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TIW Eats: Sloppy Joes

At summer camp, Sloppy Joe night wasn’t just a big deal, it was an event. I can still remember standing in line in the mess hall with my plate, in eager anticipation of a bun and a tomato sauce/ground beef concoction that spilled over everything. It was absolute mayhem on a plate. That meal looked like a mess and it made a mess (they don't call it sloppy for nothing) and as kids, we couldn't get enough of it.

Vegetarian (left), Classic Meat Version (right) | Photo by Natalie Goldfinger @sheinspiresme

Few summer camp meals hold the same nostalgia as Sloppy Joes but the classic dish now, well... leaves a bit to be desired. So I took up the challenge of bringing it back in a very grown up way by kicking up the flavour, adding a vegetarian option and (gasp) tidying it up.

No hose down required after. | Photo by Natalie Goldfinger @sheinspiresme

Sloppy Joes (Meat and Vegetarian options)

Recipe by Michelle Goldfinger @michellegoldfingereats

Serves Six


1 pound ground beef OR 1 pack firm tofu, shredded with cheese grater

½ onion (about ¾ cup), small dice

1 carrot, shredded with cheese grater

1 ½ cups yellow and green zucchini, small dice

6 oz can of tomato paste

1 ½ cups water

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon sriracha (optional)

Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste

3 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

6 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded with cheese grater

3 cups spinach

4-6 eggs

6 Kaiser Buns


  1. Preheat oven or toaster to 350 degrees F.

  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the ground beef OR tofu until browned (about 7 minutes).

  3. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes.

  4. Add the carrot and saute for 2 minutes.

  5. Add the zucchini and saute 1 minute more.

  6. Sir in tomato paste with 1 ½ cups of water. Stir until paste has dissolved.

  7. Add the garlic, chili powder, paprika, cumin, sriracha (optional) and season with the salt and pepper.

  8. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens (8-10 minutes).

  9. Transfer both halfs of the bun to the oven, open-faced, and toast until lightly brown.

  10. Once the bread is toasted remove from oven and add about a handful of spinach to the bottom of each bun.

  11. Fill each sandwich with the meat OR tofu mixture.

  12. Cook eggs to preference (scrambled eggs are in the picture) and top the meat OR tofu with the egg.

  13. Add parmesan cheese and chives to garnish.

  14. Put the top of the bun on the sandwich.

  15. Serve immediately.

Photo by Natalie Goldfinger @sheinspiresme

Did you try this recipe? Let us know in the comments!

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