Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Vegan Soy Sloppy Joes

Photo: Learning Vegan
This recipe is for "Messy Mikes" from my favorite cookbook author Joanne Stepaniak's book Vegan Vittles.  She offers two versions: one made with tempeh and one with TVP (texturized vegetable protein).  I'm reprinting her TVP version here because while Mexico doesn't have tempeh, every corner store in the country seems to carry TVP (they call it "soya"), along with the rest of these everyday ingredients.  Make this recipe, and your Mexican friends will once again be so surprised at how you can use common Mexican ingredients to create such an exotic traditional gringo dish!

A note on some of the ingredients: this recipe calls for ketchup and apple cider vinegar.  If you're in Mexico, I highly suggest you work hard to find Heinz ketchup.  I found it in Sam's Club.  US-style ketchup is far superior to Mexican-style ketchup, which is so watered down that it hardly tastes like tomato at all and the color looks like orange soda syrup.  Since Heinz has more tomatoes, it's also more prostate-healthy than its Mexican counterpart.  So splurge.  You won't regret it.

This recipe also calls for apple cider vinegar.  Stay away from the grocery store, because most of those vinegars are white vinegar (you know, the kind made from wood chips) with food coloring.  I kid you not, check out the ingredients.  Traditional Mexican markets (the mercaditos) have fabulous homemade apple cider vinegar!  You'll find them at a lot of vegetable stands.  They'll be in plastic water bottles with the labels peeled off.  They'll look a lot like honey, and maybe you always thought they were honey, but they're not!  If you haven't seen what I'm talking about, go to your local mercadito and ask any vendor where they sell vinagre de manzana casero.  Store-bought vinegar will do in a pinch, but, again, the real thing is really worth the effort.  And it's just better for you.

So, without further ado, here is Joanne Stepaniak's Messy Mikes:


  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 c. TVP rehydrated with 7/8 c. water
  • 2 TB soy sauce
  • 1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1 tsp sweetener of your choice (I use sugar)
  • 1 tsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • Bread rolls (try bolillos or hamburger buns)
  1. Soak the TVP in the water while you dice the onions (it should soak at least 5 minutes).
  2. Place the oil in a 2-quart saucepan, and heat it over medium-high.  When the oil is hot, add the diced onion, TVP, and soy sauce, and sauté them until the onion is tender and lightly browned, about ten minutes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients except the bread, and mix well.  Reduce heat to medium, and simmer the mixture, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring often and making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan.  
  4. Open the rolls as if you were to make a sandwich and stuff them with the TVP mixture.  Serve and enjoy!

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