Sloppy Joes

May 29, 2011


Part of the fun of being vegetarian is making meatless versions of classic recipes like burgers, lasagna, enchiladas, etc. The trick is to make the dish equally tasty without meat. Of course, it won’t taste exactly the same, but if you can make a version that is delicious and satisfying, mission accomplished! Meat eaters may partake without scorn.

My fiancé is a huge fan of sloppy joes. I’ve actually never had a sloppy joe (crazy, right?) and I’m not going to start handling ground beef anytime soon, so I whipped him up a vegetarian version. I guess you could look at this situation in one of two ways. One, that I’m really sweet and loving to make his favorite sammy veggie style. Or, two, I suck because I’m not willing to make the classic version he loves. I’ll go with the former and  hope he does too.

Ingredients: (makes 4 sandwiches)

4 Kaiser Rolls or Hamburger Buns

1/2 block firm or extra firm tofu (drained well)

2 cups finely chopped mushrooms

1/2 onion finely chopped

2 cloves minced garlic

1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans (or a 14 oz can, drained)

1 can tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 Tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce (or whatever hot sauce you like)

2 Tablespoons molasses (or honey)

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Directions: Use a food processor to crumble the tofu. Pulse a few times until it is broken into small, pebble sized, pieces.


On the stove top in a large pot, heat olive oil onions and garlic. Stir a few minutes until onions are translucent.

Next, add in the mushrooms, tofu, pinto beans, oregano, and tomato paste. Stir for about three minutes.


Stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, Sriracha, molasses and black pepper. Allow to cook for a few minutes. Give it a taste and see what you think. Add more spices to suite your taste.


Spoon the sloppy joe mix onto a Kaiser roll and top with your favorite toppings. Serve with a side of veggies or chips.


With an iced cold beer. Anchor Steam is a favorite in our house.


My fiancé and I were both big fans of this recipe, although he said it didn’t taste exactly the same as the traditional sloppy joe sauce. The texture was pretty close and it had a nice sweet and tangy tomato flavor.


Super sloppy!

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Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. Super Simple “Pad Thai”
  2. Spicy Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Sauce
  3. Game Day Eats
  4. White Bean Hummus Soup
  5. Wheatberry and Tomato Basil Salad


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Kerry August 8, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Thanks Jen, and thanks for answering so fast! :) I will play around with this & be sure to let you know. I am looking forward to it.

Kerry August 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm

I have been dying to find a good veggie sloppy joe recipe. I know I may be asking the impossible, but-if there a substitute for mushrooms? It calls for 2 Cups. But someone in my household is allergic. I was thinking about Veggie crumbles. But I’d was hoping to get something more natural as a substitute.


Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods August 8, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Yay! Glad to help! I think you could probably omit the mushrooms altogether without changing the flavors and textures too much. Since the recipe already has tofu, beans, onions, and garlic, it shouldn’t be a problem. But feel free to experiment. You could try using any veggie you like- finely chopped bell pepper, leeks, ramps, or even celery. It might be hard to find a good substitute for that earthy component that the mushrooms add but any veggies would work to add bulk and flavor. Let me know what you end up with!

Catherine June 16, 2011 at 6:34 pm

I just made this and it was so good. We are relatively new to vegetarian and my hubby still makes that face :-( But he went back for more! thank you for sharing

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods June 16, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Catherine, thank you so much for your comment! I’m go glad you and your hubby both enjoyed the recipe. Hopefully, you’ll be able to turn his frown upside down when it comes to eating those veggies ;)

Janee Juliano June 1, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Jenn – molto bouno! delicioso! This recipe turned out perfectly! I actually like it better than Manwich lol!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods June 2, 2011 at 8:08 am

Oh good! Glad you liked it!

Jen June 1, 2011 at 12:20 pm

This looks delicious ! Can’t wait to try it! I have actually never had a sloppy -joe and a vegetarian one seems so much more appealing !


Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods June 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Hope you like it! :)

sheila @ Elements May 31, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Awesome! Great idea to use beans, tofu, and mushrooms instead of meat! I’ll bet it’s wonderful! :)

Mushrooms Canada May 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm

This sounds delicious! I love using mushrooms as a meat substitute!
- Brittany

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods May 31, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Thanks, Brittany!

The Teenage Taste May 30, 2011 at 10:33 am

Vegetarian sloppy joes?! Oh you are awesome! I think I might surprise my meat-eating family with these one night! Great idea! :-)

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods May 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Hope you and your family like them!

Bakerbynature May 30, 2011 at 10:04 am

So sweet of you to put in the effort of adapting one of your fiances favorite meals into something you both can share! This looks really good, and I will give it a try for the vegetarians in my life.

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods May 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Aw, thanks Ashley!

Lauren at Keep It Sweet May 29, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I love sloppy joes and your veggie version looks delicious! I’d definitely try it:-)

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods May 29, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Thanks, Lauren! I hope you like it!

Aparna E. May 29, 2011 at 11:12 am

Omg. Did you seriously just make something this delicious?! I know what I’m trying this week :) I thought these were Boca crumbles. I had no idea you created that consistency with all those ingredients. So great!

Jen @ Keepitsimplefoods May 29, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Hope you like it, lady!

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