Not-So-Meaty Sloppy Joe’s

The tastiness of a Sloppy Joe, without the unhealthiness…is it possible?  I had a hunch that it must be, and if not, we will make it possible!  I have experienced these sandwiches under a variety of names across the country such as Steamers, Wimpies, Yip Yips, Dynamites and Slushburgers, yet they all share very similar ingredients which are not very good for our bodies.

Among the list of unhealthy ingredients that can be found in this sandwich is high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, non-organic meat and thickening agents.  It’s fairly simple to create a healthier recipe for Sloppy Joes by using some more nutritious ingredients such as organic meat if you so choose, or even elimiate the meat completely and use a substitute such as beans (lentil, kidney, black and pinto), tofu, bulgar, tempeh, brown rice, quinoa and more.  I decided to try this vegetarian recipe from Rachel Ray that uses portabella mushooms as the ‘meat’, which is delicious!

INGREDIENTS

  •  1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pound portabella mushroom caps, wiped clean and diced into small, bite-sized pieces
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, eyeball it
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 crusty rolls, split, toasted and lightly buttered
  • Sliced or chopped dill pickles, for garnish

PREPARATION

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until golden brown, 7-8 minutes.

Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper to the pan and season liberally with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the veggies are tender, 5-6 minutes more. Add the tomato paste to the pan and cook 1 minute.

In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire and tomato sauce. Add the mixture to the skillet and simmer until thickened and saucy.

Pile the Sloppy Veggie Joes onto toasted, buttered bun bottoms and top with pickles and bun tops.  ENJOY!!!

*I enjoyed avocado slices and spinach to my sandwich, as well as used a gluten free bun since I am gluten intolerant.  If you want to avoid using a bun, you can always try a lettuce wrap-style sandwich.

*Be careful of the Wostershire Sauce ingredients if you are gluten-free.  Some contain malt vinegar or soy sauce. I found Wan Ja Shan Organic Worcestershire Sauce which is gluten free.

*If you do not enjoy mushrooms, try eggplant or shredded zucchini.  I think both those options sound delicious and will try them out soon!

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