Sloppy Joes

The Vegetarian's Guide To The World

Forking Off

Sloppy Joes



(Makes enough for approx 15 filled rolls)


For the Sloppy:

  • 2 Courgettes, Finely Diced
  • 200g Diced Mushrooms
  • 1 Large White Onion, Finely Diced
  • 3-4 Cloves of Garlic, Finely Diced
  • 300g Quorn Mince (more on this later)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 400g Tin of Kidney Beans (I like the ones in chilli sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Runny Honey (brown sugar for vegans)
  • Salt/Black Pepper
  • 4 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup/Sriracha/Itsu Hotsu-Potsu sauce (again, more on this in a bit)


Serve With:

  • Burger Buns
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese
  • Salad Leaves/Sliced Gherkin/Sliced Avocado
  • Coleslaw (if you make your own use 50/50 mayonnaise and salad cream for ultra-nom)
  • Beer!

Legend has it that Sloppy Joes originated from a diner in Sioux City, Iowa, and were invented by a guy named… Joe. History also suggests that they started life as a creole dish in the early 20th century and again, that they were invented in Cuba during the Second World War. It's also true that ‘Sloppy Joe’ can be used to describe any cheap, quick dish – the American equivalent of ‘greasy spoon.’

Given that a Sloppy Joe is sandwich filled primarily with ground beef, you might be a little surprised to find it here, but trust me – my vegan version is delicious. It makes a great meat-free alternative to a barbeque when you want outdoorsy food in the summer. I served a big ol’ bowl o’ sloppy with buns and salads and coleslaw at my birthday this year and my plates came back licked clean.


A few notes on the ingredients: I normally never use meat substitutes; Quorn etcetera, they have the flavour of cat litter most of the time. That said, they do act like a sponge for any other flavours that you put with them which actually makes them perfect for sloppy joes. However – if you are a purist, just switch it for tofu or increase the other vegetable ingredients.


My other ingredient note is on Itsu Hotsu-Potsu sauce. I am OBSESSED with it, it’s completely yummy on its own or it makes anything you put it in awesome. I found it in the supermarket a couple of months ago and now I barely eat anything without it. It’s essentially Sriracha sauce (a Thai-style hot sauce made with chillis, vinegar, garlic, lime etcetera, but whereas Sriracha is generally super-firey; Hotsu-Potsu is mild enough that you can splurge it on stuff as though it were ketchup, but still with a kick. Traditionally a Sloppy Joe would be 3 Tbsp ketchup, 1 Tbsp Sriracha; I just used 4 Tbsp Hotsu-Potsu and it was like getting a big, awesome hug in your mouth. Yes.


  1. Dice your onions, garlic, courgettes and mushrooms and fry them lightly with the olive oil in a large pan for a few minutes, until the onions go clear.


  1. Add your veggie-mince and fry it off with the veg until it goes brown.


  1. Add the other ingredients and bring to the boil, stirring regularly.


  1. If it's too dry, add more ketchup/sriracha/hotsu-potsu, according to your preference. It's got to be sloppy, but practically it does need to hold together in a sandwich.


  1. Serve it with salad, grated cheese and homemade coleslaw. It's also great with slices of gherkin or avocado, which make fantastic vegan alternatives.