Growing up, I loved Sloppy Joes! The tomatoey sauce, the grease, the mess—a child’s dream! I remember being so excited for Sloppy Joe night, only to later learn what I had been eating wasn’t a tomatoey revelation, but cows—just like the cute stuffed ones I played with at the time. Very Lisa Simpson-like, I began refusing the old meals I used to love and eat without questioning. Too many salads later, I knew veganizing the foods I once loved to eat was the only option to satisfy my inner foodie for years to come. I started, of course, with chocolate cake and poutine, but it wasn’t long until the Vegan Sloppy Joe was created. I started with the easiest method possible: using a GMO-free ground beef substitute that over the years, even my meat-eating family members have confessed to loving. Recently, I’ve become more and more creative (and hard to please!) and re-invented the original unhealthy Joe into a powerhouse of nutrients!

Check it out and vote for your favorite below!

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1. Veggie Ground Round or Textured Vegetable Protein- My First Attempt

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I’ve been eating Sloppy Joe’s for the better half of a decade. Each time I make one,  I tailor the recipe to my ever-changing preferences, adding different kinds and amounts of spices. I find TVP (textured vegetable protein  (which is soy-based) makes an excellent veggie ground round. Use the base recipe below and add-in whatever you like! Post pics in the comments section below to share your creation with fellow green monsters everywhere!

If you need a quick Sloppy Joe fix, this meal can be made in under 30 minutes.

What You Need:

1. Buns—I like round dinner or kaiser rolls, but sub buns work great, too.
2. Oil for pan—I use organic extra virgin olive oil
3. Organic tomato paste or crushed tomatoes and a little organic ketchup
4. Several cups of cooked textured vegetable protein—I use Yves Veggie Ground Round for convenience, texture and taste’s sake
5. Spices like: pepper, chili flakes, onion powder, paprika and more
6. Additional toppings like: diced onions, dairy-free cheese, cooked mushrooms, lettuce, diced tomatoes

Simply heat and oil a pan, toss the veggie ground round on and begin to cook. After the ground round is hot, toss in some organic tomato sauce or paste, a little organic ketchup and spices like: pepper, paprika, chilli flakes and onion powder. Add in some freshly diced cooking onions right before serving. Optional: top with dairy-free cheese.

How to Take this Meal to the Next Level of Awesome:

Toast your bun and add a thin layer of vegan margarine or mustard. Over-fill the bun—always.

2. Red Beans Buns — When I Need a Comforting Meal

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If you have pre-soaked or organic canned beans on hand, you’re ready to go! You can make this meal in under 20 minutes! Another bonus: beans are another convenient, and much less processed, way to achieve your Sloppy Joe dream; they also cost much less per pound on average than ground round. You can use any bean you love here, but I highly recommend trying red kidney beans first.

What You Need:

1. Buns
2. Oil for pan—I use organic extra virgin olive oil
3. Organic tomato paste or crushed tomatoes and a little organic ketchup
4. Several cups of cooked red kidney beans
5. Spices like: pepper, chili flakes, onion powder, paprika and more
6. Additional toppings like: diced onions, dairy-free cheese, lettuce, diced tomatoes

Simply heat and oil a pan. Then, toss the cooked red kidney beans in and begin to ever so gently mash the beans. When some of the beans are mashed, but not all, toss in some organic tomato sauce or paste, a little organic ketchup and spices like: pepper, paprika, chili flakes and onion powder. Add in some freshly diced cooking onions right before serving. Optional: top with dairy-free cheese.

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How to Take this Meal to the Next Level of Awesome:

Toast your bun and add a thin layer of vegan margarine or mustard. Over-fill the bun—always. Additional: Spice it up further with a dash of homemade hot sauce.

3. International Joe: Warm Curried Lentil Sloppy Joes

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Green lentils, turmeric, yellow curry, tomatoes and a warm bun—what more does one really need? This version is my latest, born out of both boredom and a desire to increase my turmeric consumption without drinking these amazing tonics I can’t seem to fall in love with just yet.

What You Need:

1. Buns
2. Oil for pan
3. Organic chunky tomatoes or crushed tomatoes
4. Several cups of cooked green lentils
5. 1/4 cooking onion, sliced
6. Spices: cinnamon, turmeric, yellow curry, cumin

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Toss onion slices into oiled and heated stock pot and sauté. Add in all spices. Add in cooked green lentils and tomatoes. Simmer, adding additional spice to your liking.

How to Take this Meal to the Next Level of Awesome:

Toast your bun and add a thin layer of vegan margarine or mustard. Over-fill the bun—always. Additional: Spice it up further with a dash of homemade hot sauce. Or, you can skip the bun and add this to a garlic pita for a lighter meal, as shown in the photo above.

You can make Sloppy Joes with so many different plants that it’s not even logical to consider taking a cow’s life for this (or any) meal. Don’t see what you like here? Try Easy Vegan Sloppy Joes or regular Vegan Sloppy Joes, both tried, true, and very much loved recipes!

Do you make vegan Sloppy Joes?

Image Source: Vegan Sloppy Joes