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The first time that I tried to make sloppy joe's vegetarian style, I used tofu. I thought that I could just stir fry the tofu the way that I used to brown ground beef. That batch of “sloppy joe's” was soooo wrong. I had no idea how to use tofu, so I hadn't properly pressed all of the juice out of it before using it. The sloppy joe's turned out totally soft and without any sort of crunch to it. It was like pouring a thick ragu' on a bun and trying to eat it. Needless to say, I have come a LONG way from that first attempt at making vegetarian sloppy joe's. This Hawaiian version of my sloppy joe's has been a hit with my whole family, all summer long. Andy is always asking me to make more of these and Silas will actually eat them. That is definitely a win in my book. I got my inspiration for these from Chloe Coscarelli's Hawaiian Sloppy joe's and then added a bunch of stuff. These really are super delicious and perfect for this coming Labor Day holiday weekend! They'll be a hit with all of your friends and family, vegetarian or not!
VEGETARIAN HAWAIIAN SLOPPY JOES
2 hatch chili peppers, de-seeded and chopped finely
1 red onion, chopped finely
1 red bell pepper, chopped finely
1 orange bell pepper, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 8oz package mushrooms, minced or pulsed through a food processor
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 1/2 cups cooked lentils
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (or maple syrup)
1 Tbsp. white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)
1 1/2 cup pineapple, finely chopped or pulsed through a food processor
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for saute'ing the vegetables
Whole wheat buns
1)In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and saute' the onions, red peppers, orange peppers, and hatch chili peppers until they are all soft.
2)Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until soft.
3)Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, and sale. Let them simmer a few minutes longer.
4)Mix in the brown sugar, vinegar, lentils, tomato sauce, soy sauce, and pineapple. Reduce heat and let simmer, uncovered for about 15 minutes. If it seems a little bit to thin at this point, add a dash of arrowroot powder or cornstarch and mix in.
5) Cool for 5 minutes and then serve on buns!
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