What is The Vegan(ish) Experiment?

Our family (me, my husband D, and our four-year-old Molly) started 2009 with a mostly-vegan, macrobiotic-inspired diet (although I have to admit, the strict macro rules have pretty much gone out the window). I have seen a marked improvement in my chronic migraines, and I'm enjoying proving that we can make amazing, mouth-watering, memorable food without animal products. For a more in-depth intro, click here.

I stopped updating this blog quite awhile back, when life got in the way. I'm still keeping a mostly vegan kitchen, though, and loving it. Have fun browsing my recipes!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Day 47: Vegan Sloppy Joes

I made Sloppy Joes for dinner on Valentine's Day. Is that unromantic? Well, at least they're red ... And D and I got a babysitter and got to go out the next night, which was perfect.

This dish was very successful, in large part because of this amazing organic ketchup that I found. It's sweetened with agave nectar instead of the unfortunate high-fructose corn syrup that American companies generally use. I'm not a big ketchup fan ... or I wasn't until I tasted this stuff! The flavor is so good - way more tomato-y than other brands, a little spicy (but not hot), and a little sweet. I'll never buy Heinz again.
So, Sloppy Joes ... the real test is, does the 2-year-old like them? A properly-made Sloppy Joe will be a hit with any kid. Molly's been a picky eater lately, so I had my fingers crossed. You tell me if you think she liked them:

Hopefully that convinced you, and you'll make this easy-and-tasty dish yourself. D and I loved it, too. By the way, I was inspired by a recipe over at Simply Recipes, which I made in the past. But I wasn't crazy about the spice mixture in that one, so I improvised. And of course, that recipe isn't anywhere close to being vegan ...

Vegan Sloppy Joes

2 T. olive oil
1 medium or large onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
2 small (or 1 large) stalks celery, diced
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup agave-sweetened ketchup (or at least organic, sugar-sweetened if you can't find the really good stuff)
1 large (28-oz.) can tomato sauce
1/4 t. cinnamon (less if you aren't a huge fan - you can really taste it)
1/4 t. ground sage
salt to taste
2 (15-oz) cans beans (I used one can garbanzo, and 1 can kidney), drained
6 Whole-wheat sandwich rolls or hamburger buns (the least nutritionally-iffy ones at my supermarket were Thomas' mini bagel buns. Sort of a cross between a bagel and a hamburger bun.)
Vegan margarine

  1. Saute onions in oil, over medium heat, until translucent.
  2. Add carrot and celery and cook for 4 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add ketchup and tomato sauce. Stir until well-blended.
  5. Add cinnamon and sage. Stir well. Add salt to taste.
  6. Add beans. Stir and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer 10-20 minutes (the longer the better).
  7. Toast and butter bread. Serve open-faced, with the Sloppy Joe sauce poured over both halves of the bun.
I think this sauce would be good over rice as well, or even added to a macaroni bake. But then it would be called something other than "Sloppy Joes" ...


  1. They look really yummy! And definitely a hit with Molly!

  2. Cate - you should make them! I don't think anyone ever grows out of Sloppy Joes... :)

  3. The Joes look good. The granddaughter looks gooder -- at least to me. Sampa

  4. It's excellent to see more companies creating products sans high-fructose corn syrup.

  5. Sampa - thanks! :) She misses you, too.

    Jasmine - I know! They use HFCS because it's SO cheap, but they're finally figuring out that many of us are willing to pay extra for products without it.

  6. We just got a container of Annie's organic ketchup, and it too is really good.

    HFCS is devil-juice. :( Did you know, as I found out quite recently, that on top of everything else there's detectable mercury in a lot of it?




  7. Rachel - how is the Annie's sweetened? I've seen other organics, but they're still sweetened with white sugar (or, in Nutritional Newspeak, "evaporated cane juice.") I hadn't heard that about the mercury. That's really disgusting.

  8. Ha! I just found this ketchup recently, too. I LOVE it. I am also on the lookout for a tasty, sugar-free homemade ketchup recipe.

  9. My Year Without - Hope you post the recipe once you perfect it! My toddler loves ketchup, and I'd like to make one whose ingredients I can tweak. I love the Organicville stuff, but it's still sweet. I don't want to give her a big sweet tooth - her main source of sweets right now is just fruit.

  10. You won my giveaway! Congrats!

    Just send me an email so we can discuss fabrics.


  11. i think i now understand one reason for your headaches...

    my son introduced me to agave nectar in mojitos...completely different taste.

  12. Virginia - if you mean refined sugar, yes, it definitely seems to be a major trigger for me. Glad I figured that one out.

  13. Everyone loved the sloppy joes. Thank you so much!!!


I love it when people come back and tell me how the recipes turned out - please consider doing so! Thanks!


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