Saturday, June 13, 2009

Guanajuato, Mexico - Clever Eating

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes


Cindi Bower

When I was growing up in Ohio, my mom served Sloppy Joes on a regular basis. On nights when she was late coming home from work or just didn't feel like making an elaborate meal, these were a quick, easy and filling choice. She usually added a packaged seasoning mix to tomato sauce and ground beef instead of making the mixture from scratch. When canned Sloppy Joe sauce came on the market, the meal was even easier…just brown ground beef, add the sauce, heat and serve. Quick, easy and delicious.

Making Sloppy Joes from scratch is not much more time-consuming than using a mix or canned sauce. To me, the sandwiches taste better made from scratch. Plus, you can modify the ingredients to suit your own family's tastes.

I used to make Sloppy Joes, usually from scratch, when we lived in the USA, but somehow never thought of making them here in Mexico until recently. I guess it was because it's such an American dish and not one you'd expect to find in Mexico.

Last week, I developed a craving for Sloppy Joes, but no longer remembered my favorite recipe. Though our local supermarkets carry some items imported from the USA, Sloppy Joe mix and canned Sloppy Joe sauce are not among them. Thanks to the Internet, I found a plethora of recipes. Some were very different from my tried-and-true recipe (though I want to try some of the more exotic-sounding variations), but I was able to approximate my old recipe.

Since we've modified our diet in the past months for health reasons, I substituted textured soy protein for the ground beef I used to use. My husband said he wouldn't have known he was eating soy if I hadn't told him. I think the soy protein has the texture and taste of ground meat, but does not have ground meat's greasiness.

We liked how this recipe turned out, but I'm going to play with it a bit and see if I can make some improvements. If I come up with a better version, I'll share it.


Makes 8 sandwiches

14 ounces hot water
1 beef bouillon cube
2 cups textured soy protein
Cooking oil
3 – 4 cloves of garlic, diced
½ of a large onion, coarsely chopped
¼ of a green pepper, diced
1 cup tomato sauce
¼ cup catsup
Oregano, salt, and pepper to taste
8 hamburger buns

Dissolve the bouillon cube in the hot water; stir in the soy protein and set aside for about 5 minutes or until the water is absorbed.

Put a little oil in a skillet (I use just enough to coat the bottom…add more as you cook, if necessary) and put over medium heat. Sautee the garlic, onion and green pepper until soft. Add the rehydrated soy protein and cook until slightly browned. Add the tomato sauce, catsup and spices. Mix well and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes or until thickened.

Spoon the mixture into the buns. Serve with a tossed salad or raw vegetable sticks.



A Walk Through Mexico's Crown Jewel: A Guanajuato Travelogue

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