gluten free · tempeh · Vegan

TEST: Veggie & Tempeh Sloppy Joes

Last week, I wrote about my go to meal, Red Lentil Cauliflower Curry. This week I bring you Mom’s go to meal: Sloppy Joes. Mom worked a part-time job, took care of all the errands, the home, and chauffeured us kids around. She almost always cooked dinner for us because she didn’t believe fast food was a proper dinner. When her schedule got a little crazy, you count on Sloppy Joes for dinner. She would always make them from scratch. Definitely no Manwich for her. And, sometimes, she would even put the Sloppy Joes in a pita pocket, top them with cheese and bake in the oven until the pita became crispy and the cheese would melt. As a kid, I would call these Sloppy Josephs because they were “fancy”.

So, this week, the test kitchen brings you a gluten-free and vegan Sloppy Joe from Oh My Veggies.



  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Tempeh*
  • Brown sugar
  • Cayenne pepper (optional) I used a hot banana pepper
  • Green bell pepper
  • Zucchini
  • Corn
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Tamari
  • Tomato sauce
  • Tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*Please check the ingredients on your Tempeh to ensure it is gluten-free as some are made with barley.

The meat substituent is Tempeh. Let’s see a show of hands: who knows what Tempeh is? Ok, only a few of you. Some of you have seen it but, had no idea how to cook it. Others were just plain afraid of it. Well, here’s a little Tempeh 101.

Tempeh, like Tofu, is made from soybeans. But, Tempeh has a higher nutritional content than Tofu because it uses the whole soybean, and it’s fermented. The fermentation process caused the tempeh to maintain a higher and more easily digestible protein than tofu. And because it’s packed into a tight cake, it makes it a great cooking alternative to meat. It contains high amounts of essential fatty acids, fiber, vitamins and minerals. No need to be afraid of it. Try out this recipe for yourself.

The recipe from Oh My Veggies was very easy to follow, however I did have to question the suggested cooking times. I found these times were not enough for the veggies to to “get soft”. This could be the difference between cooking with gas and cooking with electric. Believe it or not, I’ve never cooked with gas. Crazy, huh?

And, on the side, I found it difficult to buy tomato sauce. I usually make my own, but I stayed true to the recipe. And,  I just hoped Mom didn’t see me buy a can.

I found the recipe to be time intensive, but the aroma that emerged from the pot was enough to make it worth it for me. It was the familiar smell of Mom’s kitchen on a busy night. And, I’d do any amount of prep to have that fragrance in the air once again.

Here are the results: A

A for availability. All ingredients were easily found in three grocery store chains: Kroger, Harris Teeter and Food Lion.

A for the cost of the ingredients. My bill was a bit more expensive only because the gluten free hamburger buns were a little pricey. Everything else was affordable.

B for directions. As stated above, I question the cooking time, otherwise the directions were very clear and easy to follow.

A for taste. There were only five testers. Folks were a little put off by the tempeh, too bad. Overall the tasters liked the recipe, but most of the tasters thought the recipe could be juicier.

Here are their comments:

“Needs to be ‘sloppier’, more juice and it needs to be spicier.”

“It could have more sauce to soak the bread.”

“Good taste. Very reminiscent of a meat Sloppy Joe. Definitely a good alternative.”

Be on the look out for our next test kitchen recipe.

Please make sure that all of your ingredients are gluten free. Just because ingredients are listed  does not insinuate that they are gluten free. Please make sure you choose the appropriate ingredients for your audience of tasters. Kroger has a wonderful list on their website (71 pages) of all the gluten free items in their stores.

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