Sweet Potato Sloppy Joe

When I was little, I didn’t like to eat sloppy Joe, so my mother called them “Messy Jessies” to get me excited about them.

They became a food that I really enjoy. Yesterday while riding the bike to the market, I came across a roadside vendor selling some deep fried something or other. He told me it was vegetarian and said what it was. I heard something about tofu. I’m not sure if he was saying it was deep fried tofu, or if it was made with tofu milk (sounded like the latter). It’s kind of like a doughnut (not much sweet) or a fried breadstick. I went crazy…bought 8 of them (and it looks like 2 stuck together). That was the base for my sloppy Joes, but I’m going to recommend bread in one form or another (hotdog buns, hamburger buns, french bread, white bread, whole grain bread, whatever). At the market I bought some sweet potatoes. This kind doesn’t last long before they get slimy, so I know I have to eat them soon.

I bought some mushrooms today and was going to make stroganoff, but something didn’t seem right about the mushrooms. They were slimy and looked too yellow-greenish. Besides that, they crumbled too much and would be hard to wash, so I threw them away. I had already started to soak the textured soy protein, and decided to make this instead. Once again, I didn’t measure anything, but I can give you a good guess. Use your best judgement.


  • 1/2 cup textured soy/vegetable protein
  • water
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 sweet potato (about 6 inches long, 1 inch thick)
  • ketchup (tomato sauce)
  • black soy sauce (or you can try molasses and a pinch or two of salt)
  • chili sauce (I used something that’s more like a sweet and spicy kind of chili sauce.)
  • a pinch of turmeric
  • oil

To Make:

  1. Soak your textured soy/vegetable protein in water according to the directions on the package (if no directions, submerge in water and soak until soft). If you don’t have this or would prefer something else, you can use about 3/4-1 cup of some other type of crumbled vegetarian burger.
  2. While the protein is soaking, scrub and peel your sweet potato. Dice it into small pieces. Peel and slice the onion into small pieces also.
  3. Sauté the onion and sweet potato in a little water until both are soft. Let the excess water evaporate, stirring constantly (You do not have to stir much until the veggies are soft, but then please stir as the water evaporates so that you do not have to scrub out your pan–like I did–before continuing to the next step.).
  4. If your burger is soft, drain the burger and add it to the pan. Mix in a little oil and fry lightly. (Ok this is optional…)
  5. (I had to turn off my hot plate for this.) Add sauces and turmeric. Maybe try about 2 Tbsp of ketchup, 1/2 tsp of black soy sauce, and 1 tsp of chili sauce. Mix it up. Taste. Add the turmeric (a light pinch), mix, and taste again. Adjust as needed (to give it a better flavor).
  6. Add about 1/4 cup of water.
  7. Stir contents together.
  8. Boil, covered, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. Add more water if needed.
  9. Serve over some type of bread.

Some suggested alternatives to the sauces listed here…you can skip the chili sauce entirely and try some honey instead…Instead of black soy sauce, you can try molasses and a light pinch or two of salt (start with one), or liquid aminos with a little bit of molasses. You can try a homemade ketchup recipe, or a homemade barbecue sauce recipe or a combination of the two. What do you like?


Categories: burgers&meatballs | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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