Vegan Sloppy Joes


With jalapeño for heat and brown sugar for sweetness, these vegan sloppy joes will please meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Made from fermented soybeans, tempeh gives these meatless sloppy joes a heartier texture than firm tofu alone. 

Active Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
55 mins


  • 1 (14- to 16-ounce package) extra-firm tofu, drained

  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, finely chopped (about 2 cups)

  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded, stemmed, and finely chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste

  • 8 ounces tempeh, finely crumbled

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder

  • 1 ½ cups strained tomatoes (passata)

  • ½ cup water

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons organic light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon sriracha

  • 2 teaspoons liquid aminos or soy sauce

  • 6 hamburger buns, toasted

  • Bread-and-butter pickle chips, for serving


  1. Place tofu on a double layer of paper towels. Top with another double layer of paper towels. Place a plate on top, and weight with a can. Let stand at room temperature to drain at least 20 minutes or up to 1 hour. Discard liquid. Coarsely crumble tofu so it resembles ground meat. (It will break down a bit more during cooking.)

  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onion, jalapeño, garlic, salt, and black pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Add tempeh, tomato paste, and chile powder; cook, stirring constantly, until tempeh is evenly coated and a crust starts to form on bottom of skillet, 1 to 2 minutes.

  3. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup water, vinegar, brown sugar, sriracha, and liquid aminos to skillet; bring to a simmer over medium-high, stirring occasionally. Gently stir in tofu. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Season with additional salt and black pepper to taste. Serve on buns with pickle chips.

    Tofu Tempeh Sloppy Joes
    Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Claire Spollen

Make Ahead

Sloppy joe mixture can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container.

Suggested Pairing

Rich, lightly spicy amber ale: Anderson Valley Brewing Company Boont

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