Monday, December 28, 2015

Vegan Sloppy Joes

One of many foods I haven't been able to give up after childhood, Sloppy Joes have been a favorite comfort foods of mine for decades. The main difference now is that I typically enjoy it with a couple cold, crisp PBRs instead of chocolate milk. Progress. 

This recipe calls for textured vegetable protein, or TVP. You can find TVP in the bulk aisle of any natural food store. TVP is a fairly processed ingredient, so if you’re looking for something a little more natural, you can certainly substitute a couple cups cooked lentils, crumbled tempeh, or raw crumbled silken tofu for the prepared TVP, though the consistency won’t be quite as Sloppy-Joe-like.

Prep time: 2 cocktails

1 cup ketchup (homemade or store bought will do)
1 TBSP white vinegar
3 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP molasses
¾ tsp mustard powder
Lots of freshly ground pepper
1 TBSP soy sauce
20 drops of liquid smoke
¾ cup TVP
2 cups boiling water
3 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Whole wheat buns
Sliced avocado (optional)
Soft-fried eggs (optional)

Combine first 8 ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk well. Set aside.
In another mixing bowl, combine the TVP and boiling water. Then stir, cover, and set aside for TVP to fully hydrate.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapenos, and bell peppers and sauté until onion turns transparent and peppers soften a bit, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and sauté another 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Strain out excess water from the TVP with a mesh strainer.

Now add the sauce mixture from the first mixing bowl and stir well. Once it reaches a boil, add TVP. Reduce heat a bit and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until you have reached proper Sloppy Joe consistency—usually about 5 minutes. Serve hot on buns with optional avocado slices and/or egg. Beer or chocolate milk are both great accompaniments. 

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