Tofu-Turkey Sloppy Joes Recipe

You’ll love this lean alternative to traditionally beefy sloppy joes.
By Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond
December 16, 2010
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Even the classic sloppy joe can be transformed into a mouthwatering, almost-meatless meal.

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2 tablespoons canola oil, divided 
1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup) 
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1/2 cup) 
1 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1/4 cup) 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
8 ounces ground turkey 
8 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed and crumbled to resemble ground meat 
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce 
1 tablespoon molasses 
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/2 cup beer 
1/4 cup water 
1 tablespoon malt vinegar 
Salt and pepper 
4 soft white hamburger rolls 
Butter, for toasted buns (optional) 
Grated cheddar cheese, for topping (optional) 
Minced onions or scallions, for topping (optional)  


Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 3 minutes, until translucent and beginning to soften. Add the bell pepper and celery and sauté for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds, just until fragrant. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the same skillet and return it to the heat. Drop the turkey into the hot pan in small chunks and brown for about 5 minutes, stirring and chopping occasionally. Add the tofu and sauté for 2 minutes more.

While the meat and tofu brown, in a bowl whisk together the tomato sauce, molasses, Worcestershire, mustard and cumin.

Push the meat and tofu off to one side of the pan and deglaze the bottom by adding the beer, a little at a time, scraping as it bubbles and steams. Stir in the rest of the beer, the onion mixture, tomato sauce mixture, water and vinegar. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Toast and lightly butter the buns. Add about a cup of filling, topping with grated cheddar and minced onions if you like. Serves 4. 

For more recipes from Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond’s book Almost Meatless, try Albóndigas and Chicken and Curried Cauliflower Salad Sandwiches. 

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