When I think back on my childhood, there are a few meat dishes that I really miss. Among these are Sloppy Joes. My three sisters and I loved "SloJoes" ... mmm, the sweet tomato sauce and soft, warm hamburger buns really bring back good memories.
Fast forward to adulthood, ground beef Sloppy Joes are not in the cards for me anymore, as I have become aware of the unhealthy, unsanitary state of factory-farmed ground beef and the immoral prospect of killing animals for my own gluttonous pleasure and coronary demise.
Luckily, I can have my Sloppy Joes and eat them too. I looked high and low for a non-meat Sloppy Joe recipe and created one that rivals, if not surpasses, recipes using real animal flesh. I like serving these Sloppy Joes on a soft multi-grain bun with a side salad or corn on the cob.
Here is the recipe:
1 8 oz. package tempeh, cubed (I prefer the soy kind)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black ground pepper
2 tbsp. vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. Tabasco or other hot sauce (optional)
Steam tempeh for 10 minutes in a steamer basket placed on top of a pot filled with water. Once the tempeh gives off a nutty aroma, after 10 minutes, it's ready. Transfer to a bowl and crumble it.
In a large-size saucepan over medium heat, heat oil and saute onion until translucent. Add bell pepper an tempeh, and saute for a few minutes more, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Add tomato sauce, chili powder, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and hot sauce (if using). Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes longer.
THE SKINNY ON TEMPEH
The first time I bought tempeh, I never thought that I would like it ... but I had to try it at least. I thought it looked weird and couldn't imagine how it could possibly be made to taste good. Since I had already bought the tempeh, I went ahead and made my first tempeh dish. To my surprise, my first attempt at cooking tempeh was a total success, and even my omnivore husband liked it ... and he doesn't like a lot of things. Since then, I have sought out tempeh recipes to try and even created some of my own.
The trick to cooking tempeh is to steam the tempeh, as noted above, crumble it, and then cook it with flavorful spices and sauces, since it really is a great vessel for flavor. To give the tempeh a better texture, I lightly fry the tempeh with a little canola oil and onion before I incorporate other ingredients. Tempeh also absorbs a good amount of water, not as much as rice or pasta, so be aware of keeping that water balance.
Nutritionally, tempeh is very nutritious, especially the one made from soybeans. Soybeans are regarded as equal in protein quality to animal foods. Just four (4) ounces of tempeh provides 41.3% of the Daily Value (DV) for protein for less than 225 calories and only 3.7 grams of saturated fat. Plus, the soy protein in tempeh tends to lower cholesterol levels, while consuming protein from animal sources tends to raise them. In addition, four (4)ounces of tempeh provides 23.5% of the DV for riboflavin, 21.9% of the DV for nature's blood vessel relaxant, magnesium, and 72.5% of the DV for manganese and 30.5% of the DV for copper, trace minerals that serve various physiological functions.
In additional, tempeh provides beneficial effects on cholesterol levels and platelets, stabilizes blood sugar, promotes gastrointestinal health, treats menopausal symptoms and lowers the incidence of prostate cancer.
So, try tempeh if you haven't. Who knows ... you might like it and improve your health quite a bit in the process with this super-healthy meat alternative.
Nancy, a.k.a. The Vegan Voice