Didn’t it always seem like Sloppy Joes were the one recipe your elementary school got right? Everything else usually ended up in the garbage (like those hockey pucks they called chicken nuggets? Blech). When you got older, Sloppy Joes were the one meal you kinda, sorta wished someone would cook for you, even though you’re supposed to want more “grown-up” foods like salads. Well, here you go: a Sloppy Joe sandwich that tastes better than your old cafeteria’s, and it happens to be vegan! Mashed chickpeas are a surprisingly good substitute for ground meat, and the flavor of these sandwiches is so addictive, both children and adults will be asking for seconds.
1. In a medium bowl, mash the chickpeas with a fork into small chunks or shreds. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature. Open the buns and heat the halves, cut side up, on the center rack (or on a baking sheet) for 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large shallow saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Add the bell pepper and mashed chickpeas; sauté about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, liquid aminos, sriracha, maple syrup, oregano, cumin, paprika, thyme, liquid smoke, nutritional yeast (if using), salt, and pepper; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until heated through and slightly thickened. If it sticks, add a little water to deglaze the pan and lower the heat a bit.
4. Scoop the chickpea mixture onto the warmed buns and top with a dollop of Tofu Sour Cream or vegan mayonnaise (if using). Serve immediately. Leftover filling can be chilled in an airtight container 3 to 4 days.
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Recipe from But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It’s Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over Dinner, copyright © Kristy Turner, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. www.theexperimentpublishing.com