The Best Vegan ‘Pulled Pork’ Sandwich!

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Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwich made from lentils

Yep, this is happening. My latest take on vegan pulled pork that just may be my best yet.

Let’s BBQ!

Mixing together lentils, spices, and carrots for making homemade Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwiches

My first attempt at vegan pulled pork was successful after jumping on the jackfruit train. I loved it so much that I created a spicier version topped with grilled pineapple for our cookbook! Serious swoon.

Using a wooden spoon to stir filling for Lentil Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwiches

While I love using jackfruit as a vegan meat substitute, it has little to no protein. So after making my Vegan Sloppy Joes with lentils I was inspired to try a BBQ flavor. As you might’ve guessed, experimentation went well. This may be my favorite lentil recipe yet!

This recipe is simple, requiring just 10 ingredients, and it comes together in less than 45 minutes! You likely have everything you need on hand besides BBQ sauce and buns (unless you’re like me and hoard these things in your pantry).

To infuse the lentils and shredded carrots – which add that amazing, stringy texture – with flavor, I relied on smoked paprika, coconut sugar, garlic powder, and sea salt. A little BBQ sauce sealed the deal for that quintessential smoky BBQ flavor.

Using a food processor to mix ingredients for vegan pulled pork sandwich filling

I hope you guys LOVE this recipe! It’s:

Packed with protein + fiber
& So delicious

Even better news? One of four sandwiches boasts 17 grams of protein, making this the perfect plant-based version that will truly satisfy those hearty pulled pork cravings. While this is delicious on its own, it would pair perfectly with my Perfect Grilled Corn with Sriracha Aioli, Garlicky Chickpea Kale Salad, and Ginger Beer Margaritas!

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!

Cutting board filled with Vegan Pulled Pork Sandwiches for a delicious vegan BBQ recipe

The Best Vegan “Pulled Pork” Sandwich!

Hearty, 10-ingredient vegan "pulled pork" sandwich with lentils, tons of smoky + sweet flavor, and 17 G PROTEIN per serving!
Author Minimalist Baker
Hamburger filled with cabbage, green onion, and our Vegan 'Pulled Pork' recipe
4.85 from 125 votes
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Servings 4 (sandwiches)
Course Entrée
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month (stored separately)
Does it keep? 3 Days (stored separately)



  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup green lentils (well rinsed)


  • 2 Tbsp olive, avocado, or grape seed oil
  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion (minced // plus more for serving)
  • 1 ½ cups packed finely shredded/grated carrots (I used my food processor attachment)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar or organic brown sugar (plus more to taste)
  • 1 ½ tsp ground paprika (we prefer smoked)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 healthy pinch each sea salt + black pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 3/4 cup vegan BBQ sauce (plus more for serving // gluten-free as needed // I used Annie’s original BBQ sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp water


  • 4 medium gluten-free or whole-wheat hamburger buns*
  • Finely chopped purple cabbage, carrot, and green onion (optional)


  • To a small saucepan, add water and rinsed lentils and heat over medium-high heat. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 18 minutes, or until tender. The water should have a constant simmer (not boil). Drain off any excess liquid and set aside.
  • When the lentils are almost finished cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil and onion and season with a pinch each salt and pepper. Stir to combine, and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the onions are tender and slightly browned.
  • Next add cooked lentils, carrots, coconut sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, BBQ sauce (see photo), and 2 Tbsp water (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Stir to combine.
  • Continue cooking the mixture over medium-low heat until completely warmed through and thick, stirring occasionally – about 5-10 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more paprika for smokiness, salt for saltiness, coconut sugar for sweetness, or BBQ sauce for depth of flavor.
  • Optional: Scoop half of the mixture into a food processor and (using the “s” shaped blade) mix/pulse to mash some of the lentils and carrots together. This creates a more cohesive texture, which I prefer.
  • Serve the mixture on toasted buns of choice with toppings of choice. I went with shredded red cabbage, carrots, and sliced green onions. Serve with extra BBQ sauce for more flavor.
  • Best when fresh, though lentil mixture will keep in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through, adding water if the mixture has dried out.



*Most hamburger buns are naturally vegan. Just check the package to make sure there aren’t any animal products. The only brand of Vegan/GF buns I’ve liked are by the brand Happy Camper. I also like Udi’s, but they do contain eggs.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with whole wheat hamburger buns.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 sandwich Calories: 473 Carbohydrates: 80.4 g Protein: 17 g Fat: 9.5 g Saturated Fat: 1.5 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 573 mg Fiber: 17.4 g Sugar: 25.7 g

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My Rating:

  1. Meri Schroeder says

    Pretty darn good and comes together fairly quickly. As another person suggested, I served over a baked potato with some chopped up green onions. Love this twist on barbecue but in a much healthier way than with meat (I also made homemade sauce). I also used aqua faba to sautee to cut down on the fat. If I remember right, I used about 3-4 carrots to get 1 1/2 cups.

  2. Kurt Schultz says

    This recipe is so delicious and easy it’s easy to make. It’s much more like sloppy joes than pulled pork. I think we could make this for anyone and they’d love it. We’ll be making this again and again.

  3. Rachel says

    This looks so good. Is green lentils, French green lentils? I’ve never used them. I have regular lentils on hand, will they work?! Would love to make this tonight!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Rachel, French green lentils will work great! Brown lentils don’t have as much texture, but will still work. Enjoy!

  4. Rebecca says

    Made this for July 4th and it was awesome! Froze leftovers and served last night on a salad with lettuce, tomatoes, red onion and bread cube croutons. Can’t wait to make it again!

  5. Stephen S. says

    Best Thing Ever! I’ve been vegan for almost 20 years and veg for many before that. Don’t think I’ve ever had a pulled pork sandwich. (That’s a Southern thing, right?) After having printed out this recipe a few years ago I finally made it. Followed recipe exactly other than simmering the lentils in stock after soaking them overnight in it. The taste reminds me of what were called Sloppy Joes back in Wisconsin. I ate mine without the toppings. What a wonderful treat! Thanks again for a wonderful recipe!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you gave the recipe a try and enjoyed it, Stephen! Thank you for sharing!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kenzie, red lentils will be less textured and a little mushy, but would otherwise work. We would suggest cooking them for less time. Hope that helps!

  6. Pam S. says

    I’d like to try these, but wonder if 846 mg of sodium is a miss print? The AHA recommends limiting to 1500 mg per day. Just wanted to double check. Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Pam, thanks for mentioning it! Another calculation gave us 573 mg, but it will vary greatly based on the sodium content of the BBQ sauce and buns you’re using as those are the primary sources of sodium in this recipe.

  7. Suzanne Hale says

    I made this for dinner last night and it came out perfect! Thank you so much for this recipe. I love pulled pork but need to follow a healthier diet for my heart. French green lentils and carrots are awesome for their taste and texture. I did followed the recipe without modifications. It was so good, I ate some cold for breakfast this morning!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Suzanne! Thank you for the lovely review! xo

  8. Sarah says

    Could you use tinned lentils to save time and if so, how much of the tin would you need? In the UK a tin would be 400g including the liquid

  9. Lee says

    I’m going to try with half shredded carrots and half banana peel, which has that pulled pork texture.

  10. Janet says

    Non vegan here. I’ve made vegan pulled pork with Jackfruit before, and although I like the appearance of the jackfruit better, the flavour and “mouthfeel” of this is much more like meat pulled pork. Perhaps that’s because of the protein?

    In any case, I will absolutely make this again.

  11. Jan says

    Goodness! This IS the BEST Vegan “Pulled Pork” recipe! I used half-sharp paprika rather than smoked and preshredded carrot. I can’t stop ‘testing’ it – eating some with a tortilla chips while standing at the stovetop – but I must save it for tomorrow’s guests! Thanks for sharing!