Tag Archives: food legacy

Neato Joes

19 Mar

Still sloppy, despite the name. Nom nom!

Is it egotistical to think about leaving a food legacy?  I want my daughter to grow up with a deep respect for food as well as the ability to grow and prepare it.  She doesn’t have to be a four star chef and she doesn’t have to be a farmer, but she does need to be aware, or I think I’ll feel like I haven’t done my job.  She should also have a few solid recipes from Dear Old Mom in her repertoire.  I think about this often as I develop new dishes and tweak favorites.  And as she grows, of course there will be things she hates and things she would happily eat everyday for weeks on end.

One of those easy, staple dishes I turn to on busy days is Sloppy Joes.  Not Manwich, although I’ve eaten many a Manwich sandwich in my day.  This is something we can all probably eat happily meal after meal.  Whenever possible, I time this dish to coincide with my having recently made bolillos, which are the perfect carrier and sopper for this super messy delight.  You don’t have to have homemade buns, and even plain old loaf bread will do if it’s what you’ve got.  I’ve even been known to stuff an omelet with Sloppy Joe and cheddar cheese.  A great thing about these Sloppy Joes is that they are super healthy and vegan, yet so super tasty that you never even miss the meat.  Tonight’s sloppy joes are the perfect ending to a long day working out in the yard, tilling, mowing and weed eating (a whole day spent on weed control, on only 1.15 acres — yikes).  Top with bread and butter pickles, add some sweet potato fries and a glass of iced tea or a cold beer and it’s just about perfect.

Neato Joes

1 block tofu, frozen then thawed, diced very small or crumbled

1 medium onion, diced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

Box of Pomi chopped tomatoes or 28oz can of tomatoes

1/2 cup bulgar

3/4 cup hot water

good handful of dried tomatoes, coarse chopped

chipotle powder

salt & pepper



a little brown sugar or honey if necessary to soften the acid

Thaw the frozen block of tofu, squeeze out moisture and crumble. Pre-soak ½ cup of bulgar in ¾ cup hot water, about 10 minutes. Saute onions and garlic with salt and pepper. Add tofu and chopped dried tomatoes. Add bulgar and any remaining water, stir all together. Add tomato puree and season to taste.  Simmer about 15 minutes to finish cooking the bulgar.  Easy peasy.

This can of course also be made with any ground meat — I have made it with turkey and chicken with great results.  Just saute your meat with the onions and garlic and leave out the bulgar.

Fresh tofu can be used, but freezing does something to the texture that is really nice.  I generally buy tofu in large quantities when I have coupons or it goes on sale and just stick it in the freezer until I need it.

You don't have to take my word for it. This super indulgent 5 minute video of my kid eating Neato Joes will convince you of their powerful tastiness.