As a vegetarian adult, I've come to miss these satiating, spill-all-over-your-plate sandwiches, so I decided to come up with a version that I can eat now - sans the grease and animal parts. (On my former blog, I also came up with a lentil version, if you're interested. Just don't mind the missing photos).
Here, tofu is crumbled and loaded up with all of the Sloppy Joe flavors we know and love. And then topped with vegetarian baked beans. You know, to make them even sloppier (and more delicious). This recipe can also be vegan-friendly, if you opt out of the melted cheese and brioche buns.
Vegetarian Sloppy Joes
Yields: 8 servings
-1 16-ounce package extra firm tofu, drained
-3 tablespoons ketchup
-1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
-1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
-Salt and black pepper
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1/2 large yellow onion, diced
-1 large garlic clove, minced
-1 bell pepper, chopped
-Salt and black pepper
-1 heaping cup vegetarian baked beans
-Sliced bread and butter pickles, for garnish
-8 slices cheese (optional; we used Havarti)
-8 brioche buns (or your favorite vegan-friendly buns will do!)*
1.) Press the tofu for 20 minutes (if you don't have a tofu press, just place a heavy pot on top of the tofu). This will get a lot of the moisture out so it crisps up nicer in the pan. Once drained, crumble the tofu into a bowl and mix with the ketchup, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, salt, black pepper, chili powder, and dried oregano (aka, the marinade!). Place tofu in fridge for 30 minutes.
2.) Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, just until the onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add peppers and season with salt and black pepper (I also added some extra chili powder, for an additional kick); cook until peppers begin to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add tofu and cook until tofu begins to turn golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.
3.) Lower heat to medium-low; add baked beans and stir. Cook until heated through, about 3-5 minutes.
4.) Toast your buns (if using cheese, place cheese slices on one half of the buns before toasting so they melt nicely). Pile each bun with a few generous scoops of the Sloppy Joe mixture. Top with sliced pickles. Grab many, many napkins and dig in.
*One note: For the non-vegans, I highly recommend using the brioche buns, if you can find them. They're a little sweet, super soft, and stand up to the sloppiness quite nicely.
What was one of your favorite meals growing up?