BBQ Spicy Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

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sloppy joes

Words can’t begin to describe the frustration I endured when hunting for good quality vegetarian minced meat . The search was long and arduous but subsequently  worthwhile. I nearly had to get my local supermarket to place an order for me of a particular brand of vegetarian minced meat. I found and bought a couple bags of those just when I thought all was lost and hopeless. Okay, I am being a little melodramatic. I had this gnawing urge to make a dish involving vegetarian minced meat for a while. I was in hot pursuit for a perfect vegetarian Sloppy Joes recipe.  Not recalling the last time I had Sloppy Joes, I felt that a vegetarian version would make wonderful dinner idea.  To some, Sloppy Joes elicit warm childhood memories. To others, it exhumes an unwanted nightmarish hypermnesic past of the school cafeteria. To me, it does a bit of each. I remember how excited we would be as kids when my mother announced that she was serving Sloppy Joes for dinner.

While I have been making vegetarian oriented meals as of late, it is hard to find high quality vegetarian versions of the meat originals. Perhaps that may just be me being selective about my choices of vegan products. Until I started making my own, I never liked veggie burgers mainly because I felt they had a Styrofoam texture and were often very bland. Soy ground meat wasn’t any better. In retrospect,  if I was feeling adventurous and desperate, I could have concocted my own vegetarian Sloppy Joes from scratch using cooked lentils/beans, quinoa, and assorted vegetables.  That would have been a soy-free alternative. It’s definitely a thought to be considered for another vegetarian dinner inspiration. If you already know how to make Sloppy Joes, this vegan version is remarkably simple. I instituted a BBQ twist to appease my anti-vegetarian audience (if there is any). For those who boast that nothing can ever rival the meat original, even this satisfying vegan version of a family favorite earned 5 stars from my meat and potatoes red blood male hubby. Still skeptical? Don’t just take my word for it. Try it yourself. If you don’t like vegetable granules, try the soy-free version I mentioned earlier. Or use your favorite brand. Mine is Tivall. I would like to hear some of your experiences and ideas using soy minced meat.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  2. 1 onion diced
  3. 2 cloves of garlic minced
  4. 2 red bell peppers chopped
  5. 1 carton of fresh mushrooms chopped
  6. 12 oz package of frozen vegetarian minced meat or tempeh
  7. 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  8. 1/2 ground pepper
  9. 1 can of sugar-free reduced sodium crushed tomatoes
  10. 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar
  11. Dash of of hot chili sauce
  12. 1 tablespoon of molasses
  13. 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  14. Toasted whole wheat hamburger or sandwich buns


In a large skillet, saute the onion, garlic, mushrooms and peppers in olive oil for 5 to 7 minutes, or until onions are soft. Season with chili powder and ground pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and add the remaining ingredients (except buns) and stir well to combine. Allow to simmer for at least 15 more minutes. Spoon mixture into buns and serve hot.

Yields 4-6 servings





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