Summer Squash Veggie Sloppy Joes

I’m often highly amused by people’s reactions when I tell them I don’t eat any meat.  Some are super supportive and open-minded, but then you get THOSE people, you know, the ones who immediately splurt out, “Oh my gosh, how can you NOT eat meat?  What do you even eat?”  I just find it funny.  Because if I am with people who order meat on the menu, I don’t even give it a second thought.  I believe one of the most important choices you can make as a human being is what you put into your body…because I believe you are truly what you eat.  And there are tons of reasons why I don’t eat it: ethical, spiritual, environmental, and, obviously, health reasons.  But I don’t find it necessary to go on a 30-minute explanation every time I am asked this (which happens a lot with a food blog).

I think one of the best parts about cooking in general is the creative liberty that allows one to have.  You can create something with your brains and bare hands…to your liking.  True, sometimes there are major kitchen fails (we all have them), and sometimes there are surprise culinary victories that not only can make you feel full physically but full mentally, as well.  If you are willing to think outside of the box (especially for me, coming from a delicious corn-fed Midwestern diet), then I believe that you will open yourself up to incredible new tastes and experiences.

Take this recipe.  A vegetarian Sloppy Joe?  Actually, a VEGAN Sloppy Joe without the cheese?  Really?  With lots of fresh veggies added in, too.  None of that greasy goopy taste that I still remember from my childhood (this will not channel Adam Sandler’s Lunch Lady song for you, I promise).  Amazingly enough, though, it still has that ooey gooey Sloppy Joe texture that I believe is part of the attraction to the sandwich in the first place.  Made with fresh summer squash, carrots, celery, and onions, you can virtually add any other kind of fresh veggie into the mix.  Red or green bell peppers.  Maybe some spinach or kale. How about other kinds of squash?  Yep.  Top this with basically whatever cheese you have on hand, and enjoy.

Sloppy Joe, Sloppy, Sloppy Joe.

Summer Squash Veggie Sloppy Joes

Servings: approximately 6


3/4 pound (One 12-ounce package) soy crumbles**I used Lightlife’s Smart Ground Original

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 and 1/2 cups summer squash, grated**I peeled it, de-seeded it, and grated it on the large holes of a box grater

One 6-ounce can of tomato paste

1 and 1/2 cups water

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup cheese, grated, optional**I used sharp cheddar (so good!), but you can use whatever you like

6 hamburger buns or focaccia rolls, toasted



1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering.

2. Add the soy crumbles and cook, breaking them up with a spatula, stirring occasionally (as the package directs), about 4-5 minutes.

3. Add the chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, about two minutes.

4. Add the carrot and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for another two minutes or so.

5. Add the summer squash to the mixture, mixing well and cooking for another minute or so.

6. Add the tomato paste and water, stirring to dissolve completely.

7. Add the garlic, chili powder, paprika, dried oregano, and salt and pepper, and mix until thoroughly combined.

8. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the mixture is thickened, stirring occasionally, about 8-10 minutes.

9. Once thickened, place your desired amount of the mixture on each hamburger bun, top with cheese, and serve immediately.

Source: Adapted from Cookie, via Epicurious.


August 15, 2011 - 5:06 am

Blog is the New Black - Looks great, Shanon! I do eat meat, but I am always up for veg options and this looks like a winner, for sure!

August 15, 2011 - 9:22 am

Stephanie @ Vegetarian Bakeaholic - I was JUST thinking about veggie sloppy joes. These look FANTASTIC!

August 15, 2011 - 9:59 am

Noelle - Lovely! These look super delicious!

August 15, 2011 - 2:55 pm

Rachel - Sloppy joes, my favorite! And I’m a vegetarian too. I suppose that sounds a little odd. I always loved sloppy joes when I was a meat-eating kid and now that I have no desire to ingest ground beef ever again I’m always looking for ways to adapt this dish to my diet.
It’s true, there’s nothing weird about not eating meat. I don’t miss it at all and I’m confident that I’m making the right choice on what to put in my body.

August 15, 2011 - 4:08 pm

myFudo - This looks delicious and healthy. Sloppy joes a must make. Love the photos

August 16, 2011 - 10:20 am

Jina - Yummy! We recently had a 40th birthday party for my brother who is a vegetarian and I wanted to have sloppy joe’s on the menu. So I had my mom make her traditional meat version, while I took on the challenge of making a meatless version. I searched recipes and didn’t find one particular recipe that completely encompassed my vision, so I just sort of did my own thing using a couple of recipes as inspiration and keeping in mind the “from scratch” version of the sauce that my mom has always made. Wow, they were delicious!! While I was very proud of the outcome of the dish I created, I was also proud to prove to the doubters that a traditionally meat-centered dish can be made meatless and still be very tasty! And I’m not even vegetarian!!

August 18, 2011 - 9:07 am

Lynn - shannon- we love your recipes here in derm!!! Keep baking for us!!!

August 18, 2011 - 2:07 pm

mike @ the lil house that could - I’m not really a fan of those soy/smart crumbles… How is this thing without them?

August 18, 2011 - 2:38 pm

srlacy - I am not sure because I haven’t tried it without the soy meat….I think the consistency would be a little off, but the spice/veggie combination would still probably give a great overall flavor. Let me know how it turns out if you omit the soy crumbles…I’m intrigued!

September 5, 2011 - 2:24 pm

Wry House - […] Vegan Sloppy Joes at the Curvy Carrot Garlic Fries at Bon Appetit Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Published: September 5, 2011 Filed Under: Uncategorized […]

September 15, 2011 - 2:39 am

Craving > One Pot Recipes for Sloppy Joes | foodiecrush - […] give them a try– added to a bunch of veggies creates The Curvy Carrot‘s Summer Squash Veggie Sloppy Joes. Follow Shanon to the way and you just might never go […]

September 28, 2011 - 12:24 pm

shaheen - I love the sound of this and with autumn kicking in, its something to make for sure.

May 12, 2013 - 1:58 pm

Summer Squash Veggie Sloppy Joes - […] source: […]