Sloppy Vegan Joes

As a meat eater I used to make Sloppy Joes from scratch…it’s pretty easy, cheap, and delicious. I’ve been known to buy some frozen ‘crumbles’ and a can of Manwich (it’s vegan) but this is real food made with love, not grocery store convenience, and it’s noticeable in taste and nutrition!

A few years back I was working from home and watching “The Chew” and Michael Symon (his wife mostly eats plant-based) shared this recipe and I scratched it down on an index card. Now cancelled, the show’s website is also gone too so I had to work off my scanty notes, but here’s a pretty good recreation.

2 medium eggplant

2 10oz packages of Cremini/Baby Bella (or button if you must) mushrooms

1 medium onion

4 cloves garlic

1 green bell pepper

1 28oz can chunky tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes

¼ cup grape seed oil

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup maple syrup

2 Tbs tomato paste

2 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tbs each Kosher salt, chili powder, sweet paprika

1 Tbs cumin

1 Tbs vegan Worchester

2 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes

Dash of liquid smoke


Chop and prep all veggies in a sugar cube sized dice. In a large heavy pot preheated to medium high, sauté the onion and garlic with the grapeseed oil until translucent. Add half the diced eggplant and stir to coat, then add half the mushrooms. Brown on medium high heat, stirring regularly for about 3-4 minutes. Add the other half eggplant, stir to mix. Then add the rest of the chopped mushrooms. Brown all on medium high heat, stirring regularly for about 3-4 minutes. This step is all about moisture and texture management. (Eggplant is like a sponge and mushrooms are about 90% water…I find they marry well with this little culinary dance)

Add the bell pepper and spices, mix and brown – about another 3-4 minutes

Turn up the heat and add the tomato paste, brown sugar, Worchester, and vinegar – stir and brown – about 2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and the dash of liquid smoke (be careful! It’s potent stuff) and stir well. Bring to a heavy simmer and turn the heat back down to a slow simmer for 25 minutes covered – stirring often. Uncover, add the maple syrup, and simmer for another 15-30 minutes, stirring from the bottom often until you reach your desired Sloppy Joe consistency. Taste, adjust, and serve.

Invite friends over! This make a ton! About 12-18 sandwiches


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