Vegetarian Tempeh Sloppy Joe

By: The Local Palate
Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

In the mood for a messy and indulgent sandwich that is completely meat-free? These vegetarian sloppy joes are doused in complex flavors like molasses, chili powder, and smoked paprika. In West Virginia, Von Blaze uses a sprouted oat bun for their vegetarian sloppy joes, but a potato or brioche bun works just as well. They finish the sandwich with house-pickled jalapeños and crispy fried onions for an added crunch. 

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Serves 4

  • 1 (8-ounce) package tempeh
  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 4 potato or brioche buns
  1. In a food processor, blend tempeh and garbanzo beans, or chop by hand until it reaches the consistency of cooked ground beef. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-low and add garlic; stir until fragrant and slightly browned. Add cumin, chili powder, and paprika and stir until fragrant. Add tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, and dijon, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.
  3. In a sauté pan, combine remaining oil, bell pepper, and onion over medium heat and sauté until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add tempeh and garbanzo mixture and continue cooking until warmed through. Add sauce to the pan and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until heated through. 
  4. 4. Scoop heaping piles of tempeh mixture onto each bun and serve.


  • Recipe By
    Ricky Moore from Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham, North Carolina

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