Tag Archives: Lightlife Foods

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (3 of 5)

Are you one of those folks who plans their family’s meals a week at a time? I try to be that person… but let’s be real. I really suck at meal planning. Part of the deal is I frequent the grocery store often enough that purchasing the ingredients for just one dinner isn’t a huge deal — often I know I’ll be back in the store again the next day at some point, thus being able to shop for tomorrow’s dinner… tomorrow. The other aspect I somewhat enjoy is the flexibility of not knowing what the hell I’m going to cook. Sometimes I wake up at 8:30 in the morning and think what am I going to make tonight? Then I peruse recipes over my morning cup of coffee for ideas. (Some days this isn’t a pleasant activity; I wake up wishing I knew what was coming so I could cut out the extra work!)

So on a day I had already planned our dinner, and in fact decided I was going to make these burgers, while taking Silas to baseball practice he suddenly said, “Hey! Can we please have sloppy joes sometime soon?” I thought about what I had planned for dinner and realized I could probably transform my plan of burgers into sloppy joes, using ingredients we already had at home. “Sure! We can have them tonight,” I said, only to realize when I got home we were out of ketchup, a staple ingredient in sloppy joe mixture! (Who runs out of ketchup?!) Not wanting to run to the store at the mad-rush hour,  I did a little hunting online and figured out there are many quick homemade ketchup recipes, and simply made my own.

As a kid I remember loving when my mom made us sloppy joes — usually for a weekend lunch option. There’s certainly some childhood nostalgia when you first bite into one of these sandwiches. The culmination of those childhood memories and the deliciousness of the bite are unbeatable.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (2 of 5)

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Serves 8

Ingredients:

For the Ketchup:
2 6-oz cans tomato paste
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon cane sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon dried mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon all-spice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
small pinch of ground cloves
3/4 cup of water

For the Sloppy Joes:
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 tubes Lightlife Gimme Lean Vegetarian Sausage
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup water
1 full recipe of  ketchup (*see recipe below)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 heaping teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon vegetarian worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper to your desire

8 large hamburger/kaiser/onion buns (really, whatever your preferred type is)
8 slices American cheese (optional)
dill pickles (for serving)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (4 of 5)

Directions:

Make the ketchup: place all of the ingredients in bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate at least one hour to let the flavors come together.

Make the sloppy joes: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high. Once the oil is hot, crumble the Gimme Lean into the pot. Continue cooking until nicely browned, stirring frequently, breaking the larger chunks up.

Add in the green peppers and onions. Stir, and then add the 1 cup water, the ketchup and garlic. Stir to combine, and then add the brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard, red pepper flakes, cumin, worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine, and then cover and simmer over medium-low heat, another 20-30 minutes.

To serve, either steam or lightly toast the buns, open-faced. (I prefer steamed!) Add a slice of cheese if you’d like, then spoon a generous amount of the veggie-meat mixture onto the bottom roll. Top with the other bun and enjoy immediately, served alongside a crisp dill pickle (just do it).

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Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (1 of 5)

Meatless Meatball Subs

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (6 of 8)

During my first year of college, I lived in the dorms, which meant sharing an 11′ x 17′ living space with my roommate, on a floor made up of twelve rooms, filled with all ‘honor student’ females. Our floor also contained a kitchen — not a common commodity in these dormitories!  Dorm-livin’ meant cafeteria-eatin’ and there were many occasions in which the cafeteria dinner options sounded beyond unappetizing. Cereal or frozen yogurt seemed the most viable options. I didn’t cook in those days of dorm living. Unless you consider saimin (Top Ramen) cooking, which, at 15 cents a piece was doable on my student budget.

However, it turned out my friend Oliva across the hall was an excellent cook — her dad being a chef and all. If we purchased the ingredients, she was often more than obliging in cooking a delicious meal (granted we share the meal with her, too — understandable!).

I remember meatball subs being something I hadn’t eaten before, but one evening when ruminating over grumbling stomachs of what should we have for dinner? Olivia very matter-of-factly said “MEATBALL SANDWICHES.” When Olivia had an opinion on what was going to be cooked and eaten, you were better off just going with that (the alternatives being a mad dash across the street to 7-11 for lord knows what, or a run uphill to the cafeteria, just in case they may still be open, or let’s be real – vending machine pop tarts and Pepsi for dinner). So that’s what we had. Soft pillowy hoagie rolls, filled with homemade meatballs, marinara sauce and cheese. A fork-and-knife type of sandwich, but delicious.

This version isn’t what we had in those days. The ‘meatballs’ are entirely vegetarian, the sauce is homemade and filled with flavor. The fork and knife are optional, but probably helpful.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (4 of 8)

Meatless Meatball Subs

Yields 6 very hefty sub sandwiches.

Ingredients:

For the marinara sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium sized bell pepper, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, diced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried basil
generous amount of black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly minced parsley

For the meatless meatballs:
2 14-ounce tubes Lightlife’s Sausage-Style Gimme Lean
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
4 tablespoons COLD butter
olive oil

For the subs:
6 hoagie style rolls
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
16 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into pieces about 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
6-8 fresh basil leaves, julienned

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (7 of 8)

Directions:

Make the sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic, then sauté until the onion is very soft (8 to 10 minutes).

Add the mushrooms and sauté 2-3 minutes, just until the mushrooms slightly soften. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, basil, black pepper, oregano, thyme, and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45-60 minutes. Stir in the fresh parsley at the last minute.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (1 of 8)

Make the meatballs while the sauce cooks:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside until needed.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Gimme Lean, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, eggs and liquid smoke. Use a box grater to grate the cold butter into the mixture. Using your hands (if you prefer a spoon that’s fine, but your hands make this easier!), mix together the mixture until well combined.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons of mixture and use your hands to roll it into a ball. Place on the greased baking sheet. Continue doing this until all the mixture has been used up, spacing the veggie meatballs about 1-inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes (turning once halfway through), or until the meatballs are nicely crisp and browned on the outsides.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (2 of 8)

Make your subs:

Turn your oven on its broil setting.

Mix together the 3 tablespoons melted butter and granulated garlic in a small dish.

Split the hoagie rolls in half lengthwise, being careful to try and keep one side intact. Brush the butter/garlic mixture on the split sides of the hoagie rolls. Place on a baking sheet, buttered side-up. Once all the rolls have been buttered, place under your broiler, watching carefully, until the bread is toasted to just-golden-brown in color.

Remove from the oven and spoon about 2 tablespoons of the sauce on each hoagie. Arrange 4 meatballs on each hoagie, followed by 3-4 more tablespoons of sauce. Top with pieces of mozzarella (as much or as little as you prefer), and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Return the subs to the oven, under the broiler, again watching closely so your sandwiches don’t burn. Broil until the cheese melts. Remove from the oven and sprinkle a bit of fresh julienned basil over each sandwich.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (3 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (5 of 8)