27 May 2017

Recipe: Vegan Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes are another of my favorite childhood sandwiches. We ate them on white bread and Mom always made the filling from scratch, never from a can. This version, made with high-fiber, vitamin- and mineral-rich wheat berries, has all of the flavor that kids love in a Sloppy Joe without the unwanted animal protein or fat.

Makes 6 sandwiches - Vegan

  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped 
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups cooked wheat berries (see Tip)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato puree 
  • 1/3 cup Date Puree (recipe below) 
  • 1/4 cup ketchup 
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce or tamari 
  • Sea salt and black pepper 
  • 6 whole-grain hamburger buns
  1. Sauté the onion, bell pepper, and celery in a medium-size skillet over medium heat for 7 to 8 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. 
  2. Add the cooked wheat berries, tomato puree, date puree, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. 
  3. Place the bottom halves of each hamburger bun on a work surface and top with some of the filling. Place the tops of the buns on the sandwiches and serve.
Wheat berries can be found at natural food stores and online retailers. To cook them, combine 2/3 cup wheat berries and 2 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook for 50 to 60 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the wheat berries are tender.

I use this puree in a lot of dessert recipes. It is a great way to get your family off processed sugar.

Makes 3 cups
  • 2 cups pitted dates 
  • 2 cups water
  1. Combine the dates and water in a small saucepan. Cover and cook over medium heat until the dates are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and reserve the cooking water. 
  2. Puree the dates in a blender, adding just enough water to make a creamy consistency. Let cool to room temperature, then store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Add as little water as possible to the dates to concentrate the sweetness in the puree. Date puree is not a 1:1 replacement for sugar and, to the newbie, may not taste as sweet. If you are trying to use this date puree instead of sugar in your favorite recipes, you may need to cut back a bit on the liquid in your recipe, and it may take a little experimentation to figure out exactly how much date puree to use.

Recipe courtesy of The China Study Family Cookbook.
Chef Del Sroufe is co-owner and Executive Chef of Wellness Forum Foods. He is the author of Forks Over Knives-The Cookbook, The China Study Quick & Easy Cookbook, The China Study Family Cookbook, and Better Than Vegan, the story of his struggle with weight loss and gain, and how he managed to lose over 200 pounds on a low fat, plant based diet. Del teaches cooking classes and helps people transition to a plant-based diet. Learn more at chefdelsroufe.com.