These easy flavorful Tofu Sloppy Joes are a healthy version of a childhood classic. Made with pantry staples and ready in under 30 minutes!
One thing I love about being a vegan food blogger is making veganized versions of classic recipes. There's a reason classic recipes are popular. They have just the right flavors and textures that hit the spot.
These Tofu Sloppy Joes are no exception. They are a veganized version of one of my childhood favorites done my way.
I used crumbled extra firm tofu for the protein because I love the flavor and texture. Tofu takes on any flavor you add to it, making it the perfect blank canvas.
For the tofu, I combined tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, mustard, and spices. I used red pepper because I prefer it over green pepper, but you could use either one.
For the buns, I used some gluten-free millet and chia buns. I was recently introduced to millet and chia bread and immediately fell in love.
It's got a soft fluffy texture like white bread, which is a nice change of pace from the dense gluten-free bread I have been eating.
I decided the millet and chia buns would pair nicely with the Vegan Sloppy Joes since they are so light.
When I made these healthy sloppy joes I found myself singing Adam Sandler's song, "Sloppy Joe, Slop-Sloppy Joe..." I dare you to not sing it while you're making this recipe. It's quite catchy.
Make a Vegan Tater Tots recipe to go with it.
This is an overview of the ingredients. To see the full list of ingredients with measurements and instructions, see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Onion: Adds a sweet pungent flavor. I used a yellow onion.
- Olive oil: To cook the tofu filling in.
- Tofu: You can use firm tofu or extra firm tofu. Both are found packed in water in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
- Garlic: Adds a pungent flavor.
- Red bell pepper: Adds sweetness. You could also use a green bell pepper.
- Tomato sauce: Normally Sloppy Joes are made with ketchup. The combination of tomato sauce and tomato paste along with brown sugar replaces the ketchup.
- Tomato paste: Adds a rich concentrated tomato flavor. If you don't use it often, you can buy it in a tube and it will last longer.
- Brown sugar: Adds sweetness.
- Tamari: I used a low-sodium gluten-free tamari because I like to control the amount of salt. You could also use soy sauce.
- Chili powder, cumin, paprika, mustard: Adds warm spices found in Sloppy Joes.
- Salt and pepper: Enhances flavors and adds flavor.
- Hamburger buns: I used some soft squishy buns from Little Northern Bakehouse.
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In a large skillet on medium heat, add olive oil. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent.
Add crumbled tofu. Cook until starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and red pepper. Cook until crisp-tender. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, tamari, and spices.
Cook for several minutes, until the sauce thickens.
The sloppy joe mixture will last about 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Assemble sandwiches right before serving.
- Crumble the tofu before you add it to the onions instead of as the onions are cooking. It takes a while to crumble and you don't want to overcook the onions.
- Cook the ingredients in the order given, but if you're unsure that you'll like an ingredient, or are unsure about the amount, start with less. You can always add more, but you can't take it away.
- Taste as you go, and add more of an ingredient if that's your preference.
- For the best bun-to-filling ratio, scoop out a little bread out of the top bun.
These hearty vegan Sloppy Joes with Tofu are pure comfort food deliciousness! They are sure to become a family favorite.
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Tofu Sloppy Joes
- 1 cup chopped onion (½ medium onion)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 14 ounces extra firm or firm tofu crumbled
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ cups chopped red pepper (1 red pepper)
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons low sodium gluten free tamari
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- 4 hamburger buns -I used millet and chia
- Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat. Add onions. Cook until translucent.
- Add crumbled tofu. Cook about 5 minutes, until it's starting to brown.
- Add garlic and red pepper. Cook until crisp tender.
- Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, tamari, mustard, and spices. Cook for a few minutes, until sauce thickens.
*Note: Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only. Different nutrition calculators give you different results.