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Sloppy Joe the Vegan Sandwich

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Recipe By Christina Pirello

There is something about a messy, meaty sandwich that has stolen America’s heart, and health. In this version, the filling is lean, meat-free, and saturated fat-free, but loaded with the taste and texture we have come to adore, and the nutrients we need.

Makes 4 sandwiches


For the Salad:

  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • Sea salt
  • 1 (8-ounce) package tempeh, crumbled
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce (no sugar added)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
  • Scant pinch chili powder
  • Scant pinch cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon celery seed
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 4 whole-grain hamburger buns


    1. Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt for 2–3 minutes. Stir in crumbled tempeh and cook, stirring until the tempeh begins to brown. Add peppers and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in tomato sauce, soy sauce, syrup, spices, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 10–15 minutes.
    2. While the tempeh mixture cooks, heat a lightly oiled griddle and lay the hamburger buns, cut side down, on the hot griddle to lightly toast them.
    3. To serve, spoon hot tempeh mixture onto buns and serve with lots of napkins.

Reminder: The ingredients in a recipe determine if it should be eaten every day, some days, or on special occasions. It's up to you and you doctor to determine what can be part of a healthy diet for you and any special needs you may have.

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Photo by Flicker user mollycakes / CC BY-NC 2.0

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