Tempeh Sloppy Joes

Well, the number of meat eaters in my family is slowly dwindling to a minuscule number. Soon, they’ll be brandished to another room altogether, forced to eat their meat in silence and shame, wishing they could one day break their nasty habit.

Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit. But seriously, if our extended family dinner Friday night was any indication, eating meat is so, like, 2010. After successfully converting my parents to a full-fledged vegan lifestyle, I’ve now witnessed my grandparents reassess their diets, swapping tofu and veggies for their meat -and-potato  dinners. Then recently my cousin — a professional tennis player, mind you — announced that he had gone vegan after watching the movie Forks over Knives. Even my meat-loving husband has changed his ways, if subtly. Last week, for example, he ordered an all-veggie pizza instead of his usual pepperoni and olive. And he’s been buying Amy’s organic frozen meals to sustain him throughout the week when I’m not cooking (I’ll pretend I didn’t see the Egg McMuffin receipt floating around our car last week).

Anyways, in honor of all of the recent converts in my family, I’ve decided to make a convert of Mr. Sloppy Joe — taking a formerly meat and butter-ladden dish and swapping in healthy tempeh and fresh vegetables for a much healthier meal. Eat your heart out, old Sloppy Joe.

Makes: approximately 4-6 servings

Tempeh Sloppy Joes:

1 tablespoon Earth Balance buttery spread (or olive oil)

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 small-medium zucchini, diced

1 medium green bell pepper, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups baby bella mushrooms, diced

1 package soy tempeh, boiled or steamed for 10 minutes, then crumbled

¼ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

¾ cup organic ketchup

½ cup water

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried mustard powder

2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar or brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon dried celery seed

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Ground pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Boil or steam tempeh cubes for approximately 10 minutes to remove smell. Drain and rinse, set aside

2. In a large shallow pan or Dutch Oven, melt buttery spread over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, zucchini and garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and saute over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes, or until onion becomes translucent and water is released from vegetables. Add mushrooms and tempeh and cook until mushrooms begin to soften.

3. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cook until water is reduced and desired consistency is reached, about 10 minutes. Serve over your favorite gluten-free hamburger buns or bread, toasted. Serve with homemade sweet potato chips or fries for a healthy side.

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