Cathy's Kitchen Prescription LLC
In this tasty plant-based makeover, we ditch the meat for black soybeans and whole barley. Stewed with onions and peppers in a zesty tomato sauce, spiked with flavorful homemade vegan Worcestershire sauce and spices, puts it over the top. And instead of the ubiquitous, insipid bun, let’s serve it on or alongside some delicious cornbread. Messy and finger-licking, Sloppy Joes bring out the kid in us. So much more climate friendly and nutrient-dense, this Sloppy Joe is sure to become a family favorite in no time.
Hint: No time to make cornbread? Sloppy Joes are great served with freshly baked corn tortilla chips from fresh tortillas.
Prep time: Overnight soak of black soybeans plus 1 hour
Cook time 30 minutes
2 cups cooked black soybeans from 1 scant cup soybeans, soaked, and pressure cooked
2 cups whole (hulled or hull-less barley) from 1 cup whole barley, pressure cooked
1 medium large white onion, cut in a medium dice
1 green pepper, deseeded, cut in a medium dice
2 poblano peppers, deseeded, cut in a medium dice
2 jalapeños, deseeded, cut in a small dice
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled
Handful of Italian parsley leaves and stems
1 26-ounce carton, can, or jar diced tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons vegan Worcester Sauce
½ teaspoon yellow mustard powder
½ teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon freshly ground chipotle powder from 1-2 dried chiles, or to taste
Grinds of black pepper
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon aka miso paste, or to taste
Water, if needed to deglaze pan and remoisten the mix
The night before making Sloppy Joes, rinse the black soybeans, transfer them to a medium bowl, and cover with cool water by 3 inches. Soak overnight or for about 8 hours. Drain. Add to a pressure cooker or instant pot with 6 cups of fresh cool water. Heat on high. When it comes to full pressure and actively steaming, lower the heat and pressure cook for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to naturally release, about 15 minutes. When the pressure valve drops, open the pot, drain any liquid, and set the beans aside.
Rinse the hulled barley. There is no need to soak it in advance. Add to the pressure cooker or instant pot with 6 cups cool water. Heat on high. When it comes to full pressure and actively steaming, lower the heat and pressure cook for 25 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to naturally release, about 15 minutes. When the pressure valve drops, open the pot, drain the barley if needed, and set aside.
Add the garlic and parsley to a cutting board. Using a mezzaluna or chef knife, chop finely together.
Heat a very large heavy-bottomed stainless skillet or sauté pan on medium heat for 3 minutes. Flick a few drops of water on the surface. If it sizzles and evaporates immediately, add the diced onions and peppers. Lower the heat to medium-low and sauté, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. When the onions and peppers soften and release some liquid, stir in the parsley-garlic mix. If the sauté is dry and begun to darken the pan, deglaze with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water, scraping up any caramelized sugars from the pan and lower heat.
Stir in the diced tomatoes, and stir in the tomato paste, mixing it well. Season with the vegan Worcestershire sauce, mustard, liquid smoke, chipotle powder to suit your tastes, and black pepper.
Stir in the cooked black soybeans and hulled barley, coating them well. If the mix is dry, add two to three tablespoons of water. Cover, maintain at a gentle simmer and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to infuse the beans and grain. Stir occasionally, adding a tiny amount of water if the mixture begins to stick to the pan.
If you plan to serve Sloppy Joes on cornbread or buns, keep the mixture thick to facilitate mounding. If you plan to serve in a bowl, add a little water to create less dense consistency like chili.
Taste and adjust seasonings as you like. If you plan to serve all the Sloppy Joes in a single sitting, turn off the heat and season the entire pan with aka miso to taste, mixing it well. If you don’t plan to use it all, turn off the heat, transfer the amount of the stew that you don’t plan on eating to a glass storage container, and season the remainder with a proportionate amount of miso.
Spoon immediately on fresh cornbread slices or over toasted whole wheat buns. Or serve in bowls like chili or stew alongside freshly toasted corn tortilla chips.
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