Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Every now and then I get a craving for something that reminds me of childhood. It doesn’t have to be something I ate as a kid, but it tends to be the flavors that kids would typically eat. This craving was for sloppy joes.

I’ve only made sloppy joes once or twice before, so I didn’t have a whole lot to go on. Thankfully the internet has a treasure trove of recipes that I could refer to, but after reading about ten of them I decided to just wing it. The result – pretty darn good. I ended up taking the leftovers to work for lunch for a few days, so not only did I satisfy my sloppy joe craving, I was able to pack an actual (not cheese and carrots) lunch.

The second time I made this I reversed the order when adding the textured vegetable protein and the tomatoes, and I used only sauce since that is what I had on hand. I like adding the tvp at the end, but crushed tomatoes work better in the sauce – just a little more texture.


  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp jalapeno (chopped fine)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 cups rehydrated textured vegetable protein (I used vegetable broth to rehydrate)
  • 15 oz of crushed tomatoes/tomato sauce (I used about 7 oz crushed and 8 oz sauce)
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp. dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil for pan
  • favorite hamburger bun for serving.

Heat pan with oil then add onion and jalapeño. Cook stirring occasionally for about five minutes, until onion is soft. Add garlic and cook about a minute more.  Season with salt and pepper. Add tomato/sauce, cumin, chili powder, brown sugar and soy sauce to pan with onion and stir to combine. Cook over medium high heat for about three minutes then add the TVP and combine well. Cook over medium low heat for about five minutes until everything is heated through and sauce is just a little thick. Taste and adjust seasoning.

I like to toast the bund before piling the sloppy joe mix onto the bun, but that is not strictly necessary.

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