Begin by preparing the Tofu Crumbles, according to the recipe and instructions below.
Next, heat a large pot over medium heat and sauté the onions for 5 minutes, stirring frequently and adding a splash of water when they start to stick to the pan.
Add the bell pepper, celery, garlic, and dried basil, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a splash or two of water as needed for sticking.
While the veggie mixture is cooking, drain the dates from the water and place them in a high-speed blender, along with the tamari, coconut aminos, smoked paprika, water, and apple cider vinegar, and blend for about a minute or until smooth.
Pour the date mixture and the tomato sauce in with the veggie mixture and mix.
Simmer on low, uncovered for about 40 minutes, stirring frequently. It thickens as it cooks and the consistency should be nice and thick.
Add the Tofu Crumbles and cook over low heat just to heat up for about another 2 minutes. Add salt and black pepper to taste.
Scoop a generous amount of Sloppy Joe mixture onto a whole grain bun and serve with our Crispy Seasoned Baked Fries and dill pickles!
Don't add your Tofu Crumbles to the sauce too early or they will soften and break down too much. Make sure to add them at the end, just to mix everything up and heat it through.
Preheat your oven to 375° F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Rinse the tofu, wrap it in a clean dish cloth, and place it on a plate. Put a cutting board on top with something heavy on it—maybe a couple of cookbooks. Let this sit for about 20 minutes so the water can drain from the tofu. Feel free to use a tofu press if you have one. After at least 20 minutes, remove the tofu from the plate, and pat dry with a clean dish cloth.
In a large bowl, mix together the tamari, coconut aminos, tahini, smoked paprika, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, if using.
Now that your tofu is ready to go, crumble it into small pieces with your fingers, and add it into the large bowl with the other ingredients. Add the onions and mix well.
Mix in the nutritional yeast, while continuing to break apart the larger pieces of tofu.
Spread the tofu mixture evenly onto your baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, and remove the sheet from the oven. Stir and toss your tofu mixture so the other side can crisp up, and put the sheet back into the oven for another 15 -20 minutes. You want them nicely browned, slightly crispy, with a chewy bite.
You can make our Basic Crumbles, let them cool, and freeze them to use later.