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Author Notes: This recipe is reminiscent of childhood for me, minus the meat. It's a little sweet, a little tangy, and perfect for a big outdoor meal (or a cozy indoor one, for that matter) with friends. It can easily be made ahead of time and reheated on the stove. The mushrooms lend body while the walnuts give structure in a way beans and lentils can't—no mush or gut bomb to be found here. —Samantha Weiss Hills
Serves 6 to 8
- 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- Olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced, (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
- 1 Serrano pepper, diced
- 1 pound mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- Kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 1 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, plus more to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- Squishy potato buns, like Martin’s
- Pickled red onions and cilantro
- First, toast the finely-chopped walnuts in a small sauté pan until a little darkened and fragrant. Set aside.
- In medium, heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the onions and green bell pepper and sauté until the onions are translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Then add the Serrano pepper and garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Stir in the chopped mushrooms and add the chile powder, dry mustard, and cumin (and garlic powder, if using), as well as some salt and pepper. Sauté until the mushrooms have softened and reduced in size, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and stir well, coating all of the other ingredients. Add the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Reduce to preferred sauciness—I prefer something that’ll stay put on a bun but isn’t too thick—and then stir in the toasted walnuts. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. Warm a few potato buns, and spoon the joe mix onto it. Garnish with pickled red onions and cilantro. Eat it open faced or as a sandwich!
- This recipe is a Community Pick!