Chickpea Sloppy Joes

Chris Miller

Gluten-Free, Nut-Free

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.

  • 4 cups (510 g) cooked chickpeas or two 15-ounce (425 g) cans, rinsed and drained
  • Vegan hamburger buns (gluten-free, if necessary)
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • One 15-ounce (425 g) can unsalted, diced fire-roasted tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons liquid aminos (or tamari or soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, optional
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Tofu Sour Cream or vegan mayonnaise, optional

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.

Cook time: 
Serves 6 to 8
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