First, prepare the Tofu Crumbles, according to the recipe and instructions below.
Next, heat a large pot over medium heat for a minute. Add the onions, and sauté for 7-8 minutes, while stirring. Add a splash or two of water if anything sticks.
Add the green pepper, celery, garlic, and basil, and cook for a few more minutes, stirring occasionally, until your veggies start to soften. Add a splash of water they are sticking.
Place the drained dates into a high-speed blender, and add the tamari, coconut aminos, smoked paprika, apple cider vinegar and water, and blend until smooth, and there are not little bits of dates left.
Pour the mixture from your blender, into your pot, along with the 2 cans of tomato sauce, and mix well.
Over medium heat, bring this to a simmer, and the turn the heat down to low and cook, uncovered, for about 40-45 minutes. Check on it often to give it a good stir. If you are making the Baked Fries, now would be a good time to get those going!
Gently stir in the Tofu Crumbles, and cook over a low heat, for just enough time to heat everything up, about 2 minutes. Add the salt and black pepper, and adjust the seasonings to taste.
Scoop a generous amount of your Sloppy Joe mix onto a bun, and serve with our Crispy Seasoned Baked Fries and dill pickles. Yummy!
Your sauce will thicken as it cooks, and you want a nice, thick Sloppy Joe sauce. 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 blend them with the sauce, and heat them through.
We like our Sloppy Joe's prepared the way we had them as kids—just a bun stuffed with Sloppy Joe goodness!
Preheat your oven to 375° F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
First, let’s press the tofu. If you don’t have a tofu press, you can easily do it yourself. Rinse the tofu, wrap it in a clean dish cloth, and place it on a large plate. Place a cutting board on top of it, stacked with a couple of cookbooks or a heavy pot. Let this sit for about 20 minutes so the water can drain from the tofu. Remove the tofu from the plate, and pat it 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.
Crumble the tofu into small pieces with your fingers, and add it into the large bowl with the spices. Add the onions and the nutritional yeast and mix well.
Spread the tofu mixture evenly onto your baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, and then stir your Crumbles, and put them back into the oven for another 15 -20 minutes. You want them nicely browned, crispy, but still a bit chewy. Keep an eye on them so the littlest bits don't burn!
You can make our Basic Crumbles, let them cool, and freeze them to use later.
This recipe was adapted from a recipe by Clean Food Dirty Girl. They were the first to introduce us to the beauty of tofu that is crumbled and baked!