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Add some fun and flavor to your weeknight menu with these Vegan Sloppy Joes. They are sweet, tangy, smoky and deliciously messy! Your family will love ’em!
What’s not to love about this American classic? Sloppy Joes are inexpensive, satisfying, protein-rich and damn delicious! It’s a meal that never gets boring and I make them all the time for my family.
I used to make them with lentils and they are tasty, but I always felt something was missing texturally. Then I tried Tempeh Sloppy Joes from Green Chef and I was really impressed. It was super delicious and the tempeh created a better texture than the lentils, but I felt it still needed more chew.
So, I decided to try my own version and added mushrooms for a more meaty texture. They worked perfectly together! I also added a more smoky flavor to the sauce to balance out the sweetness and tang. It’s mouth-watering good!
DO THEY TASTE LIKE THE CLASSIC VERSION?
Well, yes and no. They do have the same sweet and tangy flavors as the original, but they don’t have the same texture as ground meat. It’s pretty darn close though! I don’t think it will fool a carnivore, but I bet they would enjoy them though.
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN SLOPPY JOES
(FULL INGREDIENT AMOUNT IN RECIPE CARD BELOW)
They are really easy to make and will feed between 6-7 people. Prepping should take about 10-15 minutes and then it all goes in one pan from there. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
STEP 1 – MAKE THE SAUCE
STEP 2 – CHOP
This part is easy and you don’t have to cut anything perfectly. Just try to keep things small and similarly sized. Start by dicing the Onions and Peppers into small pieces. They will cook and soften much faster this way. It eliminates any crunch in the sloppy joe mixture, too. If you like that, then you don’t have to worry about cutting small.
Now, finely chop the mushrooms into small pieces, but don’t mince them. This will prevent them from disappearing in the pan and will create a nice meaty chew for your sloppy joes. Now, crumble the Tempeh into small pieces (about the size of blueberries). For the Garlic, you can either mince, chop or crush. It’s all up to you!
STEP 3 – COOK
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once heated, add the onions and peppers. Sauté until tender.
- Now add garlic and sauté until fragrant for 30-60 seconds.
- Add the mushrooms and sauté until they have released their moisture, reduced in size and are slightly browned.
- Now stir in the tempeh and vegetable broth. Cover with lid and turn the heat up to bring to a simmer, then lower heat to keep a low simmer. Cook for 10 minutes until liquid has cooked off.
- Stir in the sauce and raise heat to bring to a simmer, then lower heat to keep a low simmer. Cook uncovered until sauce reduces and thickens up.
HOW SHOULD I SERVE VEGAN SLOPPY JOES?
The mixture is delicious enough to stand alone on toasted hamburger buns or hot dog buns. But, if you want to amp things up, you can top it with Vegan Cheddar Cheese, Sliced Red Onion, Vegan Mayo, Mustard, Vegan Sour Cream, Sweet Relish, Pickles, Coleslaw, Jalapeños or anything that strikes your fancy!
It’s very filling on its own, but if you want to serve something on the side, Salads, French Fries, and Potato Chips are all tasty choices!
CAN I SAVE AND REHEAT THE LEFTOVERS?
Yes, the sloppy joe mixture is delicious the next day for breakfast, lunch or dinner and It will stay fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days. Just heat the mixture in a pot over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until warmed throughout. I usually add a splash of vegetable broth or water to thin a little and prevent sticking.
I haven’t tried to freeze the sloppy joe mixture yet, but I’ll update when I do.
WANT MORE EASY AND INEXPENSIVE VEGAN MEALS? CHECK THESE OUT:
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU
If you make these Vegan Sloppy Joes, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.
Vegan Sloppy Joes
Sloppy Joe Sauce
- 15 ounces tomato sauce , canned
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar , more to taste
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari , low sodium (sub soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce (sub vegan steak sauce)
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (sub apple cider vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke *optional
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or preferred oil
- 1 small red onion , diced small
- 1 small green bell pepper , diced small
- 3-4 cloves garlic , minced or crushed
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms , finely chopped, but not minced.
- 8 ounces tempeh , crumbled (not all are GF so check package)
- 1 cup vegetable broth , low sodium
- Salt and fresh cracked pepper , to taste
- 7 hamburger buns (GF if preferred)
- In a medium bowl, whisk all the sauce ingredients to combine well (tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, tamari, chili powder, smoked paprika, vinegar). Set aside
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once heated, add the onions and peppers. Sauté for 6-8 minutes until tender.
- Now add garlic and sauté until fragrant for about 30-60 seconds.
- Add the mushrooms and sauté until they have released their moisture, reduced in size and are slightly browned. The pan should be mostly dry. About 6-8 minutes.
- Now stir in the tempeh and vegetable broth. Cover with lid and turn heat up to bring to a simmer, then lower heat to keep a low simmer. Cook for 10 minutes until liquid has cooked off. If it doesn't cook off at the 10-minute mark, uncover for 2-3 minutes until the pan is mostly dry (a little liquid is fine).
- Stir in the sauce and raise heat to bring to a simmer, then lower heat to keep a low simmer for about 8-10 minutes. Cook uncovered until sauce reduces and thickens up. You want it to be saucy, but not runny.
- Serve on toasted hamburger buns. See note for topping ideas. Enjoy!