips, or crispy fried onions is a finishing touch that adds just the right amount of crunch. It all comes together for a weeknight-friendly dinner ready in less than an hour.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped

  • 3 pickled cherry or peppadew peppers chopped, plus more as needed

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon pickled pepper brine

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 cup red lentils

  • 1/2 cup ketchup

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce

  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 4 toasted burger buns

  • Fritos or fried onions


  1.  Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and peppers, season with salt, and cook until softened and starting to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add chile powder and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in pickled pepper brine, scraping up browned bits, and cook until nearly evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.

  2. Add water, lentils, ketchup, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, soy sauce, and ground black pepper. Season with salt to taste.

  3. Bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring and scraping bottom of pot to unstick any lentils, until lentils are tender and start to fall apart, 20 to 25 minutes. If you want it less sloppy, keep simmering until it’s as thick as you want. If the mixture looks dry and the lentils aren’t done yet, add more water. Serve sloppy lentils — excuse me, Lennys — on toasted burger buns with more sliced pickled peppers.


Reprinted from I Dream of Dinner published by Clarkson Potter with permission from the author.

To Make Ahead

Store lentil mixture in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 4 days. Rewarm with a splash of water to loosen.

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