June 8, 2020

Vegan Mushroom-Tempeh Sloppy Joes

Vegan Mushroom-Tempeh Sloppy Joes are a healthy, plant-based version of traditional sloppy joes. They are oil-free and sugar-free!

Vegan Mushroom-Tempeh Sloppy Joes

I'm going to tell you a secret: I think I've had maybe one sloppy joe in my life. Obviously, it was before I went vegan. But still. I find it VERY funny that I decided to make a sloppy joe recipe for this blog.

I don't crave sloppy joes. Or have a particular affinity for them. I do realize that YOU might crave them. Or YOU might be missing them because you're trying to eat a bit healthier.

I get it. I have cravings too. Most of the time, I find a plant-based food that I love and forget all about whatever craving I might have.

Maybe this recipe can be the answer to a craving for you. Or maybe it can just be a fun new recipe like it was for me.

These Vegan Mushroom-Tempeh Sloppy Joes started out as a way for me to use up some random ingredients I had. I had a can of tomatoes and some rolls that I used for other recipes. I didn't know what to do with them, but I did some flavor brainstorming and landed on sloppy joes.

Sloppy joes are unique because they are a savory food, but they're actually pretty sweet. Most recipes have lots of ketchup and sugar to flavor the meat.

Besides using a meat-alternative, I knew that I wanted to make the other ingredients healthier. Lots of store-bought ketchup uses high fructose corn syrup or sugar. And all the sloppy joe recipes I looked at added even more sugar to the recipe. YIKES.

So my goal with these sloppy joes was to develop a recipe that has the amazing flavor of regular sloppy joes but is a dish you can feel good about eating.

I have to say, I'm pretty proud with the final product! The ingredients are simple, but they come together to make a delicious dish.

Vegan Mushroom-Tempeh Sloppy Joes

Vegan Mushroom-Tempeh Sloppy Joe Ingredients

  • Tempeh: Tempeh is a block of fermented soybeans. Don't let the definition scare you, when crumble it into pieces, it takes on the texture of ground beef.
  • Mushrooms: You can omit the mushrooms if you want, for a more traditional texture, but I love the umami flavor they add!
  • Red Onion: Chopped onion adds extra texture and flavor.
  • Tomatoes: We're using tomatoes in place of ketchup. They have basically the same flavor and tomatoes without the additives are much healthier! I used canned tomatoes because that's what I had, but feel free to use fresh tomatoes.
  • Date Syrup: Many sloppy joe recipes call for brown sugar, which isn't the healthiest choice. I used date syrup to give the recipe healthy sweetness. Date syrup has fiber and vitamins that sugar doesn't have. If you don't have any date syrup on hand, feel free to use maple syrup.
  • Garlic Powder: For a kick of garlic spice!
  • Liquid Smoke: Liquid smoke adds that smoky flavor that is characteristic of meat.
  • Dijon Mustard: Mustard gives the sloppy joes a tang. Ketchup typically has vinegar, but since we're not using real ketchup, the mustard adds the vinegary taste.
  • Red Pepper Flakes: For just a hint of spice.
  • Salt & Pepper: Add these to your personal taste.

Vegan Mushroom-Tempeh Sloppy Joes

How to make Vegan Mushroom-Tempeh Sloppy Joes

Once you have all the ingredients, these sloppy joes are easy to make.

Crumble the tempeh, chop the onion and mushrooms (and tomatoes too if you're using fresh).

Then add all the ingredients to a skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and all the ingredients are thoroughly warmed.

Serve with a plant-based bun or wrapped in lettuce. Pair with corn on the cobb and garlic parsley aioli. Enjoy!

Recipe Prayer

Thank you God for comfort food made healthy! Amen.

Related Recipes

If you enjoyed this recipe, you may also like my Spicy Vegan Black Bean Burger recipe.

Tried this recipe?

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**This post contains affiliate links, for more information see my disclosure here.

Vegan Mushroom-Tempeh Sloppy Joes

Vegan Mushroom-Tempeh Sloppy Joes are a healthy, plant-based version of traditional sloppy joes. They are oil-free and sugar-free!















  • 1 Block Tempeh
  • 4 Ounces Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons Date Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Liquid Smoke
  • 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste


  1. Add all the ingredients to a skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the onion is soft and all the ingredients are thoroughly warmed.
  2. Serve with a plant-based bun or wrapped in lettuce. Enjoy!

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April 28, 2022
Jean Mastin
Elizabeth: Thank you so much for making my meal times wonderful again. I am 86 yrs plus, and was finding eating dull and dreary. Now it is " scrum delicious time to eat". . Blessings de Jean
Hi Jean - Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm so glad you are enjoying my recipes. Please let me know if you ever have recipe requests or if there's anything else I can do to keep your meals delicious!
April 9, 2022
Can you leave nutritional info for your recipes? Serving size/calories would be so helpful! Trying mushroom lentil stew tonight! and looking forward to crispy chickpea stuffed sweet potatoes very soon. Thanks for creating healthy, attractive recipes!
Hi Katie - so excited to hear that you are trying some of my recipes! I'd love to hear how they go. I haven't posted nutritional information for my recipes because I know it can be difficult for some people with disordered eating to see nutrition facts. I've gotten a lot of requests to add them recently, so I'm working on a solution that can provide information for those who want it but not be triggering for others. In the meantime, if you're curious about the nutrient info about a particular recipe, I recommend using Cronometer. It's a website/app to track and understand nutrient info and I think it does a great job of emphasizing all the nutrients (not just macros). I hope this helps! Please let me know if I can help in any other way.
April 9, 2022
U mentioned date sugar on this recipe but it’s not in the instructions. I know u add it but just in case u wanna add to instructions. Love ur recipes! Thank u. I’m thinking of going to vegan a little nervous tho lol
Hi Vickey - thanks so much for catching that! I am updating the post now. So happy to hear you enjoy my recipes. And exciting that you are thinking about going vegan!! If there's anything that I can do to help, please let me know.
March 28, 2022
Sr Maureen Egan
I'd love to try this soup. What are the nutritional values, like how much fat does it contain, carbs, etc.
Hi Sr Maureen - I usually don't post macronutrient information because I know each person has their own goals and I don't want to encourage or discourage anyone's specific goals. But I often use Cronometer as a tool to understand the nutritional profile of my recipes. I plugged the ingredient information for this recipe into Cronometer and got the following nutrient information per serving: 521 calories, 44g fat, 23g carbs, 16g protein. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions and if you try the recipe!
March 26, 2022
Margareta Ahle
This curry is absolutely delicious.
Thank you so much! It's one of my favorites :)
March 23, 2022
Martha maloney
Thank you I have been doing the fruit and oatmeal, etc for years and I love it. I will try the pears. I refrigerate my left over oatmeal and with a touch of milk or fruit juice liquid it’s fine the next day. Just a warning about tofu; it interferes with some medicines especially Thyroid medicine. Thank you for the short prayers, there are lovely.
Hi Martha - thank you so much for your kind words. I'm glad you like the prayers! As someone who doesn't take any medications I have no issues with eating tofu and encouraging others to eat it too (it's a great source of protein!). That said, you should always consult with your doctor about possible interactions with medications. I have plenty of recipes without tofu, so hopefully you can find things that work for you!
March 3, 2022
Susan Cunningham
I made this for Ash Wednesday and it was delicious. It was also simple and not much work time once the mushrooms and onions were cut.
Hi Susan - I'm so glad you liked it!
March 1, 2022
When you say shape into a rectangular loaf, what dimensions? 1/2 thick by 8 inches long or?
My loaf was about 7" long and 4" wide with about 1" of height. Then I sliced it 1/2" thick along the long end to get 12ish biscotti. I will clarify this in the post! Let me know if this makes sense and if you have any other questions.
January 16, 2022
Tracy Henry
Made this tonight. Absolutely delicious Elizabeth. You got this one just right!
Oh yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it :)
January 16, 2022
L Collins
Hi Could you please confirm two things:1. The amount of salt. Seems like too much. 2. The directions say there is lemon juice in the dressing but it’s not listed under ingredients. ThanksL.
Hi there! Confirming that the two teaspoons of salt in the dressing is correct. I didn't salt the cauliflower when roasting it or the salad after it was done, so this amount of salt was perfect. If you're concerned about it you can decrease the amount of salt in the dressing and then add more at the end if you need it. As for the lemon juice, SO sorry about that! It was a typo in my directions and I've removed it now. Hope this helps :)
December 20, 2021
This looks lovely! Do you have a recipe for the red pepper hummus also? Thank you!
Hi Martha! I don't have a recipe for red pepper hummus on my site. I suggest taking a traditional hummus recipe and blending in roasted red pepper.
November 22, 2021
Amanda J Lehmann
I tried these and they were delicious! A bit dense but flavorful and the "buckeye" blend of peanut and chocolate was on point! Recommend!
Yay! I'm so glad you liked them! -- Elizabeth
December 6, 2021
Hi, these look amazing. I was wondering, could I used powdered peanut butter in place of creamy for the recipe? thanks
Hi Grace! There is already some powdered peanut butter in this recipe, so adding more might make the texture more gluey. Also, the real peanut butter adds some fat, which helps create flavor. That said, if you want to use powdered peanut butter, I would suggest mixing it with a high-fat liquid like coconut cream and then measuring out 2/3 cup. Hope this helps! Let me know how it goes :) -- Elizabeth
November 15, 2021
You mention using vegetable broth in your introduction but it isn’t included in the recipe
Hi Becky - thanks for pointing this out. I have removed mention of vegetable broth from this post. You do not need any vegetable broth. The mushrooms will release natural liquid which will prevent any sticking. -- Elizabeth
September 23, 2021
Tracy Henry
Hi Elizabeth, LOVE you recipes. Please keep them coming. :)I was wondering, can you share what is the vegan chocolate bar you used in this recipe?
August 28, 2021
Henry (Hank) Mader
thank you for the oil free recipe. I'm getting introduced to wild Bolete mushrooms here in Colorado, and everyone sautes Bolete's in butter or olive oil. I'm on a veggie, oil free regimen for heart health reasons. and your recipe suggestion may fill the bill. I can't wait to give it a try.
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This is so fun! Loving your creamy photography :)
August 13, 2021
Lindsey Kuhn
This looks incredible! So yummy and pretty photography