Quinoa and Bean Sloppy Joes

Quinoa and Bean Sloppy Joes recipe

Here’s a vegan burger-style meal made simpler by the fact that you need not even shape and flip patties. Pinto beans and quinoa team up to make a tasty high-protein sloppy joe filling. Serve with baked potatoes or sweet potatoes, fresh corn on the cob, one of our potato salads or any of the tasty slaws in A Slew of Slaws. It’s particularly good with Cabbage, Apple, and Raisin Slaw (pictured, on the side of the sloppy joes. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky.

Serves: 4 to 6

  • 1/2 cup raw quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 15- to 16-ounce can pinto, pink, or red beans,
    drained, rinsed, and coarsely mashed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 medium tomato, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or natural granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, or more, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, plus more for topping, optional
  • Shredded lettuce, baby spinach leaves, or green sprouts
  • 6 whole grain rolls, English muffins, or mini-pitas

Combine the quinoa with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and sauté until translucent. Add the bell pepper and sauté until both are golden.

Quinoa Sloppy JoesAdd the remaining ingredients except the last two, and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook over medium-low heat, loosely covered, for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let the skillet stand off the heat for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle further and for the quinoa to absorb the tomatoey flavors.

For each serving, spoon some of the filling onto the bottoms of whole-grain rolls and cover with the tops. Or, you can serve these open face.

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26 comments on “Quinoa and Bean Sloppy Joes

  1. Susan

    Some of us work full-time jobs and have no time for those 10-or-more-ingredient dishes. We need something FAST and simple, please!!

  2. Nava Post author

    Susan, like you, I don’t get into the kitchen until 6:00 or later. Please believe me that this is fast and simple, despite the number of ingredients, which are there to give the mixture flavor — everything kind of gets dumped into the skillet, not a lot of steps! If you’re a quinoa fan, you might like to cook some up on sunday to have in the fridge on weeknights. If you start with already cooked quinoa, this dish is truly a breeze. I hope you give it a chance!

  3. Liberty Dawn Wright

    Just like you can pre-cook the Quinoa, dice up the veggies on the weekend as well. Freeze or refrigerate, in the size needed for the recipe!

  4. Bobbi Lacy

    Agave nectar is bad (research it). Please stop suggesting people use it. Suggest alternatives like raw honey instead.

  5. Nava Post author

    Bobbi, vegans don’t generally use honey. Honey isn’t exactly a heath food, either. Natural granulated sugar is given as an alternative — one can use organic cane sugar, coconut sugar, sucanat, etc. In this entire recipe there’s only 1 teaspoon of sweetener, so everyone gets only 1/6 to 1/4 teaspoon. I like the way it mellows out the tomato flavor, but anyone who prefers, can skip it altogether!

  6. Jill

    Is this out of one of your books? I wish you had a east print tab. Looks great, reminds me of my childhood my mom uses to make sloppy joes with ground beef as a treat. Now I eat them again!

  7. Nava Post author

    Hi Jill — a similar recipe will be in my forthcoming book, Plant Power, coming out later this year. We will be restoring the print function next week, along with VegKitchen’s new design.

  8. Marci

    I bet raw coconut palm sugar would be a good alternative….it has a brown sugar-like quality…. These sound very good and quick. Thank you !

  9. Nava Post author

    Coconut sugar would be perfect. A hint of sweetness balances the spices and the tomato flavors. Any type of natural sugar is fine, in fact. Thanks, Marci!

  10. Judie

    Want to try this recipe. Trying to limit daily oil (even the “good” ones) does a veggie broth work with onions etc instead of oil?

  11. Nava Post author

    Absolutely. Though you’ll notice that this recipe for 4 to 6 serving only uses 1 T. oil, which breaks down to less than 1 tsp. per serving. That said, cooking your onions in broth won’t affect the flavor too much, and if that’s your preference, go for it!

  12. Sarah

    Finally, a gluten free and soy free veg sloppy joe! This looks so yummy! I’m going to try out this recipe tomorrow!!

  13. Nava Post author

    Sarah, just make sure to use a GF soy sauce if that’s a concern for you, and GF bread, of course, or a cup-shaped lettuce leaf!

  14. Nava Post author

    P.J., it’s a little hard to define; like most grains, it’s mild and nutty; a little more distinct than rice. Because it’s so small and fluffy, it has a good ability to absorb flavors around it. Hopefully you’ll like it!

  15. Chris

    If someone thinks 10 ingredients is too much they should just open up a can of manwich and pour it over quinoa and beans. Although if your trying to avoid processed foods, you’re going to have to cook with more than 5 ingredients.

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