I haven't had the traditional Sloppy Joe since I was in grade school. My sisters used to love them (as did I) and I remember the mass hysteria they would cause in the lunch room when Sloppy Joe's appeared on the lunch schedule. However, I'm pretty sure those were made with Manwich. About a week ago, I was at work and had this sudden hankering for the old classic, kid-friendly meal. I literally hadn't had one of these in almost 20 years so I had no idea where the craving came from. Maybe it was the cold, rainy weather. At any rate, I couldn't wait to get home and experiment. Manwich, coincidentally is vegan but it's processed and I've grown very leery of canned and processed foods in the past three months simply because it's not fresh and because there are a lot of things added to keep it safe in that tin can. Things that offer absolutely no nutritional value. And let's face it, it tastes like it came from a can. My mom made hers from scratch when my sisters and brother and I were kids and I'm about to teach you how to do the same thing only without the fat and cholesterol that heavy read meat (and even turkey) leave lurking between the buns.
So here goes:
Ashley's Sloppy Mike's
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 pound tofu or beef-less ground "beef" crumbles (I use the Trader Joe's brand)
1 large yellow or sweet onion, chopped
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons Bragg's liquid aminos (this tastes like soy sauce without the salt; feel free to use soy sauce if you'd like)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon black strap molasses
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce (I use either Texas Pete or Trader Joe's pepper sauce)
Black pepper to taste
Whole wheat buns (Trader Joe's whole wheat hamburger buns are vegan) or Trader Joe's Tater Tots (also vegan)
In a large cast iron skillet, melt coconut oil and saute tofu or crumbles for a few minutes (tofu until it's brown; crumbles until they're warm). Add chopped onion, green pepper, and nutritional yeast and continue to saute in skillet. I like to cook the veggies down until they're almost soft (they'll continue to soften as you add the rest of the ingredients. Add the ketchup, mustard, molasses, brown sugar, vinegar, and lemon juice and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. The kitchen should start to smell like one big Sloppy Mike. Add your hot sauce and black pepper and simmer for a few minutes. Enjoy!
I like these one of two ways. Either on a bun or over tater tots! Believe me, the tater tot version will change your life :-)
Have a wonderful Friday and Veg Out!