Try 1 month for 99¢
Lynne Ireland

Seasoned to Taste

Chickpea Sloppy Joes

The secret to changing behaviors, some would suggest, is making new behaviors routine. If you’re like most of us, you have a rotation of ten or so dishes that you make again and again, on autopilot. The good news is auto-mode frees up your brain to consider other things. But if you’re trying to eat in more varied or more healthy ways, that old routine gets in your way.

You can have your old habits and build new ones, perhaps, by changing out ingredients and doing new versions of those old faves. So we were intrigued to find a recipe for the kid-favorite Sloppy Joes that uses chickpeas instead of meat, and kicks up the flavor profile with liberal doses of sriracha. This vegan recipe is quick to fix, but is even better the next day or two, as flavors meld.

The old routine would be to serve this on buns, as the recipe suggests, but you could change that up, too, using your favorite greens or polenta or whole grains as a base for the “sloppy” sauce. You could even offer this as a slighty soup-y super bowl dip with baked corn or veggie chips on the side. Who knows? Maybe “changing it up” will set the tone for your favored team.

The recipe calls for using tofu sour cream or vegan mayonnaise as a condiment if you serve with buns, but the pickles and mustard that were our childhood favorites add a nice counterpoint. And it helps us change to stick with at least some part of the old routine while creating a new one!

Chickpea Sloppy Joes

4 cups cooked chickpeas or two 15-ounce cans, rinsed and drained

Vegan hamburger buns (gluten-free, if necessary) or whole grain buns

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 medium red onion, diced

2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

One 15-ounce can unsalted, diced fire-roasted tomatoes, with liquid

1/4 cup tomato paste

3 tablespoons liquid aminos (or tamari or soy sauce)

2 tablespoons sriracha

1 tablespoon maple syrup

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Enjoy food? Get dining and recipe ideas sent to your inbox

1 teaspoon liquid smoke

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, optional

Salt and black pepper to taste

Tofu Sour Cream or vegan mayonnaise, optional

In a medium bowl, mash the chickpeas with a fork into small chunks or shreds. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to its lowest temperature. Open the buns and heat the halves, cut side up, on the center rack (or on a baking sheet) for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large shallow saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent and the garlic is fragrant. Add the bell pepper and mashed chickpeas; sauté about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, liquid aminos, sriracha, maple syrup, oregano, cumin, paprika, thyme, liquid smoke, nutritional yeast (if using), salt, and pepper; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes, until heated through and slightly thickened. If it sticks, add a little water to deglaze the pan and lower the heat a bit.

Scoop the chickpea mixture onto the warmed buns and top with a dollop of Tofu Sour Cream or vegan mayonnaise (if using). Serve immediately. Leftover filling can be chilled in an airtight container 3 to 4 days. Serves 6-8.

Source: Kristy Turner, “ But I Could Never Go Vegan!: 125 Recipes That Prove You Can Live Without Cheese, It’s Not All Rabbit Food, and Your Friends Will Still Come Over Dinner” as quoted on

Lynne Ireland lives to eat and welcomes comments and questions from others who do (or don’t). Contact her at

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Lynne Ireland lives to eat and welcomes comments and questions from others who do (or don’t). Contact her at


Load comments