Vegetarian Sloppy Joes With Pickled Radish and Cucumber

Vegetarian sloppy joes recipe

​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic 

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 5 servings
Yield: 5 sandwiches
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
439 Calories
10g Fat
75g Carbs
14g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5
Amount per serving
Calories 439
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 2g 8%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1311mg 57%
Total Carbohydrate 75g 27%
Dietary Fiber 7g 23%
Total Sugars 18g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 83mg 415%
Calcium 175mg 13%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 698mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes made with a mix of barley and caramelized vegetables are just as good, if not better, than the typical hamburger-based versions. Packed full of flavor, vitamins, and nutrients, these guilt-free sandwiches will please even the most die-hard meat eaters, and the recipe makes five to 10 sandwiches depending on the size bun. And by topping these sandwiches with fermented vegetables such as DIY quick-pickled radish and cucumbers, a significant dose of healthy probiotics are added to each bite. 


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

  • 2 cups portobello mushrooms, chopped

  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 1 cup cooked barley

  • 1 (15-ounce) can sloppy joe sauce

  • 5 to 10slider buns

  • 1 medium pickled radish, sliced, for garnish

  • 1 medium pickled cucumber, sliced, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for vegetarian Sloppy Joes
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic 
  2. In a large saucepan, add the olive oil, chopped onion, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of the salt. Let it cook down until the onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes.

    Saucepan with olive oil, onion, red pepper flakes, and salt
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic 
  3. Add the chopped portobello mushrooms, making sure not to crowd the pan, and then cook for a few minutes until caramelized. Remove and set aside.

    Add mushrooms
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic 
  4. Add chopped red and orange bell peppers and garlic, and cook down a little, add a pinch of salt.

    Add peppers and garlic
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic 
  5. Add the mushrooms back to the pot and then add the red wine vinegar, brown sugar, and remaining pinch of salt. Cook down until absorbed, about 10 minutes.

    Add the mushrooms back to the pot
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic 
  6. Add the barley and the Sloppy Joe sauce and stir to combine. Cook for 10 minutes at a low temp. 

    Add barley and Sloppy Joe mix
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  7. Toast the slider buns and gently scoop 1 large spoonful of Sloppy Joe mix onto each sandwich.

    Toasted buns with Sloppy Joe mix
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic
  8. Cover with a few pickled radishes and a slice of pickled cucumber and serve.

    Cover buns with pickled radishes and cucumbers
    ​The Spruce / Katarina Zunic