Vegetarian Sloppy Joes
It's not like evil family members and friends were holding sloppy joes just out of my reach and taunting me; the older I got, the less appeal they held for me. Ground beef and tomato sauce on a bun? Meh. But last week I came across a recipe for a vegetarian version of a sloppy joe that I just knew I had to try. So I tweaked and adjusted and came up with a pretty damn good joe. These are sweet and a bit spicy and full of beans. There is tofu in there too, but unless you are the one making them, no one would know.sandwich.
recipe adapted from The Rebar Modern Food Cookbook.
Serves 4 generously.
1/2 block of firm tofu
1 tb oil
1/2 of a red or yellow onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 yellow, red or orange pepper, finely diced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chile powder
1/4 tsp Chinese five spice powder
1 can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup of the bean liquid
1/2 cup water
2 tb molasses
1 tb hot sauce
1 tb apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tb tomato paste
3 smallish tomatos, chopped
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
4 whole wheat buns, toasted
About 1/2 hour before you start cooking, place the tofu on a plate. Lay another plate on top of the tofu and place some kind of weight (large food can or heavy pot or pan) on top of the plate. Let sit on the counter.
Start the sauce. Heat the oil in a medium pot. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes then add the cumin, chile powder, five spice powder and stir for 2 more minutes. Add the kidney beans thru oregano. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered for 30 minutes. Make sure you stir from time to time.
While the sauce is simmering preheat the oven to 350'. Drain off all the liquid that has come out of the tofu and crumble up the tofu into small pieces. Sprinkle onto a baking sheet and bake the tofu for 15 minutes.
After the sauce has simmered for 30 minutes stir in the tofu. Taste and season with more salt, pepper and hot sauce if needed. When the tofu is heated through, spoon onto the toasted buns and serve right away.