UBC’s Food Services ran a competition for nutrition month searching for a recipe that would be featured in the dining areas on campus for Meatless Mondays. I entered my Lentil Sloppy Joe recipe and it was chosen from over 70 recipes to be featured this summer and into the fall. I had the opportunity to work with UBC’s executive head chef David Speight to perfect my recipe. He kicked my recipe up an notch by tweaking the spices and topping it off with arugula. It will also be served with coleslaw. With the help of some (joking) friends the name Sloppy Holly was born. You can find UBC’s article and recipe here! This recipe will now be part of UBC Food Services Signature Recipe series. 

I was inspired to create this recipe after making pulled jackfruit a couple times. I found it expensive and annoying to find jackfruit and wanted to create a cheaper and healthier meatless version. This past year I have upped my lentil game and started cooking with lentils much more. Lentils worked perfectly in the place of meat to create a perfect sloppy joe. Lentils are a great source of plant based protein, are high in fibre and are also student-budget friendly! Unlike beans you do not need to soak dried lentils so they cook a lot faster and are my preferred plant source of protein. When I am in a hurry I use canned lentils to save a couple minutes! In this recipe I chose to use green lentils however you can use any colour you have at home!

If you are on UBC’s campus this summer check out Open Kitchen to find the Sloppy Holly. In the fall it will be featured at other dining rooms as well! If you want to cook this at home you can find the recipe below. Let me know your thoughts! 

Sloppy “Holly’s” Joes


  • Prep Time: 15m
  • Cook Time: 15m
  • Total Time: 30m
  • Serves: 2


  • 1 can green lentils or 1 cup cooked dried green lentils
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 1 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional - if you don't like spice I'd leave this out!)
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 whole wheat burger buns


  1. Drain and rinse canned lentils or cook dried lentils by bringing the lentils and 2½ cups of water to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low and cover until lentils are tender. Drain any excess water.
  2. Place a large pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp cooking oil. Sauté white onion, garlic and shallots until translucent.
  3. Add the tomato paste and spices and sauté.
  4. Add the lentils, BBQ sauce and ¼ cup warm water to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until it has thickened. Stir frequently and remove from heat when it reaches desired thickness.
  5. Cut whole wheat buns in half and divide the lentil mixture between them.
  6. Put arugula in mixing bowl, add olive oil and lime juice and gently toss. Place arugula on top of lentil mixture and serve!