Oh, the Sloppy Joe. This messy, tomato sauce and beef sandwich was a school lunch favorite, and honestly, that alone should probably convince me to never touch it again. I do, however, remember it fondly, and was thrilled when I saw a vegetarian chickpea version on the menu at a local cafe. As delicious as their sandwich was, it didn’t taste like a Sloppy Joe– the sauce was different. To make a more accurate vegetarian Sloppy Joe, you could, of course, just go buy a can of Manwich and add chickpeas. Yes, you could do that. However, if you’re trying to avoid the dreaded High Fructose Corn Syrup, as well as pre-made food with hard-to-pronounce ingredients, you might prefer to make your own sauce. This vegan Chickpea Sloppy Joe is delicious, simple, and takes about 15 minutes start to finish.
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If you want your sandwich to taste like the original Sloppy Joe, you’re going to have to use ketchup. I tried to avoid it– I tried other combinations– but it’s needed. Personally, I buy this organic Heinz ketchup, because it’s corn syrup free, I can pronounce every ingredient, and it’s in the same price range as the original Heinz ketchup. If, however, you aren’t concerned about duplicating the classic Joe taste, substitute the ketchup for a can of fire roasted tomatoes. It’ll still taste delicious, and it’ll have less sugar.
To make this sandwich, start by roasting chickpeas (sometimes labeled garbanzo beans) for 10 minutes, just long enough to make them slightly crunchy. While the chickpeas cook, sauté onions, garlic, and bell pepper, and then stir in the rest of your sauce ingredients. When the chickpeas are done roasting, stir them in, and you’re finished! Pile the sloppy faux-Joe onto whatever light and fluffy sandwich buns you prefer, and chow down.
Want more food? Try these recipes:
Chickpea Sloppy Joe
- 1 15oz can chickpeas, drained + patted dry
- 1 TB olive oil
- 1/2 diced onion
- 1 TB minced garlic
- 1/2 diced green pepper
- 1 tsp prepared yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup ketchup (organic, without corn syrup preferred)**
- 4 oz tomato sauce
- ~ 1 tsp brown sugar, to taste
- salt + pepper to taste
- sandwich buns to serve
- **Optional change: For a healthier sandwich with less sugar, substitute 1 15oz can of fire roasted tomatoes for the ketchup. Your sandwich will still be delicious, but will taste less like a traditional sloppy joe.
Preheat oven to 450ºF.
Line a baking sheet with foil and brush with oil. Spread chickpeas on baking sheet and roast 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in medium to large saucepan. When oil begins to ripple, add onion and cook 2-3 minutes until they start to soften. Add garlic and green pepper, and sauté 2-3 more minutes.
Add mustard, ketchup, and tomato sauce. Sauté until heated through, then add sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Remove chickpeas from oven, and stir into sauce.
Serve mixture hot on sandwich buns.