In my continued quest to find meals other than PB&J that my vegetarian son will eat, I came across this recipe for vegetarian Sloppy Joes. I have very fond memories of eating them for lunch in my elementary school cafeteria. Sloppy Joe day was one of my favorites.
These vegetarian Sloppy Joes are nothing like the real McCoy, but they’re a very tasty substitute. We ate this as a side dish, rather than serving it on buns. I was afraid it didn’t have enough structural integrity to stay put in a bun. If you have a lot of quinoa hanging around and you want to try a new preparation, give this a shot. It’s full of flavor.
Pinto Bean and Quinoa Sloppy Joes
1/2 cup raw quinoa, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 medium green bell pepper, finely diced
15- to 16-ounce can pinto or red beans, drained, rinsed, and coarsely mashed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 medium tomato, finely diced
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder, or more, to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, plus more for topping, optional
Pour the quinoa and the water (or any type of extra broth that you have kicking around) into a small saucepan that has a lid. Bring it to a boil, uncovered, then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the quinoa and cook until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. As the quinoa cooks, you may notice a little sprout coming out of each one. This is a sign that the quinoa is cooked.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute the onions until they are translucent. Add bell pepper and cook until they are both lightly browned. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a simmer. Loosely cover the pan. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the mixture stand off the heat for about 5 minutes prior to serving. This allows the flavors to continue to meld.
Yield: 6 servings