WHOA! This recipe turned out so good! But it’s an adaptation of this one, so I’d better give credit where it’s due. Thank you, Rachel Ray. Thank you for having a recipe that showed up near the top of my sloppy joe google search. Sloppy Joes are, in my opinion, a traditional suburban ’comfort food’. I don’t remember eating them at home growing up. I also didn’t eat things like tuna casserole or swedish meatballs or quiche lorraine or chicken a la king. I grew up with a culturally curious Mother who liked to try different things. So, I was well versed with sushi and enchilladas and salmon and raw oysters (funny story) and calamari from a very young age. But, my memories of sloppy joes from friends’ houses or school are of this sweet, rich tomatoey sauce and a messy meat wad on a bun that could barely contain it. This recipe brought those memories back…but of course, it’s elevated from the canned joe sauce.
Adapting recipes to their vegan or vegetarian equivalent is quite simple. You just have to remember to read the labels of bottles of anything that has multiple ingredients. I learned last year that worchestershire sauce is not veg-friendly; anchovies, who woulda thunk? But I think the stuff tastes weird, so I never use it anyway (whew). I would say that using Braggs in it’s place, or nothing, is fine. Now, I call this recipe vegan — because it is. But, you’ll see in the picture that we have cheese on our bun. I don’t believe in vegan cheese (why bother, I say)…so, it’s a creamy gouda But, do as you will.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pkg of original veggie ground round
- 1 small eggplant, diced finely (like those bitty diced hashbrowns)
- 1/8 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon steak seasoning blend, (I used Club House Montreal Steak spice, and was pleased to finally have a recipe that required it, the stuff is kind of harsh on everything…steak included)
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning (or oregano)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2-3 cloves of garlic – minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tomatoes emulsified with an immersion blender (sounds complicated, but we didn’t have tomato sauce) (or a small can of tomato sauce)
- 1/2 small can tomato paste
- 2-4 buns that have enough mmmmph to withstand a pile of saucy goodness when toasted
- any other toppings you want on a sloppy joe. Keeping in mind that you’ll most likely want to fork and knife this daddy-o. I sliced and fried up a portobello mushroom and melted some cheese on my bun.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and onion to the pan. When the onion is translucent, add the eggplant. Within a few minutes, the pan will seem dry, so add a splash of water. Continue to saute for 5 more minutes.
Add the garlic, garlic powder, brown sugar, steak seasoning, italian seasoning. and apple cider vinegar. Let it go, stirring regularly for 5 minutes.
Add tomatos and paste to pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook Sloppy Joe mixture 5-7 minutes longer. Do keep an eye on it, because the sugar will start to burn if left to be for too long.
The mix will thicken turning it into a good slop. It’s ready to serve. Hot!