J requested Sloppy Joes for dinner the other night. I cannot believe that of all the wonderful and savory dishes that he could request from our recipe collection (and our library of 85+ cookbooks), the Sloppy Joe is the gastronomical choice that he made. What’s more, I cannot believe that I am married to someone who considers slop on a bun a worthwhile meal (but that is a post topic for another time!).
I hated (er, strongly disliked) Sloppy Joes as a kid (and I haven’t had one since). The vile concoctions were a regular lunch menu item at school and, even worse, they made a weekly appearance at the family dinner table, too. Ketchup-y tomato sauce and greasy ground beef on a day old bun: gag! But, I had a moment of weakness and I agreed to make the requested sloppy sandwich for him, despite my obvious bias. Since he was requesting the vegan version of the Sloppy Joe sandwich that he ate as a kid, I used the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook as my starting point. Then I altered the recipe as I cooked and taste-tested.
To serve the Sloppy J’s, I made homemade burger buns in the bread machine from a recipe that I had printed a few years ago and stuck in the BHG cookbook. Clearly, this was a night of firsts for me! My vegan version of the buns were unbelievably good and ridiculously easy; we may never eat store-bought buns again. The next time I make these buns, though, I think I will use all white whole wheat flour and omit the all-purpose flour altogether.
All that being said, the sandwiches weren’t that bad. I would give the ‘slop’ part 3 stars, but bump it up at least another star due to the homemade bun awesomeness! Truthfully, that is quite an endorsement from me, considering how I loathe the meat version of the Sloppy Joe. As for the girl, she groaned (quite loudly) when she heard what we were having for dinner but then she ate two sandwiches (and requested that I make the buns “all the time”, too)! As further endorsement, the girl (who rejects all things “leftover”) polished off the leftover Sloppy J filling and the buns as after school snacks. She toasted the bun and added a slice of American flavor Tofutti cheese, too.
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Makes about 6 sandwiches
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained and juices reserved
1 beef flavored bouillon cube dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
1-1/2 cups dry textured vegetable protein (TVP)
2 medium/large garlic cloves, minced
1 small/medium sweet onion, diced
1 small/medium green bell pepper, diced
1 14-ounce can ‘no-salt-added’ tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 Tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
4 to 6 generous dashes of hot pepper sauce (we use Louisiana Hot Sauce)
Burger buns (homemade recipe below)
Drain the tomatoes and set the juice aside. Mix the Not-Beef bouillon cube with the hot water and stir to dissolve. Measure the TVP into a small bowl and add the hot broth and 1/4 cup of the reserved tomato juice; stir to combine. Let stand about 10 minutes.
Spray a large cast-iron skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion and bell pepper. Sauté until crisp-tender.
Stir in the reserved tomatoes, tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, and the hot pepper sauce. Bring to a gentle boil, cut the heat and add the TVP. Simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes.
Serve on burger buns or rolls (toasted, if desired).
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Bread Machine Hamburger Buns
Makes 8 burger or 12 hotdog buns
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup canola oil
Ener-G Egg Replacer for 1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour 2-3/4 cups + 1 Tablespoon white whole wheat flour 1 cup white whole wheat flour 3 Tablespoons soy flour
2 Tablespoons vital wheat gluten
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup organic sugar
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
Place the water, oil and the egg replacer in the bread machine pan and stir with a spatula.
Whisk together the dry ingredients, except the yeast, and pour into the bread machine pan. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the yeast. Close the lid and select the ‘dough’ setting, and press the start button. Don’t walk away until a cohesive dough ball has formed: use the spatula to scrape the sides of the bread pan down, if necessary.
At the end of the dough cycle, pre-heat the oven to 400 F. Remove the bread pan from the machine and turn the dough out on a lightly-floured counter. Gently roll and shape the dough into a rope 12-inches long.
With a sharp knife, divide the dough rope into 8 pieces for hamburger buns or 12 pieces for hot dog buns. Roll the pieces of dough into balls and flatten for hamburger buns or shape into 6-inch rolls for hot dog buns. Place on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
Cover and let the buns rise in a warm place 15 to 20 minutes, or until almost doubled (I used the top of the pre-heating oven).
After the buns have risen, bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Split the buns horizontally with a sharp bread knife before serving. Extra buns may be stored in a plastic bag in the freezer for 3 to 4 weeks (I wouldn’t know, though; our buns disappeared within 2 days!).