My current favorite version of sloppy Joes are the Smoky Joes from Vegan on the Cheap. I make them with ground seitan, although you can use what you like, including veggie burger crumbles, cooked lentils, tempeh, or even bulgur. Smoky Joes get their smokiness (and heat) from chipotle chiles in adobo. I like to make up a batch ahead of time to give the flavors a chance to get even better. Then it’s just heat and eat.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Smoky Joes helped me celebrate my “independence” from the kitchen on the 4th of July this year. Served with pasta slaw and some chips, we enjoyed a fun, no-fuss meal and finished up in time to watch the fireworks.
Smoky Joes are also a great choice to bring along if you’re invited to an omni cookout since you might not want to put your veggie burgers on a grill where meat is cooking. In case you don’t have your own copy of Vegan on the Cheap yet, here’s the recipe for Smoky Joes:
8 ounces seitan
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced green bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1 or 2 chipotle chiles in adobo, finely minced
1 teaspoon brown mustard
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon Liquid Smoke
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 burger rolls
1. Shred, grind, or finely chop the seitan and set it aside.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, cover, and cook until softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds longer. Stir in the chopped seitan and the soy sauce and cook for 2 to 3 minutes to lightly brown.
3. Stir in the ketchup, tomato paste, water, chipotle chiles, mustard, chili powder, paprika, Liquid Smoke, salt, and pepper. Mix well, adding a little more water if the mixture is too dry. Simmer for 5 minutes to blend flavors.
4. When ready to serve, spoon the mixture onto the rolls and serve hot.