At our vegetarian and gluten free homestead we’re always craving recipes that have a couple of common characteristics, namely they’re simple and new. My significant other is a vegetarian and has Celiac disease, and is thus forced to eat gluten free. Since I never want food boredom to set in for her, I’m always on the lookout for a new recipe. This particular recipe came partly from a cookbook and partly from kitchen experimentation, and as always we strive for organic only items and the most local ingredients available.
This happens to be a fun recipe too since it’s for sloppy Joe’s, a food that for most people hearkens back to childhood days eating sloppy Joe’s at home or in the elementary school cafeteria. Please bear in mind though that this recipe should be much better for you than the mystery stuff that was in those sloppy Joe’s we all ate as kids.
You’ll need:– 1/2 an onion, chopped – 1-2 cloves of garlic, chopped – 1 cup of cooked brown rice – 1 cup of cooked beans of your choice (I prefer pinto or navy beans, but you can use just about any kind) – 1/2 pound of firm or extra firm tofu, diced up into fairly small pieces (you can use just about any firm tofu, tempeh, or “fake” ground beef here if you’re not concerned about it being gluten-free.
– 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce (I use my homemade BBQ sauce) or more to taste – moderate sprinklings of oregano, basil, and cumin
– Saute the onion and garlic in 1-2 tbsp of oil of your choice over medium heat for a few minutes until onion is translucent. Flavor with oregano, basil, and cumin (I personally go heavier on the cumin) and add the tofu.
– Add the rice and beans. If you’re using homemade beans, include some of the cooking liquid that you cooked the beans in. If you want even more of a shortcut, you can use a whole can of beans, undrained. The extra liquid gives the sloppy Joe’s an extra sloppy touch.
– Add the BBQ sauce and heat through, salt and pepper to taste, and they’re ready to serve. I like to throw the mixture top of a slice of freshly baked gluten free bread and top with a generous helping of cheese (add soy cheese instead of regular cheese to make the recipe vegan).
This is by no means the most intricate recipe in the world. If you happen to have leftover rice and a can of beans, you can make this in 5 minutes. There’s also a virtually endless amount of adaptations you can make to incorporate other ingredients (tomatoes, peppers, spinach? turnips?) of your choice, or just about any leftover you have sitting in your fridge. I also like to double or triple the recipe above and have three to four two-person leftover servings in the freezer, ready for a quick thaw out and a very fast meal.
As I mentioned, this isn’t the most complicated or unique recipe out there, and you may already have something like this in your standard dinner rotation. But if you don’t already, give it a try, it’s fast, easy, different, and can make lots of leftovers for efficient meal preparation down the road.
I couldn’t find any pictures of vegetarian sloppy Joe’s and ours were eaten last night faster than our photographer could snap a picture, so here’s a picture of the old-fashioned kind with meat in it. Image credit: Buck Blues at Wikipedia under a Creative Commons License.