BBQ Sloppy Joe’s was the first dish I ever publicly shared a recipe for.

This is a rendition of that recipe updated to fit the times: simpler, quicker, cheapertastier, not to mention perfect for family dinner or meal prep (lots of leftovers).


I first fell in love with vegan sloppy joe’s after sinking my teeth into an open-faced, spicy bbq, portobello mushroom sandwich, that I ordered from a microbrewery in Denver, Colorado. Wow, you guys, just wow. That sandwich made me rethink the greasy, seasoned from a pre-mixed packet of “spices,” served on top of wonder-bread lookin’ BS that I grew up with.

dem sum gorgeous taters

As a testament to how versatile this dish is, my Dad – who hasn’t allowed a mushroom to enter a 1 foot radius of his mouth in 30 plus years – took a bite of these joe’s (at his own will, I might add) right from the pot.

The result:

“It’s really tasty.”

I KNOW, not the most enthusiastic response, but coming from a guy who doesn’t tend to try food outside of his comfort zone, none the less mushrooms, that response made me feel like an animated, Japanese schoolgirl. Anyone with a Dad who eats the same shit day in and day out can relate to my struggle.


May we forgive the lunch lady for unknowingly tormenting us with the weak ass sloppy joe’s of yesteryear, and may we allow the blessings of sweet, savory, & soulful joe’s enter our heart.


Vegan BBQ Sloppy Joe's

  • Servings: 4 to 5 people
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Sloppy Joe's that won't make you cringe.



  • 3 medium portobello mushroom caps (roughly 1/2 lb)
  • 12 oz tempeh
  • Half a yellow onion, diced
  • 1 ear of sweet corn, shucked (kernels removed)
  • 3 tbs bbq spice mix
  • 2 tbs grapeseed oil or vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth


  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes (around 31 oz in total)
  • 1/2 c maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 6 tbs vinegar
  • 1/4 c tamari sauce
  • 1/4 c liquid smoke
  • 1 tbs chili garlic sauce (Sriracha)
  • 1/4 tsp liquid stevia*
  • 3 tbs cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp mustard powder (or dijon mustard)

Roasted Potato Side (optional):

  • 5 medium russet potatoes, thinly sliced (1/4 inch thick)
  • 2 1/2 tbs bbq spice mix
  • 2 tbs grapeseed oil

For Serving:

  • Buttered Toast
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Nutritional yeast


  1. For potatoes, pre-heat oven to 400 F.
  2. Toss potato slices with oil and seasoning (I used homemade bbq mix, however, salt, pepper, chili lime, and/or paprika would be delicious too).
  3. Spread ‘taters out on lightly greased baking sheet and place in oven. Flip/stir after 15 minutes and bake another 15 minutes or until tender.
  4. For sloppy joe’s, crumble up tempeh & cut mushroom caps into large chunks. Set aside.
  5. To make sauce, combine all ingredients in blender and blitz until ingredients are throughly incorporated. Set aside.
  6. Pre-heat large skillet or saucier over medium-high heat.
  7. Add in oil or butter to pan, followed by tempeh, mushrooms, onion, corn, and bbq spice mix. Cook for 5 minutes or until ingredients are lightly browned.
  8. Add in vegetable broth and stir vigorously for 10 seconds. Stir in most of the sauce, reserving a cup, and turn heat to medium-low.
  9. Simmer for 15 minutes or until sauce is thickened to your liking.
  10. Serve atop buttered toast and shredded lettuce, topped with nutritional yeast, alongside roasted barbecue potato slices.

*No stevia? No problem! Just add an additional 1/4 cup of brown sugar or maple syrup, or simply leave it out for a less sweet dish. Wah-la! (I know, I’m corny)

Behind the scenes:


The trickery is real *shame shame*

3 thoughts on “ BBQ Sloppy Joe’s (V + GF) ”

  1. Nice vegan adaptation of a family favourite! I love mushrooms but have never tried tempeh. Looks interesting.

    This post would make a great addition to Our Growing Edge, a link up just for new food adventures. It’s a fun way to share your new food experiences and flavours with other foodies and your post and link will be published in the group round up. This month’s theme is FAMILY FAVOURITES.

    Direct link to submit your post:
    More info here:


    1. Hey Bunny Eats Design! Sorry for the late response ~ we’re still getting familiar with WordPress and how to stay up to date with what goes on.

      Anyhow, we appreciate your kind words; the tempeh in this dish adds a firm chewy texture that the mushrooms alone do not achieve. I understand it’s no longer March (oops!), however, if you are still interested, we would love to feature one of our recipes on your site.

      All the best,


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