This month kicked off the inaugural challenge for the Creative Cooking Crew. Basically we’re a group of bloggers trying to stretch our cooking skills by all creating a dish each month based on a theme. This month our challenge was to take a rich, fatty, animal protein-based meal and give it a healthy Vegan spin. It’s a perfect challenge for the new year and one worthy of bringing me back after an unintentional blogging hiatus. Though animal products (especially cheese) make up a significant part of my diet I’ve always appreciated the ingenuity and creativity of vegan cooking.
When I started brainstorming what I wanted to reinvent for some reason I found myself drawn to the dishes of my childhood and one rose to the top – Sloppy Joes. I chose this dish because I knew there were many vegan proteins that could easily replace the ground meat and figured there could also be freedom with the sauce to switch up my flavors and try something different.
I ended up using sauteed Tempeh in place of the ground beef and for my sauce I moved away from the traditional tomato-based sauce instead going for a blueberry-balsamic sauce. Since we were going for a healthier dish, I love how the blueberries make for a sauce loaded in antioxidants while just a little bit of brown sugar gives it the molasses flavor I associate with Sloppy Joes. Also in my recipe are Vegan Worcestershire Sauce (Yes, such a thing does exist), vegetable broth, Dijon mustard and onions which add a lot of depth to the sauce. The Worcestershire Sauce in particular helps give this sauce a more savory flavor.
And because I’d already made so many swaps with this dish, I figured the bun had to go too. Instead I decided to encase my filling in filo dough. It makes the dish a tad lighter for those watching their carbs.
To go along side my Sloppy Joe bites a nice slaw seemed fitting so I made one from shredded blanched Brussels sprouts, shredded carrots, julienned apple, and toasted almonds. The whole salad was dressed in a light apple cider vinaigrette to bring out the flavor of the apples as well as add a refreshing zing.
When the whole dish was put together I love how it tasted like a nod to my childhood but with a lighter and animal-free twist. I was especially smitten with the slaw. I’ve been fixated on cold Brussels sprouts salads since I made my Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Dried Blueberries, Bacon, Almonds and Manchego and this one was every bit as delectable, even without the cheese and bacon.
I know I can’t wait to see the roundup to see what everyone else made, but in the meantime, click our logo below to check out the group’s dishes on our Pinterest page.
-2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
-1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup chopped shallot, divided
-1 ½ cups fresh blueberries
-1 cup chicken broth
-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
-1 tablespoon dijon mustard
-1 teaspoon Vegan Worcestershire sauce
-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-1 tablespoon brown sugar
-1 8-ounce package tempeh, crumbled
-7 sheets frozen Filo dough,thawed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a saucepan over medium heat and sauté 1/2 cup chopped shallot until translucent . Add blueberries, chicken broth, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, and red pepper flakes and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally and scraping up brown bits, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered until reduced by half, about 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in a blender until smooth. Pour back into saucepan and keep warm over low heat while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to a deep skillet over medium heat and sauté remaining chopped shallot until translucent. Add crumbled tempeh and saute until it starts to brown, about 6 minutes. Pour in the blueberry-balsamic sauce and cook for 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.
To assemble triangles, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Cut the whole stack of thawed filo lengthwise into quarters. Each strip will be about 3 1/2 inches wide. Working with 1 filo strip at a time and keeping the others covered with a barely damp towel, place the filo strip on a dry work surface. Spray it lightly with cooking spray.
Place about a generous tablespoon. of the filling 1 inch from the bottom edge. Fold the lower right corner of the pastry up and over the filling, forming a triangle. Roll the triangle straight forward, then again on a diagonal. Continue folding, forming a triangle each time, until you reach the end of the strip. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet and brush the top of the triangle with a little more butter. Use the remaining filo and filling to make the remaining triangles, placing them on the baking sheet(s).
Bake the triangles until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes (the filling will be very hot), then serve.
-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
-1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
-1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
-2 tablespoons gave syrup
-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
-1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-1/2 cup canola oil
-1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
-1 pound Brussels sprouts, blanched then shredded
-1 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
-1 apple, cored and sliced into match sticks
-1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Combine first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk; stir in shallots. Set aside.
Add remaining ingredients to a bowl and toss lightly drizzling in dressing. (I used about 1/2 the dressing with leftovers for other salads.) Serve immediately.