As a child of the 70’s and 80’s with 2 working parents, I ate my fair share of packaged foods. Yes we had many home-cooked meals, but we also regularly indulged in Hamburger Helper, TV Dinners, Frozen Pizza, Kraft Dinner and Chef Boyardee products (I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I loved all of these things although the beef ravioli was my absolute favourite).
And do you remember Sloppy Joes? My mom would fry up some ground beef, add in a packet of Sloppy Joe mix and some tomato sauce and we’d dollop it on top of big crusty buns. Messy, kid-friendly and delicious!
As a health conscious person and non-meat eater, I mostly try to stay away from those foods today- but every once in a while I get a craving for a good old-fashioned throw-back meal. That’s why when I saw a recipe for Tofu Sloppy Joe’s in the Moosewood Cookbook I just had to give it a try.
These babies were delicious! Runny tomatoey goodness on top of Kaiser rolls with wedge potatoes and a salad on the side made for a tasty, protein-rich and somewhat decadent meal that everyone tucked into (as an alternative – you could also serve the mixture on top of rice, quinoa or noodles).
So stock up on the napkins and try this new take on an old classic. You might also want to set the scene by pumping up some New Kids On The Block music, teasing your bangs and slipping into a jacket with shoulder pads, hoop earrings and neon leg warmers ; )
Tofu Sloppy Joes (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 cake extra firm tofu, squeezed to remove excess water and crumbled (look for an organic non-GMO brand)
1/2 of a large can of diced tomatoes (I like Eden Organic brand)
1 can of sliced organic mushrooms
2/3 cup pasta sauce (I like Eden Organic brand)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6-8 large buns
Grated vegan or regular cheese (optional)
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and sauté onion and garlic for approximately 5 minutes until softened. Add red pepper and carrot and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the crumbled tofu, tomatoes, mushrooms, sauce, basil, coriander, brown sugar and salt and simmer together for 10-15 minutes. Add additional salt and black pepper to taste.
Slice the rolls and fill with desired amount of Sloppy Joe mixture. Add grated cheese if desired.