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Author Notes: The end of the work week is celebrated every Friday night in our house with Tex Mex or Mexican food, most often tacos. This tradition is comforting to us, because it gives you a framework for creativity, but also eases meal planning when it becomes overwhelming by allowing you to rely on staple constructs (e.g., taco shells, seasonal vegetables, beans, done). Cooking vegetarian meals further invigorates that same creative sense and gives us the opportunity to envision familiar meals by new means.
Enter Sloppy Joe Tacos, a vegetarian adaptation of the Bon Appetit recipe. We modify this recipe in two ways - by altering the vegetable content and tomato sauce. This recipe easily accommodates any variety of vegetables, so you can either use your creativity here, or whatever is leftover in your vegetable bin at the end of the week. We often use Arrabbiata pasta sauce, but you can use any pasta sauce you have on-hand. Caution - you should adjust the amount of added sweetness and heat after combining the other sauce ingredients, as pasta sauces vary dramatically in those two aspects. —The Nutty Vegetarians
Makes 13 x 9 inch pan
For the Sloppy Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Cumin
- 1.5 tablespoons Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Chipotle or Cayenne
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 1 tablespoon Spicy Brown or Horseradish Mustard
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 3 tablespoons Lemon Juice
- 1 6 ounce can Tomato Paste
- 1 cup Tomato Sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons Brown Sugar (optional, to flavor)
- Sriracha, Hot Sauce, etc. (optional, to flavor)
For the Joe Filling
- 2 pounds Vegetarian Meat Crumbles
- 2 cups Vegetables, chopped to a small dice
- 1 Onion
- 1 14 ounce can Stewed Tomatoes
- Oil, for cooking meat and vegetables
- Hard Taco Shells
- Topping (guacamole, sour cream, cheese, etc.)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grab a pan large enough to hold meat crumbles, onions, and vegetables. Add oil to the pan and cook over medium-high heat on the stovetop.
- Once the oil is hot, cook meat crumbles, onions, and vegetables until crumbles are browned and vegetables are cooked through. Once cooked, add in the stewed tomatoes, breaking up with your hands to incorporate. Add in the Sloppy Sauce and stir to incorporate.
- Transfer the Sloppy Joe mixture to a 13 X 9 inch casserole dish or pan. Bake for at least 30 minutes, then begin checking every 5-10 minutes, up to 45-50 minutes, depending on your oven. The Sloppy Joe mixture is ready when the mixture is dark and crispy on top.
- Add to taco shells immediately along with your favorite toppings, and enjoy! Even if taco night does not signify the end of the week in your home, a little mid-week celebration never hurt anyone.