Vegan Sloppy Joe

Sloppy Joe is an American, simple sandwich originally consisting of ground beef, onions, seasonings, and tomato sauce or ketchup on a hamburger bun. The sandwich probably started as a variation of the “loose meat” sandwiches that didn’t contain tomato sauce. In this recipe I make it vegan, without the beef but just as tasteful.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water (use half water, half vegetable broth)
  • 1 cup green lentils, well rinsed

Sloppy Joes

  • 2 Tbsp olive or grape seed oil
  • 1/2 medium white or yellow onion, minced (plus more for serving)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 cloves yield ~1 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 medium red or green bell pepper, diced
  • Sea salt and black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1-2 Tbsp sugar (plus more to taste)
  • 1-2 Tbsp (vegan-friendly) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin (plus more to taste)
  • 1 pinch smoked or regular paprika (optional)

Serving:

Whole-wheat hamburger buns or make your own English Muffins like I did. I even fried up some Halloumi and added to it. And garnished with some greens I had.

Instructions:

To a small saucepan, add liquid and rinsed lentils and heat over medium-high heat.

Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 18 minutes, or until tender. The water should have a constant simmer (not boil). Drain off any excess liquid and set aside.

In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Season with a pinch each salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Sautè for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the peppers and onions are tender and slightly browned.

Next add tomato sauce, sugar, worcestershire sauce, chili powder, cumin, and paprika (optional). Stir to combine.

Once the lentils are cooked, add them to the skillet as well, and stir to combine.

Continue cooking the mixture over medium-low heat until completely warm through and thick, stirring occasionally, about 5-10 minutes.

Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more chili powder and/or cumin for smokiness, salt for saltiness, sugar for sweetness, or worcestershire for depth of flavor.

Serve the mixture on toasted buns with sliced onion. Best when fresh, though leftover sloppy joe mixture will keep in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days, or in the freezer for 1 month. Reheat in the microwave, or on the stovetop, adding water or vegetable broth if the mixture has dried out.

English Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (480 ml) whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 cups (650 g) bread flour
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • cornmeal for dusting

Instructions:

In a small saucepan, heat the milk and honey over low heat until it reaches 105-115ºF. Remove from heat, stir in the yeast, and set aside for 5 mins. Whisk in the egg and melted butter.

Add the flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer. Fit the mixer with the dough hook attachment, with the mixer on low speed, gradually pour the milk mixture into the flour.

Continue to beat on low until the flour is incorporated, stop and scrape down the sides and bottom as needed. Turn the speed up to medium and mix for about 4 minutes, until the dough is smooth and sticky.

Scrape the dough out into a lightly oiled bowl. Brush a little oil over the top of the dough. Cover and set in a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, using as little flour as possible, gently knead the dough together. (The dough is very sticky. Add just enough flour to make it easy to handle.)

Divide the dough in half. Divide each half into 8 equal sized pieces. You should have 16 dough balls. (If you want smaller muffins, divide each half into 11 pieces to equal 22 dough balls.) Roll each piece into a ball and flatten the ball into a disk.

Place the disks on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper that has been dusted with cornmeal. Sprinkle more cornmeal over the tops. Cover with a lint-free towel and set in a draft-free place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.

(Heat a griddle over medium-low heat. Gently lift each disk with a plastic spatula and place it on the griddle. Handle the dough with care so you don’t deflate it. Cook them for about 2 minutes on each side, until lightly browned on both sides. Work in batches. I actually skipped this part and only baked in the oven. I guess they will get a bit tastier cooked in butter in a griddle before placed in the oven for baking.)

Place the muffins back on the cookie sheet and bake them for 10-15 minutes. The internal temperature should be about 200°F on an instant-read thermometer.

Transfer the muffins to a cooling rack and let them cool completely.

Split the English muffins with a fork and toast them a toaster until the edges are lightly browned. Serve warm with your favorite jam or butter. Or serve your Sloppy Joes on them like I do here.

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