Quinoa Sloppy Joes

Once upon a time, when we were newlyweds, loving every minute of strolling grocery store aisles together, cooking, and eating whatever we wanted, I would make Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joes. They are delicious and what I consider the perfect sloppy joes because they have brown sugar, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce.

Times change. A doctor told me to stop drinking whole milk because it was making me gain weight (who knew?!) and I started changing up my diet entirely. I eat less red meat and I don’t miss it too much but I do miss a good sloppy joe.

The other day I started hunting for vegetarian sloppy joe recipe and and was pretty surprised to see lots of plain tomato sauce, apple cider vinegar, even a coconut sugar. Obviously because I am writing this post at all I love a good health swap but I wanted the old sentimental flavors from my childhood and early marriage days… just without the meat. So using her recipe I tweaked it, added the quinoa, made it in the instant pot. If you keep your sides simple it’s a one pot + 1 cutting board and knife. You could add more veggies or double the recipe but you may need to up your cook time in the Instant Pot.

Quinoa Sloppy Joes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A Vegetarian Take on a Comfort Classic.

*Could easily use lentil, barley, beans, etc. You will just have to adjust your cook times and liquid


  • 1 TB Olive Oil
  • ½ Sweet Onion diced
  • 2-3 medium Carrots diced
  • 1 Green Pepper diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic minced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 TB Worcheshire Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Ketchup
  • 2 TB Tomato Paste
  • 3/4 Cup Water or broth
  • 1 TB Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder or to taste
  • 1 tsp ground dried mustard
  • ¼ tsp Red Pepper flakes or to taste
  • ½ tsp Garlic Salt
  • ½ tsp Lawry’s Seasoning Salt
  • 1 Cup Uncooked Quinoa rinsed
  • For Serving
  • Hamburger Buns or slice bread toasted or sturdy chips


1. Turn Instapot to Saute Mode. Add olive oil, onions, carrots, and green peppers and cook stirring frequently until onions start to turn translucent. Add garlic, salt, and pepper and continue cooking.
2. Deglaze pot with Worcheshire Sauce. Cancel Saute mode. Add the rest of the ingredients except quinoa. Stir until combined and add quinoa.
3. Put lid on Instant Pot and make sure it’s sealed. Select manual setting; adjust pressure to high, set time for 1 minute. Let it natural release for 10 minutes then quick release according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
4. If it looks a little too “sloppy” turn your Instant Pot to Saute mode again to cook off some of the liquid but the mixture will thicken as it cools.
5. Serve with hamburger buns and/ or chips.

The leftovers keep very well stored in the fridge and it’s even better the next day. To reheat, add water if looking dry and use microwave or stove.

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