Chickpea Sloppy Joes

There are, generally, two kinds of people who come for dinner at my home. One is excited to be having “something different”. They are wearing sandals, eating granola, and reading a travel guide. The other is reluctant, to say the least. They carry a barbecue brush in one hand and a tube of salami in the other; unsure whether they can go a whole meal without eating meat. I’m happy to say this Chickpea Sloppy Joe recipe is approved by both.

I adapted these Chickpea Sloppy Joes from Keepin’ it Kind and the name of the original recipe, “Sloppy Chicks”, has always garnered a few awkward giggles.  One night, we had some good friends over for dinner and, as requested, I made my Chickpea Sloppy Joes. That night, after some much need catching up and final preparations, we gathered around the table for dinner. I set down the “Sloppy Chicks”. Our friend was so happy, that he exclaimed, “Yes! We’re having Sloppy Women!”. The rest of us immediately erupted in laughter. He’s never lived that one down.

The original recipe for these Chickpea Sloppy Joes was full of speciality ingredients like liquid smoke and liquid aminos.  At the time, I had no idea where to get those ingredients. So, I decided to improvise with what I had in my cupboard and could find at my mid-line grocery store. I substituted the liquid smoke and maple syrup for BBQ sauce and soy sauce for the liquid aminos.  The resulting Chickpea Sloppy Joes were sweet, savoury, and had that essential umami flavour. Yum!

Hopefully, your family and friends enjoy these Chickpea Sloppy Joes as much as mine does. I just recommend that you avoid advertising them as “Sloppy Chicks”.

Tricks of the Trade:

A word on BBQ sauces: This recipe uses barbecue sauce to achieve a flavour reminiscent of their meaty alternatives. As such, I recommend using a high quality vegetarian smoke flavoured BBQ sauce. Try a few different kinds to find your favourite (it becomes a staple flavour-all for vegetarian cooking). Be sure to check the labels as many barbecue sauces are flavoured with meat products!

This recipe is much easier to make if the chickpeas are ultra-soft, that’s why I recommend ditching the can and cooking your chickpeas in the crockpot ahead of time!

I know how frustrating it can be when you are new to vegetarian cooking and have no idea where to get half of the ingredients for a recipe you find online. Because of that, I try to make sure that all of my recipes use only ingredients that you can find at a mid-line grocery store. So, if you like this recipe, consider checking out my other recipes – especially my Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie.

chickpea sloppy joes
5 from 1 vote

Chickpea Sloppy Joes

These Chickpea Sloppy Joes are sweet, savoury, and have that essential umami flavour. They are approved by veggie enthusiasts and meat-eaters alike.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American/Canadian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Abbey


For Sloppy Joes

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red pepper (orange or yellow is fine too!)
  • 2 cans chickpeas (or 4 c. cooked)
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp high quality smoky-flavoured barbecue sauce
  • 2 tbsp soya sauce (or tamari)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • hot sauce or sriracha (to taste)

For Serving

  • 4-6 hamburger buns
  • cheese


  1. Smush the chickpeas with a fork so that they are broken into small chunks. Chop red onion, red pepper, and garlic.

  2. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil. On medium-high heat, sautée onions and red peppers until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add the rest of the ingredients. Cook until warmed through, about 15 minutes. 

  4. Toast hamburger buns and serve sloppy joe mixture as a hamburger or open-faced sandwich. Garnish with cheese. 

Recipe Notes

Feel free to use chipotles (dried or in adobo sauce) instead of the hot sauce or sriracha. I find that the chipotles add a additional nice smokiness to the mixture. 

GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: Be sure to use tamari instead of soya sauce and a gluten-free barbecue sauce. Serve in a bowl with gluten-free corn chips.

VEGAN OPTION: Omit cheese or use a vegan cheese instead

Recipe adapted from Keepin’ it Kind

What did your family think about these Sloppy Chicks? Leave your comments and suggestions!

8 thoughts on “Chickpea Sloppy Joes

  1. Love the ease of the recipe! Especially since moving to Germany, I’ve had trouble finding those more difficult ingredients – it seems like people still just want to eat potatoes and meat here. I think my boyfriend would love these and I love that I can make them without too much difficulty ordering special ingredients online.

    • Thanks Alexandra! I’m glad to hear that you think you’ll be able to find everything you need. I know how frustrating it can be when you look at a recipe online and realize you have no where (or no time to drive around the city) to get 1/2 of the ingredients! Let me know how it goes!

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